Despite the political climate and the significant challenges most of America has seen with supply-chain over the past couple of months. Duplin County is still growing, and businesses are pressing the gas pedal in new development projects. Such is the case of the new Starbucks, which is being built in Warsaw.

“I was out by the interstate yesterday (June 3) and it looks like a building frame for the proposed Starbucks is currently going up,” said Elizabeth Stalls, Duplin County planning director.

The specialty coffee retailer, with more than 32,000 stores around the world, will the first one to be built in Duplin County. Coffee lovers and Starbucks junkies will be able to get their caffeine fix without having to leave Duplin. The new shop is expected to bring more visitors to the area and fuel development in the community.

“The direct impact for us is the tax base on the improved property tax,” said Scotty Summerlin, Warsaw town manager. “That’ll be a direct benefit to the town. Secondary to that is the economic impact that it brings through our local option sales tax, then also the traffic that it brings.”

The new coffee shop is expected to be a hit not only with locals but also with people commuting along the interstate. It can potentially lead to an influx in tourism and increased commercial activity not only for Warsaw but for adjacent towns.

“This will be the first one in Duplin County and the first one within probably at least a 30 to 40-mile area,” said Summerlin. “As it is in a lot of cases, it may be a destination location (if people) are heading this way, so they will stick around and head to Warsaw and do other things. We’re excited.”

According to a Starbucks spokesperson the store will open this fall and will employ approximately 25-35 employees. The 2,500-square feet store will feature a drive-thru window and a parking area with 29 spaces according to the official design documents and it will be located at 2704 W. N.C. Highway 24 in Warsaw.

“They’ve got different contractors that do different things,” said Summerlin. “You’ve got one doing side work, you’ve got one doing what they call the shell building. There are just too many moving parts to know when they may be finished.”

The building permit for the coffee retailer got approved approximately four months ago. According to Warsaw Mayor, A. J. Connors, there were some minor delays due to weather conditions.

“They’ve probably been under construction for at least two months now,” said Summerlin. They’ve got the building framed, and they started to put the plywood on.”

In addition to challenging weather, the construction industry has been affected by supply-chain challenges not only dealing with workforce shortages but also imposed tariffs on lumber and steel and the increase of building material. However, despite all challenges, Duplin County still keeps pressing on the gas pedal and we are seeing continuous and steady growth. Another store that is coming to the area is Jersey Mike’s.

“They are under construction right now. They’ve got their permits from the town and are slowly but steadily working away, it appears,” said Summerlin. “I think that they had a more ambitious timeline to be open, but because of the weather and supply-chains (there’s been delays).”

According to Summerlin, Warsaw has seen steady growth, with many small businesses thriving. Also, the town has been working on beautification of the town.

“The town’s been very fortunate over the last few years,” said Summerlin. “If you ride down Front Street we’ve got businesses thriving there — small shops. We’re trying to continue an effort to clean the town up, get rid of these dilapidated structures, and we hope that it’s starting to pay off a little bit.”

Connors said he is grateful and hopes to see steady progress.

“We’re just hoping for progress. We’re grateful for what we got, but we also are in hope for more to come in the future,” he said.

Ena Sellers may be reached at esellers@ncweeklies.com