A fast growing county is not just about more houses and more people. With each new resident in the area comes an increased need for businesses and services.

As new residents come in droves to North Brunswick County, national and regional businesses are following their lead. And with each new business comes increased self-sufficiency for the county and its residents, who are able to shop, eat and obtain services where they live – on this side of the bridge.

The latest large chain businesses to focus on North Brunswick County are Lowes Foods and CVS/pharmacy. The two industry giants are building stores in The Villages at Brunswick Forest and hope to be open by mid–2012.

Site work has begun on the approximately 42,000-square-foot Lowes Foods FreshSmart store as well as an 8,000-square-foot attachment for additional retail outlets and a standalone CVS/ pharmacy of approximately 13,000 square feet.

When complete, The Villages at Brunswick Forest’s 160•acre complex will be made up of more than 500,000 square feet of retail and professional establishments to support the 4,500-acre residential community offering homes, town homes and home sites with extensive community amenities.

Support businesses like Lowes and CVS are coming just in time. Last year more homes and home sites sold in Brunswick Forest than at any time in the community’s four-year history. According to the development’s closed sales records, 105 homes and 40 home sites were recorded in 2010, representing a volume of more than $41 million. More than 715 families now call the community home.

“We’re delighted to have both Lowes Foods and CVS/ pharmacy join our existing tenants at The Villages,” says Alan Kerry, president of Lord Baltimore Properties, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lord Baltimore Capital Corporation and the sole developer of the community. “They bring a major regional and national retail presence to The Villages, and will go far in serving the growing needs of the residents of Brunswick Forest and the greater Brunswick County area.”

Lowes Foods began in 1954 as a single store in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and has grown to become a major supermarket chain operating in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia with more than 100 stores.

The food-store chain already has an established foothold in South Brunswick County and feels certain of success in the northern part of the county. According to Roger Henderson, vice president, real estate for Lowes Food Stores, Inc., introducing a Lowes FreshSmart store in The Villages makes perfect sense.

“We’ve done very well in Brunswick County,” says Henderson, “with successful stores in Southport, Shallotte, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach. The Brunswick Forest community and Brunswick County is growing very quickly, and the CVS/pharmacy has more than 7,000 CVS/pharmacy locations from coast to coast, offering prescription medications and related healthcare products. In addition, the stores also offer popular beauty, health and personal care brands as well as an assortment of other brands not available at other U.S. drugstores.

The Villages at Brunswick Forest has been enjoying steadily growing occupancy by a variety of businesses drawn to the growing Brunswick Forest property owner base and to the growth of the Brunswick County area in general.

Last summer New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) opened a 40,000-square-foot Health and Diagnostics building in The Villages, bringing physicians, technicians and other healthcare providers to serve Brunswick Forest and the rest of the area. Wilmington Health Associates, a multi-faceted medical practice, moved into 5,000 square feet of office space in the New Hanover Regional Medical Center office building last summer and now plans to double its existing space.

Just opened in The Villages is the Wilmington-based Glen Meade Center for Women’s Health, which has nearly 2,000 square feet of additional practice space in the NHRMC office building and has begun seeing patients following several months of upfit work to install state-of-the-art medical equipment.

Also occupying the NHRMC medical office building are Atlantic Orthopedic, Morgan Internal Medicine and Urology Comprehensive Services. In a standalone building, construction is nearing completion on the Brunswick Forest Veterinary Hospital, a 4,500-square-foot, highly specialized facility.

Already located in The Villages are Port City Java, BB&T Financial Center, Blue Wave Dentistry and a Brunswick County Sheriff substation.

Announcements regarding the start of construction for other major shopping and lodging facilities are expected soon.