With senior management in place, new vendors identified and construction close to completion, a grand opening has now been set for Wilmington's new locally-focused grocery — Carolina Farmin. A formal kickoff celebration will take place August 4-7.

The store plans to conduct a soft opening just prior to the formal launch, which will help management train staff, refine processes and make any other necessary adjustments in preparation for Carolina Farmin's official grand opening.

"It's an exciting time for us," said Wayne Long, Carolina Farmin's founder. "Our vision for creating a 7-day a week public market that supports local growers and producers is about to become a reality. This is an idea that's long overdue."

Carolina Farmin' is a unique format being introduced in Wilmington. The focus of the community grocery will be on showcasing goods grown and produced in the Carolinas. When it opens, the store will carry the largest selection of natural and organic produce and products in the area. It will also have some name brands and other staples available to ensure that customers' complete food shopping needs can be met in a single location. Future plans include opening several additional stores in North and South Carolina.

Long is pleased with the progress that has been made with the Market Street location, formerly the headquarters of Port City Java.  

"It's a huge undertaking to start a grocery store from scratch," said Long. "We knew we'd face some challenges and it would take some time to get up and running, but I think we've done a great job at moving everything forward at a consistent pace."  

Unlike other established chains, Carolina Farmin' has had to build all new vendor relationships to completely stock the store. Over the past few months, managers have traveled across the Carolinas, meeting with small farmers and businesses, to bring the best food and products to Carolina Farmin customers. The store has already committed to showcasing goods from New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties. Some products from outside the area will be completely new to the Wilmington market.

Carolina Farmin's mission is to create an immediate impact beyond just fulfilling the need for a grocery in downtown Wilmington. It intends to leave a broader mark by strengthening a sense of community, providing jobs and preserving the farming heritage of the Carolinas.

The four-day "Go Farmin!" grand opening will be a celebration of community. Event details will be released to the public over the next several weeks.