A week ago, a fifth supermarket opened in the Pawleys Island, SC, area. The sprawling Publix joins Food Lion, Lowes, Fresh Market and Bi-Lo within a five-mile stretch of Highway 17. From the gate at Pawleys Plantation, for example, it takes less than a minute to reach the one-year-old Lowes, 15 seconds more to enter the Food Lion parking lot, another minute or two to arrive at Publix and another three minutes to Fresh Market. Bi-Lo, where prices tend to be a smidgen lower than at the competitors, is way out there at an additional four minutes, if there isn't any traffic. (See photos of all below)
That densely packed collection of supermarkets befits a thriving metropolis, not seasonal, lightly populated towns like Pawleys Island and the adjacent Litchfield Beach. Although the summer finds thousands of Carolinians heading for the four-mile strip of ocean sand, and the spring and fall seasons attract thousands of northern golfers to some of the best golf courses on the east coast, it is hard to imagine that the incursion of supermarkets is anything but strategic...the same approach that drug chains and gas stations appear to take. (e.g. If a CVS pharmacy opens on one corner, look for a Walgreens and/or Rite Aid to open at the same intersection to thwart any monopoly on business.)
The most modern of the supermarkets, opened just in the last two years, are Lowes, Publix and Fresh Market. Food Lion and Bi-Lo, more traditional supermarkets, have slightly less elaborate choices but generally lower prices. With a year-round population of 12,000 and a seasonal population that probably doesn't pass 20,000, something will eventually give in terms of the area's supermarkets. Until then, visitors to Pawleys Island and especially those who choose to live in one of the area's golf communities, (DeBordieu Colony, Pawleys Plantation, Heritage Plantation and the string of communities less than two minutes from the Bi-Lo, Tradition, Willbrook and River Club, and the private Reserve at Litchfield) will never run out of food sources and will enjoy the extra benefit of price competition and a vast selection of things to cook and eat. For those who like to cook and play golf, we know of no better place on the east coast.