Nobody said the grocery business was suppose to be easy but Jeff Williams admits that the journey to breaking ground on a new grocery store in Piedmont was one of the toughest challenges of his career.
Williams, who owns Williams Food grocery stores, would have preferred to have a new store on Piedmont Road well underway, but fights at city hall, lawsuits and attack ads have made the process feel more like a political campaign rather than an attempt to sell groceries.
“Its been a big time struggle, but what a bunch of positives we have here,” Williams said following a ground breaking ceremony last week. “Whatever happened in the past its just one of those things that you have to deal with. We wanted to stay out of the mud and let the lawyers handle all that.”
Construction is now underway with a projected opening of March 2011. Williams said the store will be a state-of-the-art facility that utilizes energy efficient methods to save on costs.
Despite the challenges to begin construction, Williams said it was worth the fight to come to Piedmont.
“Piedmont reminds me so much of Tuttle where I grew up,” Williams said. “We have always looked at Piedmont as a place that wants a grocery store and needs a grocery store. That makes it worth fighting for.”
While a new store in Piedmont may have been the toughest business challenge of Williams’ career, Piedmont mayor Mike Fina agrees that it has been one of the toughest challenges of his political career.
“I just want to put all of this behind us and open this store,” Fina said. “Its easy to get caught up in the problems but there are so many good people that made this possible.”
Fina said its been a long road to break ground on a new grocery store in Piedmont but it was an important step for the growth of the town.
“A grocery store is the No. 1 thing people here want,” Fina said. “For our grand vision of growing business here, this grocery store will spur future development. It was necessary in that way.”