Shoppers will soon have another choice for purchasing groceries in Pigeon Forge. Within the next two months construction is expected to begin on the new supermarket which will be located on Wears Valley Road.
According to Eric Brackins, assistant city manager for the City of Pigeon Forge, the new store will be located on the site where Geno’s Pizza, the Little Royal Inn and Cupid’s Outlet are currently located. Brackins said he was uncertain as to whether the three existing businesses will relocate but demolition on the existing buildings is expected to begin in February.
The new supermarket is expected to bring more than 100 jobs to the town and will represent a new tax base for the city.
The new store is developed by a development group that includes Budd Cullom, Jim Harrison and Mike McGuffin who built two Publix stores in Knoxville including the Publix Supermarket located between Volunteer Boulevard and Alcoa Highway.
Brackins was uncertain as to the cost of the project or how much was paid for the land to be developed. The project’s development group obtained a trust deed with Knox County which documented a $35 million construction mortgage issued by SunTrust in connection with the store located on Volunteer Boulevard. The development group that includes Budd Cullom, Jim Harrison and Mike McGuffin paid $6.5 million for the Volunteer Boulevard site.
Some local citizens expressed concern at a recent Pigeon Forge planning commission meeting over whether there was enough clientele to support another supermarket. Currently, there are two large grocery retail chains located in the city, including Food City and Kroger. Within close proximity is Walmart, located in Sevierville, which offers a large grocery outlet.
Although Pigeon Forge has a population of 6,100, the city receives more than 10 million tourists each year who are often on their way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“I think this is a good development for the city,” said Brackins. “I think there is enough business to go around. We are very excited about it.”