Chapelboro is awash in yummy and available food and we’re about to get even more.

The Harris Teeter in University Mall (across the parking lot from Roses, in case you can’t picture it) is set to grow by more than 20%.  The expansion will be at the rear of the store and will enlarge the store to approximately 53,000 square feet.  

Renovations are scheduled to begin this summer, and it is expected to be complete late 2013. The store will remain open while under construction and the changes will happen in stages.

What will all that new space bring to Chapelboro?  Harris Teeter spokesperson Danna Jones told me the store will add a cheese kiosk, pizza bar and Asian foods bar.  Also new: a pharmacy.  

Along with what’s completely new, Jones explained, the remodel is an opportunity to add energy-smart features such as doors on the dairy cases and other upgrades to existing departments.  

I posed many questions about the plan, including the intense competition nearby of stores including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.   Not surprisingly, Jones wouldn’t comment directly about the competition, instead praising HT’s own service and prices.  She did however highlight a few areas seemingly indicating them as competitive differentiators:  

  • A wider selection in the enlarged store,
  • Online Shopping which allows groceries to be pre-ordered, selected and loaded into your car,
  • The convenience of freshly prepared meals-to-go in the chain’s Fresh Foods Market.

 Is prepared food truly a differentiator?  Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s offer ready (or nearly so) meals as does The Meat House, also nearby.  Let’s not forget fellow University Mall tenant A Southern Season which has a long counter of prepared food among its many offerings.  The mall also hosts the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market teeming with fresh choices.  

I leave it to you, readers, to explore the differences and report back to me.  And to my fellow blogger and food expert, Susan Reda, please tell me why I still can’t figure out what to make for dinner?  

Where do you like to shop?  Do you buy prepared food?  What’s your trick to get dinner on the table?  Do you think growing the Harris Teeter is a good idea?  Will it encourage you to shop there more, less, or no change?  Leave a comment below or write to me at; I’d love to hear from you.