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Gripping shopping carts and armed with binders of coupons, dozens of shoppers lined up Wednesday morning outside a Harris Teeter that was two years in the making.
As soon as store manager Jim Fryrear sliced the ribbon with the ceremonial scissors, the doors of the new grocery store slid open.
Inside, shoppers enjoyed free samples of bread, cheese and Boar’s Head meat. The aisles were wide, the ceilings high and the freezers lit each passerby in neon.
“There wasn’t a single person that didn’t smile or greet me when they were getting the last minute items in place,” said Michael Hipple, the chairman of the James City County Board of Supervisors.
The store, which employs 125 people at 6485 Centerville Road, is the first to open in the Lightfoot Marketplace shopping center. Around this time in 2014, the Williamsburg Outlet Mall was being demolished to make way for the shopping center.
In remarks before the ribbon cutting, Hipple said he remembered when the site was a cornfield and said it has been “fascinating” to watch the construction of Lightfoot Marketplace.
“I know this will be an asset to the community,” he said.
Offerings at the 50,000 square-foot location include a full-service butcher's market, made-to-order sandwiches, a drive-thru pharmacy and a Starbucks café.
Shopper Marian Gilchrist lives in Surry but works five minutes away from the new Harris Teeter.
“I usually go to the one off Rte. 199, so this one will get me in a lot of trouble,” Gilchrist said, adding she is a fan of the sales and the quality of food at Harris Teeter.
Matt Reilly and his daughters Emma and Ellie jogged from their home in the Liberty Crossing neighborhood to the grocery store Wednesday morning.
“When it snows we can walk here because they built a trail in the neighborhood,” Emma Reilly said.
The Reilly family usually picks up their prescriptions at Walmart but said they were looking forward to having a pharmacy in walking distance.
“It’s still a heck of a lot easier when it’s just next door to your neighborhood,” Matt Reilly said.
The grocery store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pharmacy hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and more limited hours on weekends.
Two more stores in the shopping center are expected to open by mid-August, while a pediatric medical office operated by Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters remains on track to open by the end of the year, said Stephanie Maheu, spokeswoman for Armada Hoffler properties.