The Journal has confirmed that the rumors circulating around Williamston about Ingles, at least partially, are true.
Town Square Center owner/developer Jim Simpson, in a prepared statement through the Windsor Aughtry Company, Inc. a real estate company in Greenville, has announced that Ingles Markets, Inc. is purchasing the Williamston Town Square Center property in downtown Williamston. Closing is expected later this week.
“After months of rumors, speculation, and gossip, we finally are in a position to share with our entire community the future plans for Town Square Center in Williamston,” Simpson said in the statement. “Due to contractual restraints, we have been unable to respond until now to the many questions we have received from our community concerning our property. We are now allowed to share with you that the entire Town Square shopping center has been sold to Ingles supermarkets.”
“Although this has been an agonizing decision to make for the Simpson family, we feel this is in the best interest of the future of our beloved town and our surrounding community. Most of the property involved in this sale has been in our family for five generations.”
“Contrary to many of the rumors that abound, this sale in not a huge windfall for our family. Quite the contrary. We intend to reinvest all the proceeds from the sale of this property back into our community, and considerably more, to rebuild a new Ace Hardware store, a new Self-Storage facility, a new car museum and eventually more retail shops to serve our community on other property our family already owns on N. Hamilton Street in Williamston,” Simpson said. “This will be done in two phases with significant additional investment beyond the proceeds from the sale of our existing shopping center property in Williamston.”
He continued, “This community has supported our family for almost 100 years dating back to 1925. Our commitment is to make way for our town’s future growth by allowing our existing property to be used in a way that will benefit our community for years to come. The addition of a “state-of-the-art” supermarket by a rock-solid regional company like Ingles is sure to fuel growth and prosperity to our town for years to come. This is certain to benefit our current residents, as well as all those that will choose to join us in the future. Pelzer, West Pelzer, Williamston and our entire surrounding community will now have an amazing focal point from which to grow and prosper. We celebrate with you this amazing opportunity to welcome the Ingles family to join with us in creating a great future for our community.”
“With great appreciation from the entire Simpson family for all the support you have all given us for the past 100 years.”
The property has been owned by the five generations of the Simpson family including J.L. Simpson (1st generation), M.W. Simpson (2nd generation), Jim Simpson (3rd generation), Mike Simpson (4th generation) and Children/Grandchildren (5th generation).
It was home to the Williamston Gin and Lumber Company which became Williamston Home Center, then True Value Hardware and later ACE Hardware. Built by Simpson in the 1980’s, the current shopping center contradicted the trend to move to the outskirts of town and housed a Winn Dixie, Moores (Goody’s) and a drug store.
The deal has been in the works since November of 2019, when business partners and commercial real estate brokers Bobby Barreto and Matt Brashire of the Windsor Aughtry Company, were introduced by then mayor Mack Durham to Town Square Center property owner Jim Simpson. Over the following months, Barreto and Brashier discussed with Simpson “the history and future of the town, his family, his property and how those three things became woven together,” said Barreto.
Several stories posted in The Journal since then have hinted at “economic development” that were related to the transaction.
The Journal will have more details on the Town Square Center property sale in this week’s issue.