QuikTrip, Starbucks coming to BW

Mayor: BW is continuing to attract businesses our residents ask for

BLYTHEWOOD – While COVID-19 grinds the economy to a halt in Blythewood as it has across the country in recent weeks, the town is also experiencing a commercial building boom that belies the devastating circumstances of the current pandemic.

With a Zaxby’s already approved and going up across from the Waffle House on Blythewood Road, Starbucks has applied to the town’s Board of Architectural Review for a Certificate of Appropriateness to build a free-standing coffee shop/restaurant on the lot next door.

And just down Highway 21, next to The Blue Rooster, approximately 10 acres are being graded for the construction of a QuikTrip (QT) Travel Center that is expected to open in September. A hotel is going up on Creech Road behind San Jose’s restaurant, and an apartment building is set to be built next to the IGA shopping center. Three current businesses are also expanding into new or renovated buildings in the downtown.

While town officials say the commercial growth spurt is in large part a result of the robust economy the entire country was enjoying prior to the coronavirus upheaval, Blythewood Mayor Brian Franklin, who took office five months ago, says the graders, backhoes and construction are, at this time, especially welcome signs of things to come.

“This new growth is particularly important right now as many of our town’s business are struggling,” Franklin said. “I’m glad to see this growth not only in the town but in the Blythewood 29016 area – new restaurants, gas stations – we welcome them. The new businesses should help keep our town’s economy strong while our current businesses are recovering. It’s good that Blythewood is remaining competitive and is continuing to attractive and is continuing to attract those businesses that our residents are asking for.”

QuikTrip

Graders prepare almost 10 acres for the QuikTrip site. | Barbara Ball

Located on Highway 21 at exit 24 of north-bound I-77, the planned QuikTrip Travel Center – with a 7,300 square foot convenience store and QT kitchen – will boast 20 fuel pumps in the front for cars and six pumps in the back for semis, according to Jeff Hargett, Director of Real Estate for the company which is headquartered in Oklahoma.

Hargett said this will be the first travel center the company has opened in the Columbia area.

“It’s going to include all the bells and whistles of our other travel centers plus it will have an expanded QT Kitchen featuring barbecue brisket sandwiches and Mexican street tacos,” Hargett said. “It’ll be the first expanded kitchen we’ve opened on this side of the country. We’re very excited to bring this to Blythewood.”

Hargett said the travel center will be bringing 20 to 25 jobs and will likely be filling those later in the summer.  The company has approximately 800 stations and travel centers across the country, and about 85 of them are in the Greenville/Charlotte areas.

Starbucks

After a myriad of on-again/off-again rumors that a Starbucks might be coming to Blythewood, Town Administrator Brian Cook confirmed that Starbucks company officials are planning to build a free-standing coffee shop on the lot between Blythewood Family Dentistry and the new Zaxby’s restaurant. Starbucks has applied to the town’s Board of Architectural Review for a Certificate of Appropriateness, the first step toward construction of the building.

“They’re working on lot and landscaping plans right now,” Cook said, “and will be getting those to us soon. They are hoping to appear before the BAR at their next meeting which could be as early as later this month.”

Hampton Inn

A fourth hotel for the town – a Hampton Inn – is in the early stages of construction behind the San Jose restaurant and is expected to open after the first of 2021. Prestwick Companies of Atlanta is expected to soon begin construction on its second apartment building in downtown Blythewood. The apartment building will be located off Creech Road next to the IGA shopping center, according to Cook.

In addition to the construction anticipated or already underway for new businesses, three current town businesses are expanding either through new construction or renovation.

State Farm

State Farm

Sandy Khan, owner of the town’s State Farm office in front of the IGA, is constructing a new office building designed to accommodate her business as well as two others on the site where her previous office was located on Blythewood Road.

Blythewood Eye Care

Two other businesses in town, the Law Office of Shannon Burnett and Blythewood Eye Care have purchased properties in the downtown area that they are renovating to expand their businesses.

Blythewood Eye Care owner and optometrist Sara Beaver purchased Zelda Boney’s property at 204 Langford Road, where Sandfield Lane intersects with Langford Road. Beaver is transforming the 2000-square-foot home to expand her eye care business that is currently located behind the Food Lion.

“We’ll have more exam rooms that will enable us to see more patients,” Beaver said, “and we are adding an optical lab and an extra office for growth. We’re adding a stair case to access the attic which will give us a lot more storage area. Plus,” Beaver added, “the location will give us more visibility in the community. We’re really excited about the move and are planning a big open house when we make the move in late May or early June.”

Beaver said she is trying to maintain a farm house vibe in the renovation in keeping with the history of the property which belonged to the Boney family, one of Blythewood’s early families.

Blythewood Eye Care | Photos: Barbara Ball

Shannon Burnett

Blythewood attorney Shannon Burnett recently purchased the historic Blume house across the street from Beaver’s new office and is hoping to move into it in the coming month. Burnett said she must move because her current office, located next to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, sits on a property that is on the market as part of a larger commercial land sale in the downtown.

Law Office of Shannon Burnett

But Burnett said she’s excited for the opportunity to be moving into the Blume house and to be part of its history.  Built in 1907, the home’s interior, including its wood floors, are well maintained and move-in ready, Burnett said.

“We are planning to move in as soon as we can meet the town’s and the Department of Transportation’s requirements,” Burnett said. Specifically, some adjustments must be made to the driveway. Burnett said she also plans to paint and make minor repairs to the exterior. The house is on the historic register.

“I would love to hear the history or stories of the property and would welcome photos anyone might want to share,” Burnett said. “I’m thankful to the Blume family for allowing us to be the keeper of this wonderful piece of Blythewood history.”