The Village at Crosswinds, the shopping center that sits on 22 acres on U.S. Highway 431 South and houses Renfroe’s, held a ground breaking ceremony in July 2018. Tractors began moving dirt, and the city of Phenix City announced that Renfroe’s would occupy a 25,000 square foot retail strip.
Almost two years later, Renfroe’s and other retail spaces have been constructed, but opening of the grocery store has been delayed.
Poised to open at the beginning of May, Shaun Culligan, Director of Phenix City’s Economic Development, said the store opening has been postponed because the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of inventory.
“They decided to wait to open until they can be fully stocked the way they need to be,” Culligan said.
First impressions are important, and this community doesn’t know much about the Renfroe’s brand. Opening a store without all their stock may not leave a good first impression, he explained. A much smaller Renfroe’s store is opening in Alex City. The owners are focusing on that store because even with limited inventory, that community knows Renfroe’s reputation as another store is near that community.
“They want to do this store justice and not open it halfway,” Culligan said.
Altera Development and eds of America were the project developers for the Village of Crosswinds project.
“I’m grateful for people with a vision,” Culligan said. “When you looked at this hill, it was tough to see how that land could be transformed. They literally moved a mountain.”
Once it opens, Renfroe’s, Marco’s (now open), and other retail spaces in the development could make a large economic impact on the community.
“This development answers the call to a number of voids that exist on HWY 431 and is poised to capture many travelers heading to the gulf. It offers a much more convenient shopping experience to the immediate underserved area, as well as to those who live as far south as potentially Pittsview,” Culligan said. “However, with a development of this magnitude, they certainly aren’t limited to only those areas of our community. Our expectations for this center are ‘Positively Tremendous’ and we look forward to them opening their doors very soon.”
City Manager Wallace Hunter said that end of town is where the city has been trying to get a major grocer for quite some time.
“This will be a big goal the city was able to accomplish for that end of town,” he said. “It’s a major supermarket with a great reputation that comes along with it. It will serve the entire community.”
There is still retail space available, but Culligan said that space should fill up quickly once the occupied shops open.
“We’ll see interest to fill those spaces pretty quickly,” he said. “People always watch and wait to see a space get active.”