royal farms schematicls

This artist’s rendering shows what the planned Royal Farms store in Grandy will look once it’s built. The Maryland-based convenience store operator plans to open a 5,300-square-foot store at the corner of Caratoke Highway and Walnut Island Boulevard. No timetable for the store’s construction has been released.

CURRITUCK — Royal Farm’s world famous fried chicken is coming to Currituck.

Gas and other convenience items, too.

The Maryland-based convenience store operator, which bills itself as providing “world famous fresh fried chicken,” has chosen Grandy for its first store location in North Carolina.

Currituck commissioners last week unanimously approved a rezoning request for the Royal Farms store that will be located at the corner of Caratoke Highway and Walnut Island Boulevard.

“Good fried chicken,” Commissioner Owen Etheridge said before the vote.

Commissioner Paul Beaumont told representatives for Royal Farms that they picked a good location for their first store in the state. Royal Farms currently operates more than 250 stores in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

“Welcome to North Carolina,” Beaumont said. “If you had to pick a place to start, we deserve to be the first with a Royal Farms. On the Eastern Shore that is a common place to stop, so welcome to our neighborhood.”

Part of the new Grandy site is a former 7-Eleven that is now a retail store. Royals Farms has also purchased two vacant wooden lots and a single-family home on the 3.5-acre site, which is near the Hardee’s and Dunkin Donuts.

The former 7-Eleven building will be demolished and new gas tanks will be installed since the tanks were removed when 7-Eleven closed. The single-family home will also be demolished and that part of the parcel will be used for the Royal Farms store’s septic system.

The convenience store will be almost 5,300 square feet and will feature four gas islands with a total of eight pumps. The building will sit in the middle of the parcel with the gas pumps closer to Caratoke Highway.

No timetable for the store’s construction has been released but once complete, the store will employ between 35 and 40 people and be open 24 hours a day.

Attorney Clint Cogburn representing Royal Farms told commissioners that the company is a chain of “high-end” convenience stores similar to Wawa and Sheetz. He also noted that the 3.5-acre site is larger than most Royal Farms locations.

“(Royal Farms) is very excited for this site,” Cogburn said. “They are looking to expand into North Carolina and develop a number of sites in the state. This is the launching point for what they see will be a successful venture in the state of North Carolina.’’

The current entrance and exit at the former 7-Eleven on Caratoke Highway will be moved father south and away from the stoplight at Walnut Island Boulevard. There will also be an entrance and exit on Walnut Island Boulevard.

“Since they have acquired those other two wooded sites, they are able to move the (Caratoke) entrance further south,” said county Developmental Services Director Kevin Kemp.

Commissioner Selina Jarvis asked about the possibility of only allowing customers to enter from Caratoke Highway but not exit back onto the highway. Customers would have to exit onto Walnut Island Boulevard before getting back on Caratoke.

Bill McAnally, an engineer for Royal Farms, said the N.C. Department of Transportation does not require a traffic impact analysis for the site because the number of pumps planned is fewer than what the agency requires for such an analysis. He said a traffic consultant for Royal Farms is in the process of filing the store’s driveway permit with NCDOT.

“We will work with the state in order to make sure we have a safe ingress and egress access point along Caratoke Highway,” McAnally said. “They (NCDOT) were satisfied with the distance that driveway is located from the red light. It’s actually an improvement to the current situation. This puts it as far away as you can put it.”