Feb
12

North Hills Harris Teeter: Failure on Multiple Levels

IMG_4066The new Harris Teeter at North Hills East opened this week and introduced a new concept in grocery shopping to North Carolina, the 2-story grocery store. The design is part of the New Urbanist-styled North Hills East, which replaces a failing, low-rise apartment complex with a tightly-designed, semi-urban mixed use design. Judging by early reviews, the store has major, unrecoverable flaws that will prevent the store from sustaining its ambitious goal.

IMG_4070 To be fair Harris Teeter has done an outstanding job stocking the new store. Along with their full compliment of non-perishables from their distribution centers, the store also stocks an impressive array of fresh food. The produce section is outstanding, and stocks some exotic fruits and vegetables that aren’t typically seen at even high-end grocery stores. A prepared foods bar and salad bar are positioned to rival that seen at Whole Foods, while fresh pizza and made-to-order sandwiches at a reasonable price add some value to the store over others in the area. The fresh breads are superior to Whole Foods, while the cheese and meat counters pale somewhat, but are still outstanding in their own right. This somewhat to be expected for a new store, and it will be interesting to see how the store is stocked once the constant clientele settles in.

IMG_4073 That said, the rest of the store is a complete failure, and it goes back to the design stages. In residential real estate older houses blessed with a charming design and strong foundation, but need some cosmetic work are said to have “good bones”. On the other hand there is this Harris Teeter, which will stand for decades as an example of “bad bones”.

Most notable is the two-story design. I am all for breaking paradigms to find new solutions. We didn’t get where we are today without some people taking some risks, and to that, Harris Teeter and Kane Realty are to be commended. This implementation of the vertical big box concept, though, is horrible at best.

IMG_4074 The second story hovers over the left half of the store, and contains aisles of housewares, baking goods, cereals, cosmetics, pet foods, and juices. It essentially is all of the stuff that exists in that 3rd, 1/4th of a normal grocery store. The problem, however, is that in order for one to get their cart upstairs, they must use an elevator, which in this instance, is not a glass elevator and only holds two people and two shopping carts. During fairly busy times, there is a line of people trying to get on at the top and the bottom. The design team did not account for this, and did not allocate an adequate space for the queues.

The aisles feel tight. While the central aisles in a store like the Cameron Village store are also tight, the end aisles are wide, and there is a high ceiling. Not so at North Hills. The end aisles are just as narrow as the grocery aisles, the ceiling is low, and there is no natural light entering the space, creating a nightmare for claustrophobic people.

IMG_4069 The store did a poor job with signage inside the store. Brown aisle makers with small, beige type are hard to read from the end aisles.

The upstairs section consists of about 7,500 square feet of stock space. One has to wonder of the store would have been better served by a North Hills design that just implemented 8,000 more square feet of space on their footprint. It isn’t like there is a scarcity of land that required this usual design. It would have made an enormous difference in the convenience level for this store.

Second to the disastrous 2-story design is the store’s strange parking-deck-only entrance. The only way to access the store is from the parking garage. Did I mention claustrophobia? While I tend to favor parking garages for their relatively constant temperature and always dry settings, this parking garage design is horribly inefficient and dangerous. There are two stories of the garage that are designated for Harris Teeter shoppers. Cars coming from Six Forks enter the upper level, which is a simple ring with a downramp in the middle. The bombastic lower level is accessed also by the St. Alban’s Drive traffic. All traffic entering the lower level moves in a counterclockwise direction, and there is only one way, one lane out of the deck’s lower level. What happens when some big SUV wants to back out of a space? The entire line of traffic leaving has to wait. What happens when a second car backs out? Urge to kill rises.

To top it all off, before reaching the garage’s exit, this steady stream of exiting traffic makes one final sweep, right by the store’s front doors where the pedestrian concentration is highest. It is a design that is so bad and was so preventable, that is makes me wonder if the architect who is responsible for this should be allowed to stay in his/her profession.

Because the store sits on the ground level of a 7-story apartment building, I was only able to get spotty cell phone and internet service on the store’s main floor, and had absolutely no connectivity on the second floor, where all of the cafe seating is. This is a solvable problem, but a big one as while shopping I like to access my recipes and rolling shopping lists in Evernote as well as call home to check on current pantry inventory.

So what is the shopper’s best plan of attack? During hours that are likely to have light traffic, just park in the lower level. It won’t be that dangerous. During times where the store is likely to be crowded (and this morning is an example of that. The store was far more crowded that the old North Hills store ever was), though, I recommend parking in the upper ring and using the parking lot elevator. This upper ring can be accessed two ways: from the main entrance on Six Forks Rd, and from the State Street entrance. (State street is a little one-block long street off St. Albans, parallel to Dartmouth Drive, perpendicular to St. Albans.)

I also don’t like the store’s placement as it pertains to the entire North Hills development. The North Hills master plan would have been better served by putting this store at the Dartmouth/Six Forks corner, facing St. Albans with its back to Six Forks. The store could have been the base for a very functional, attractive building that would join the flow of the existing North Hills to the new East. As it stands now, one of the major advantages to living in The Alexan, an accessible grocery store, is gone.

I fear for the store’s future as I have heard nothing but thumbs down so far. Judging by the people I overheard and talked to in the store, most ITB shoppers will go to the Harris Teeters at Glenwood Village and Cameron Village, as well as the big, nearby Kroger. Those to the north are most likely to use this HT store, but that is not the demographic this particular store aims to reach. It is a BIG problem that the boys in Charlotte will have to address (most likely by eventually removing all of the labor-intensive, short-life fresh-cooked items that make the store special). As it stands now, the architects picked by Kane have done a great disservice to not only the Harris Teeter corporation, but also the residents in the North Hills region of Raleigh.

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  • Rum Jumbie Said:

    After visiting this store yesterday with high hopes, I must concur with Dana’s assessment of the store. My husband and I have visited several amazing Wegmans stores in other states that have sit-down seafood bars where you can have a seafood meal cooked for you right in store, and have sections where employees are making Chinese, Italian, and other wonderful foods fresh from scratch.

    I was not necessarily hoping for something of this caliber, but I hoped for something that was architecturally interesting- a “WOW” experience. This store came across as overcrowded, somewhat dangerous, rather ordinary in its offerings, and overall poorly conceived and designed.

    One unfortunate thing – if you want to sit down in the store and eat, there are tables on the 2nd level right next to the women’s hygiene products and the toilet paper. This would be after you waited in a long line for the elevator and carried your food upstairs.

    I hope that future Harris Teeter conceptualizations take a lesson from the mistakes of this one – and also that they study fabulous successes such as Wegmans, which offers an exciting experience to the customer. Very disappointing overall.

  • Daria Said:

    That sounds really unfortunate. I’ll visit the store sometime next week to see for myself, it isn’t far from my office so if the hot bar really does rival Whole Foods it might be another option for lunch.

    I’m shocked that they really expected people to use an elevator to access the second floor. There is a Bed, Bath and Beyond in Manhattan that is 2 stories, but there is a special escalator for your shopping cart that works really well.

  • Chris Said:

    Wow Dana, tell us how you really feel…

    There is a 2-story HT in Fairfax, VA that I shopped at regularly when I lived up there. It worked mainly because it was like a normal strip mall parking lot and the things that were upstairs were items you rarely needed (housewares, drug store items, seasonal, etc.) Well, other than the wine section which was up there.

  • Tracy Said:

    I visited the new North Hills East HT this morning and sadly I have to say I agree with Dana regarding the very poorly designed store! I’m very disappointed, and frankly suprised that HT would think the layout would work for this type of store. The elevater to the 2nd floor was a NIGTMARE.

    As Dana said the prepared foods, produce and Meat and Seafood counter selection was great, but I think the layout of the store/parking will make it hard for people to want to shop there on a regular basis.

    I’m a Quail Hollow resident and a North Ridge HT regular customer and I had such great hope for North Hills East. I hope they will be able to fix at least some of the problems with the new store.

  • L Said:

    I went Thursday afternoon for the first time. I think saying the store is a “complete failure” is a bit dramatic! I thought the store was a significant improvement over the previous North Hill’s Harris Teeter. Due to it’s size, the previous store was the worst one in terms of items stocked, and the parking situation was terrible during lunch hours. I’m going to give it a few visits before I officially decide whether or not I’m a fan of the new one – the first visit to any new grocery is never fun for me since it takes forever to find items. Plus, the store is insanely crowded because it just opened.

    As for the elevator (you can squeeze three carts and three people on them, but no more), I’m not opposed to it. However, I think they should have someone operating the elevator the first month or so when it’s extra crowded to make it more efficient, or at least directing traffic – you would think people would be able to tell when an elevator is full, but unfortunately some folks aren’t too smart and have trouble with that. Plus, people get rude and impatient when there are three different queues. I was squashed in the elevator and thoughtless, impatient people were still trying to squeeze on (they seemed to almost enjoy ramming me with their carts repeatedly as they tried to squeeze in). Next time, I’ll be taking the stairs – we all the more exercise anyway!

    The main thing that irritates me about the second floor is that the baking/cereal isles are up there – I searched the entire store for breadcrumbs, only to realize that they put them upstairs. It doesn’t make sense to me. Putting the cosmetics, drugs, extra seating, etc up there makes sense, but not every day items like flour and cereal that I want to make a quick trip to the grocery for. In a previous city I used to shop at a two story Kroger, and they put items such as natural foods, magazines, cards, beer, etc. on the second floor – in other words, not your every day items – so it worked well (their elevator was half the size of the HT one, and it worked). I think if they can rearrange some things, it could work.

  • Eric Said:

    Wow… how about an escalator? Do they have steps? I would not stick “staple” items such as cereal on the 2nd floor.

    Elevators and grocery carts just dont mix, this does sound like a bad idea.

  • Kitty Said:

    Chris, the HT in Fairfax went out of business about 2 years ago, and it was blamed largely on the floorplan. They just built a brand-new, one-level HT in Fairfax, which I am ecstatic to report is only a mile from my house, much closer than the previous location. The space that the HT left in downtown Fairfax is still vacant. Interestingly, the new HT here opened the same day as the one at North Hills.

    I’m sad to hear that the new North Hills HT is such a disappointment. I will check it out for myself next time I’m in town. The parking lot sounds ridiculous!

  • Bruce C. Said:

    Wow. What a real shame this is. I was thinking about checking the store just out of curiosity (I don’t live near it) but it sounds like it is more trouble than it’s worth.

    When I first heard about it being two stories, I too was wondering how they would handle cart traffic. It sounds like they really got it wrong.

    Here’s hoping they work on improving this and fast because I can’t think of anyone who would want to struggle like this in terms of parking or in the store just to get groceries.

  • al Said:

    I am really surprised that you can only get a cart upstairs in the elevator. I would think they would want carts upstairs to promote more purchasing. When I lived in Portland, OR there were a few 2 story targets and they had really cool escalators which your cart rode up beside you. This seems like a much better solution. It seems like when Raleigh/Durham try to make something urbanish it just fails.

  • Dana Said:

    I think the problem with a travelator in this store is that the extra space upstairs is only 7,500 square feet. A travelator would gobble up so much space on both floors that they may as well just not do the second level in that case.

    What’s irritating about this hurdle of dealing with the elevator to go to the section of the store with the heaviest items, is that none of it _really_ had to be done. There is no scarcity of land, and the whole design of this store is done to be cute, not out of necessity. I think THAT is the underlying irk that will cause so many people to opt for shopping at other stores.

  • Dana Said:

    Chris,
    I do tell people how I really feel! :) My glowing article about the Meat House should serve as another example of showing how I really feel about an outstanding store.
    I just wish that my friends at Kane Realty Corp. had shown me the damned plans for this monstrosity a long time ago. I could have told them about all of this tens of millions of dollars ago.

  • Tom Said:

    In Europe many stores are multi-story with the ability to bring shopping-carts onto the escalator.
    The have special escalators that DON’t have steps.

    Its really cool and safe.

    I was hoping to see how that would work.

  • JeffS Said:

    Well of course a dense, planned development isn’t ideal for car culture.

  • Rum Jumbie Said:

    One thing that was a surprise to me that I didn’t see anything special and different in this store than I have seen in other full-sized Harris Teeters.
    Two full-size Harris Teeters I regularly shop in have the same soup bar, salad bar, sushi bar, and seafood section as this one. Exact same fresh baked breads section and cheeses of the world as well.

    The prior North Hills Harris Teeter was not a regular full-service HT, so comparing it to this store would be like comparing apples to oranges.
    Many full-service HT’s allow you to have a hand-made pizza as well.
    I just don’t see anything special about this store, and I’m concerned about the crowding factor. I shop at Harris Teeter regularly and I like Harris Teeter; I had however hoped for sonething different from what we already have in the Triangle.

  • Eric Said:

    Harris Teeter is what it is. They are very nice clean stores with a pretty good variety. Also they seem to have well staffed stores with workers that seem to care. I want to say they are trying to ensure the elite class is well served, but they did so in a way that eliminates there true customer base from shopping at this store. Its a prime location where they are at and too bad they tried to get too cute.

    If you live above the HT, I am sure you will love the store though. Too bad… they should put something else upstairs where you don’t truly have to “SHOP”.

  • a different chris Said:

    they have the cart escalator across the street at Target, not sure why they didn’t bring it to HT

  • North Hills Dog Said:

    Wow,

    Sad to see the complaints. Garage parking is not ideal but can we at least give them credit for trying to implement the high density lifestyle in Raleigh? Isn’t that what city planners and intellectual young minds hope for with future developments? For those people who don’t like dealing with garage parking, please don’t complain about suburban sprawl. In the future, it’s one or the other.

    Regarding the layout of the garage, perhaps once everyone gets used to the design and traffic flow, it will not seem as complicated. After three visits thus far, I like the options to enter off of Six Forks, or off of St. Albans depending on where I’m coming from. I’ve been able to get in and out quite easily. The old Lassiter HT was a congestion nightmare as well, especially with 25 suburbans making their regular trips in and out of Pharoahs, Starbucks, and HT, along with the occasional out of towner who sped through the parking lot. Further, the existing parking garage on the current North Hills side is just as tight for big cars. From a design standpoint, maybe they simply implemented the model from what had already been a success. Personally, I would rather they had wider spaces, but Kane probably said if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

    The elevator situation is bad!!!! There are several items that people regularly purchase located on the 2nd level. The items are not non-essential, otherwise they would not sell them. With this in mind, they should have considered a larger elevator as well as a less congested waiting area. Waiting 30 seconds for the elevator is not horrible, but dodging other carts while waiting is a bit excessive.

    Regarding the food selection, it’s far better than what was offered at the Lassiter. No, it’s not a Wegmans, nor is it a Whole Foods, but for HT it’s pretty good.

    Kane is building a $1 billion development on that side. The market conditions do not allow for a roll-out of all phases at once. Give it some time. Think Reston Town Center, or Shirlington Village in Arlington. Any open land will be built upon. Once the CapTrust Tower is almost fully leased, they’ll build a second tower between the new Bruegger’s and Dartmouth for example. This will eventually have more density. Ten years from now North Hills East could stretch along the beltline over to the edge of Wake Forest Road. Overall it’s a positive for the Raleigh community so I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind and give it some time to get going.

  • Mary Noel Dodd Said:

    I shopped at the new Harris Teeter yesterday and was also extremely disappointed. Living, as I do, two blocks from the old one, it was very convenient to stop by on my way home from work- no crossing Six Forks with its long lights, just on the edges of the heavy traffic, well- designed for fast in-and-out (except for midday, when the area is jammed- but I rarely go then).Many of the other reviews mentioned the vast array of gourmet meats and cheeses in the new store, the expanded variety of other foods, courteous personnel, and they are right. And you know what? It doesn’t matter! I could barely focus on those points, so frustrated was I by the narrow aisles, loud music (upstairs especially), obscure signage, the closed-in feeling overall, starting with the connecting small, confusing parking garage. And of course the piece de resistance- the elevator. Without careful jockying around, the average load is two carts and the person (or couple) with them. When you arrive at your floor, the doors open to people and carts waiting right at you to get on. Those on the elevator stare at those outside until it dawns that those waiting are going to have to back up to let those on the elevator get off. And there’s no accommodation to do that allowed for. One harried dad, who was one of those waiting, had a cart with a child riding in it and was pulling another cart. An aquaintance greeted him and asked how he was. He replied, “Fine- until I got here.” I have never particularly liked the nearby Kroger, finding it too large and its vast array of foods distracting for a routine trip, but, by comparison, its vast spaces seem downright refreshing. I am already planning to alter my route home from work to stop there in the future.

  • Karaleigh Said:

    This assessment of the new NH HT is pretty much on-target. The parking garage traffic flow is BAD. The food bar is GOOD. Placing the feminine products and other very personal items right next to the dining tables is just plain stupid!

    Not sure I follow the comment (regarding garage parking and suburban sprawl) that “it’s one or the other.” In actuality, one is a symptom of the other. We wouldn’t need so much parking if we didn’t have so much sprawl.

    The problem with trying to implement high density and doing a poor job of it is that people will think that’s what all high-density projects are going to be like.

    Of course, doing high density right still doesn’t fix the feminine products problem…

  • CF Said:

    I went there when the store was pretty crowded. I picked up a basket, walked upstairs, grabbed the few things I needed, and then walked back down and put them in my cart. Not much of an inconvenience at all.

  • Ernest Said:

    While I still plan to visit and see what this new HT has to offer, I am a bit concerned after what I read here. I live near the intersection of Falls of Neuse Rd and Spring Forest Rd, so I already have a HT and a Fresh Market to choose from. However, I still shop mostly at the HT locations in Stonehenge and Cameron Village, where I find better selections of what I normally buy.

    I do not care about 2-story shops, as I don’t believe they address a problem here in Raleigh – we have plenty of space. A 2-story bookstore, or other similar stores, would make far more sense, but I am not going to complain. However, offering a parking deck-only entrance (if I read right) is totally un-urban and does nothing for me, at least psychologically. The Target location across the street is a very different setup, IMO.

    Best of luck to HT in finding a way to make this work.

  • OTB & lovin' it Said:

    This is truly the best thing that ever happened to Kroger, Fresh Market & the HT on Falls of Neuse. I had looked forward to the new HT on Six Forks as an additional stopping off place on the way home from work. The parking deck only is a REAL turnoff.

  • HT Fan Said:

    I am a big fan of HT…and have eagerly awaited the opening of the NH store….I visited there on Saturday and chalked up the chaos to Valentine’s Day/Snow crazed shoppers…I visited again today at an off time and found the same! The parking lot was a nightmare..I tried the upstairs parking on Saturday and the downstairs parking today…where do I put my cart when I have to park 12 spots back from the door? How well lit is this area at night? I am not sure I feel safe parking in an upper deck or even a lower deck that has many nooks and crannies..not alot of crime in the area but I don’t want to be the first..the elevator was a nightmare both days~overcrowded, no sense of who’s coming and going….and the layout of items is not logical…why would I carry prepared food on an elevator and eat overlooking the meat section? I didnt’ see any trash cans upstairs to dispose of the paper goods from your meal.I also found the staff to be sadly lacking in customer service skills compared to the great staff that was employed at the Lassister…I know it’s a busy time but I think I will hold off for about a month before I visit again to see if any of the issues have been resolved….

  • Lee Said:

    So, did I read this right, there is no pedestrian entrance to the store, it is only accesible by parking deck? What about people on th eother side of North Hills in the apartments and retirement community there. Are they supposed to get into their cars and drive over rather than walk? How is this any differnt than any other store that you have to drive to?

    Hopefully I am wrong about this and they thought about actually creating a urban type of setting and did not make the worst of both worlds.

  • gd Said:

    you don’t have to drive a car into a parking deck…especially when the entrance to the store is right by the entrance to hte parking deck…

  • Dana Said:

    The store is ONLY accessible from the parking garage. However, there is an alley that pedestrians can use to get from the “street-level shops” to the apron of the store.

    It seems that MANY people are opting to use the surface parking in “front” of the building (on the Six Forks Road side) and using this alley instead of messing with the parking garage. Parking there is the equivalent to parking in front of Panera in the Lassiter and walking to the old Harris Teeter site.

    Incidentally, this alley is where the Redbox stands.

  • Still miss A&P Said:

    I looked forward to my first trip here on Sunday and, although there were some problems, I don’t think I saw anything that was fatal.

    It was a bit crowded, but I found every thing I needed fairly quickly. I didn’t really look at the signage, as I was just focusing on my list and the shelves as I walked along each aisle.

    The elevator was a problem. I could swear I saw four carts in it once, but I might be mistaken. When I rode it, there were three in there and it really looked like it could have held a fourth. I know now, however, to just get a basket when I first arrive and use the stairs to go to the second floor, come back down, put those items in my cart, and just avoid the dang thing.

    I never eat in a grocery store, so the table situation doesn’t really bother me.

    I didn’t mind the parking deck entrance, but I did mind having to push my cart about 4 spaces from the front door to the cart return. Might as well push it all the way inside the store. It will be an easy fix to move the cart returns farther into the lot.

    The exit was a bit confusing and I got stuck in a line of traffic while an elderly man was blocking the entire lane loading his groceries into his trunk. It would be helpful if you could get out the way you came in.

    It’s much better than that abysmal Kroger beside Border’s. I would drive from here to the beach to avoid that place. I think with a little trial and error, it will work for most folks.

  • Lane Said:

    I just moved from northern VA where my neighborhood store was a two story Harris Teeter. When I needed to get something from the upstairs section I would just leave my cart downstairs and take the stairs to go up to retrieve it. How difficult is that to do? The great array of groceries and fresh exotic produce are enough of a factor to keep my patronage at this new location. I hope it succeeds. Its better than the alternative which is driving across town.

  • DPK Said:

    @Lane: People like to complain. I too don’t see what the big deal is. My first thought when presented with the problem of cart and upstairs item retrievals was to get a hand basket and get my items and return to my cart below. Then shove the basket under my cart until I got to checkout. Saves a ton of time. No elevator wait, just have to climb some stairs.

    It’s not rocket science people.

  • Dana Said:

    This is not an issue of people just finding something about which to complain. I went in there excited about the project, but once I saw the ridiculous layout of the deck and store, I did a complete 180 on the place…and that is before I heard the feedback from friends.

    I’m hearing at least 95% of people saying that they don’t just prefer another store, they HATE this store. They are VERY passionate in their diatribes. It’s been quite interesting, to say the least. Mind you, about 90% of that same crew LIKES the Target/parking garage arrangement across the street, and did from Day One, BTW.

    As for grabbing a basket and running upstairs to get a few things…well, just read the article again. There is nowhere for a considerate person to put the abandoned cart that isn’t in the way of everyone trying to function in the tight space downstairs. Also, the HEAVIEST items in the store are up there. While I can carry a 20 lb basket, most women won’t do it. THEY are who will determine the success of this store.

  • Still miss A&P Said:

    I do have to agree that the excitement with which I went to the store (boy do I lead a boring life!) was tempered quiet a bit by some of the problems. In other words, I didn’t walk out saying, “That was GREAT! I loved it.” Instead, I walked out saying, “They’ve got some problems they need to take care of pretty quickly.”

    I hold out hope that they will.

  • RonT Said:

    I am a big fan of HT and would like to think they will recognize the problems and try to address them as much as possible. After reading this blog for years, I for one think that Dana is very balanced (and accurate) in his assessments of most places.

    I hope to see another post on this store in a few months noting how they have managed to make it a better experience.

    I am unlikely to ever shop there much, but that is based on its location.

  • Lee Said:

    I also think the items they have upstaris are causing some of the issues. Like it or not, pretty much are grocery stores are laid out very similarly WRT to the order of itmes. It seems the stuff upstairs in this HT are the items that make up the items you see starting about 60% of the way through your trip to maybe 75%. THis means people have to adjust their thinking to use this store, which is a hard sell when ther eare literally a dosen other places with a “normal” layout within 15 mintues.

    If the upstairs were the beginning where you could start out there with a hand basket (though I bet they are unlikely to move the Fruit and Veg up there) then go downstairs and pick up a cart, in a orderly fashion like it was made that way, it would meet with much more success.

  • Dana Said:

    Yep, Lee. That what I’ve concluded over the weekend. Unfortunately the space upstairs is too small for produce. I would love to have seen them put the true entrance to the store on the second level opening to the parking deck, have customers flow downward with a basket travelator (not for full carts), then snap in their produce basket to a cart downstairs to complete shopping. They could pay downstairs and exit, then use a cart travelator, (like at Target) if needed, to get back up to the second level.

    The two problems with this idea are that Harris Teeter probably only wants to have to keep one entrance/exit area of the store secure, and I don’t ever see people using the travelator at Target, so it kind of stands as a gimmick. Nevertheless, at least at Target they did SOMETHING to acknowledge the possibility of parking on the second level. At HT it is nothing but inconvenience to park up there.

  • gd Said:

    I like and use the travelator (didnt know this was the name til now- glad i learned something today) at target :)

  • OTB & lovin' it Said:

    If there is no entrance/exit from the 2nd floor, and the condos have wood construction, who bought off the fire marshall?

  • Crystal Said:

    I always see people using the travelator at Target. It’s handy. Harris Teeter should have included one in their plans. Oh, and GD I’m glad I learned the word, too. :)

    I hoped to get a larger Harris Teeter with more selection like the Cameron Village one and lots more parking. It sounds like this isn’t the improvement I was hoping for.

  • Ivory Said:

    I live above this new Harris Teeter and checked it out last night at 1am. The convenience factor is AWESOME – yay for 24 hour grocery stores. It’s also fabulous to be able to walk out of my apt, take an elevator to the ground floor, and be right outside the grocery store.

    However, I do agree with the layout, poor parking plan, and lack of a suitable elevator. This is all new so it’ll take time to work out the kinks.

  • Gene Said:

    I have gone to the new Teeter once and was not impressed. The elevator is the main deal killer. Three or four carts tops is the most that will fit. At peak times, like before a hurricane or snowstorm, I can’t imagine what the scene will be. The problem is compounded because those waiting to get on the elevator, guarding against the possibility that some clod will cut line, pile up just outside the doors making it impossible for those exiting to get off. Do they not understand that two solid bodies can’t occupy the same space at the same time?

    I had considered the possibility of using a hand basket to get items from the second floor, and that just might work, except if you’re carrying a twenty pound box of cat litter from the pet section on the second floor in which case it’s a non-starter.

    The nice sections of the store (and there are some) are not unique and are available elsewhere which leaves no reason for those of us who don’t live right above or beside the store to shop there.

    At most my wife and I will use this new store for quick trips to pick up a couple of items from the first floor. Previously loyal customers of the old North Hills H-T we have now begun to do our major shopping at another grocery.

    Lest anyone think this post is by a rube who has never encountered the “high density lifestyle” be advised that I grew up in Washington DC which was more urbanized forty years ago than Raleigh is now!

  • Cara Day Said:

    I agree with everything this writer has stated. One other point that I observed as I went to the new Harris Teeter this past Monday night. I felt very vulnerable going to my car at night, pushing a cart, loading my car, all the while knowing someone can easily be hiding behind the huge pillars, ready for a perfect robbery. It’s very unsafe and a perfect set-up for criminal acts. I will never return to that HT. I was very disappointed.
    If you have a two story grocery store… One floor should have been for ALL your groceries.
    2nd Floor a pharmacy, a kitchen shop, a restaurant. But NOT both floors for groceries. How many times have you left an aisle and then remembered you forgot something and had to go back? What were they smoking??? And if you have two stories and expect shopping carts to be towed with you, then install escalators. They totally missed the boat on so many aspects of this. I’d cut my loses, tear it down and move back over to the Lassiter. A pure disaster.

  • Ashley Pharr Said:

    Dana- I haven’t checked it out yet- but well written article- your parking lot rant cracked me up! I had high hopes for this Teeter- but like the adjoining apartments- I don’t think its designed to fit people with families – will appeal more for the single or empty nester households- that don’t have to buy a full cart. Did you see the maniac spinning the NOW OPEN sign on Six Forks drumming up traffic for the opening? Talk about cheesy & off demo!

  • Theresa Said:

    I drove from out of town , just to visit, I love the store, wish we had 1. We had 4 carts on the elevator, was just a tight squeeze, you can do it though. Don’t be so harsh. The layout could be worked on a bit, but the 2 story worked for me. The food bars, could of been upstairs with the tables. Don’t be so fast to complain about so new & terrific Idea.

  • KS Said:

    What a relief to know that I am not the only one who HATES the new, two story HT. It allows one to have the urban experience with all the negatives: pushy crowds, unsafe parking, rude service and all at a high price!

    Altho I live 1.3 miles from the store, I will no longer go there. I travel the extra mile to Kroger; although Kroger doesn’t cater to the WF or Fresh Market clientele, their prices are great, they have a terrific international section and I can run in and out of there in 10 minutes no matter how crowded.

    Thrilled to read that the NHills Target is putting in a supermarket. As I see it, the nail in the coffin for the HT. I believe Dana put it best when saying that the architects for Kane served him poorly on the design of the new HT.

  • J Burton Said:

    HT would have done best to incorporate an urban/ped friendly design closer to a walkable distance from North Hills. Crossing Six Forks is a feat on foot.

    I am a friend of urban design, but in this case they need some kind of draw to keep people in one level or another. I have seen other two story designs that incorporate a cafe, salad bar, gourmet bakery, wine bar into a second story area. It becomes an experience within the store versus an annoyance when just wanting to shop. If more built up around the HT, they could make it. They need more mixed use to survive. It just looks odd on it’s own over there.

    I’d love to see it succeed because Raleigh has WAY too many ugly, unwalkable shopping centers (like the Brier Creek cookie cutter vomit on 70 or Triangle Town complex). North Hills and Cameron Village seem to be the only ped friendly layouts making it work. It’d be nice to see the complex bridge Six Forks somehow so both sides connect (Ped tunnel). I am not as hopeful that the HT will make it though. I think they bit off more than they can chew without a unique draw to that side of Six Forks. If it is just a grocery store, there are others that are easier to navigate. They cannot compete on that basis. If there was a park, a venue, a comedy club, a dog park, a something that would bring people near and help them embrace the location, they’d have a chance. It’d be nice if there was a horseshoe of mixed use there with some kind of gathering area in between.

  • www.gogoraleigh.com» Blog Archive » Total Wine Moving to The Lassiter? Said:

    […] since Harris Teeter’s disastrous move across the Mississippi (Six Forks) to North Hills East, there has been a lot of talk about what […]

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