If remodelers of the closed Bi-Lo in Columbia County need some tools or accessories for a new build-out—they can turn no further than the first official tenant—Harbor Freight, which will expand from its current stores at 3435 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta and 2270 Whiskey Road in Aiken.
A store manager at the Augusta store confirmed a rumor buzzing through the community.
All of the exterior signage of Bi-Lo’s brand including food department signage is gone—as are any shelving, racks, and equipment. JH Cleveland Construction on Ponder Road in Evans was hired to clear out the former grocery store. All that is left are beams and concrete in the building.
James Waller of Evans was busy on Thursday afternoon finishing up a paint job at a West Augusta building—and in the past has bought paint supplies, tools, and other hardware items at Harbor Freight. Normally, he’s traveled near the Mall to the Augusta store. “I love that place. Everything is much cheaper than competitors and we don’t have to go across town”, said Waller. “It’s good for Columbia County,” he added.
ABD’s learned that Harbor Freight will not need the entire Bi-Lo building and commercial realtors will work on a mixed-use concept in which they hope to find like-minded retail shops. Parking is plentiful and some traffic already comes from the CVS store within the center. The Wrightsboro Store is 16,000 square feet and most Bi-Lo’s average more than 40,000 square feet.
In the past few years, area Food Lion’s have taken over closed Bi-Lo’s. In this case, it was not practical as Food Lion owns a long-time grocery store nearby on South Belair Road.