Thursday, September 29, 2022

Early birds pack Earth Fare for grand opening, shopping deals

Clouds shrouded the sunrise Wednesday, but a queue of shoppers snaked along the Midtown Row sidewalk and out to Monticello Avenue just after dawn.

They were eagerly awaiting the grand opening of Earth Fare, Williamsburg’s newest grocery store.

More than 630 people waited in line before the ribbon cutting, according to an Earth Fare spokeswoman. The first 500 customers were given gift cards upon entry, with one lucky shopper winning $1,000 in store credit.

The store is Earth Fare’s first in eastern Virginia, and many in line said they were excited to see what the store is all about.

“That’s why we’re here — to see what their product is,” James City County resident Betsy Davis said.

The first person in line arrived early Tuesday afternoon, but most arrived early Wednesday.

“I’m not that crazy,” Cathy Fatzler said, adding she arrived around 6:20 a.m.

Upon entering the store, customers were greeted by Earth Fare team members. Vendors dotted the aisles, offering free samples of their goods that stocked the shelves.

The store was quickly packed with shoppers who were taking advantage of deals, exploring the aisles and putting their gift cards to use. Many found team members and signed up for Earth Fare’s Healthy Rewards program to snag more savings.

More promotions and deals are planned through the weekend.

A Summer Celebration that includes kids’ activities, giveaways, free samples and live music from a DJ will take place Saturday (June 30) between noon and 3 p.m.

The first 100 customers in line both Saturday and Sunday (July 1) will receive a coupon good for 20 percent off their entire purchase.

“If Earth Fare is any indication of what’s to come, the city’s downtown has a bright and vibrant future,” Vice Mayor Scott Foster said. “On behalf of the City of Williamsburg, welcome to your new favorite grocery store.”

About Earth Fare

Earth Fare has more than 40 stores across the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest. The Williamsburg store will be the company’s third in Virginia and will be one of the anchor tenants of the Midtown Row redevelopment project.

The company is committed to its “food philosophy,” pledging the food it sells is free of added hormones, artificial and trans-fats, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, antibiotics and more.

In addition to its organic products, the store will feature a café and juice bar, which will sell made-to-order smoothies and juices. Earth Fare also has a pizza station, salad bar, hot foods bar and a sandwich counter.

The Williamsburg Earth Fare store will be managed by David Berger, who spent nine years with Whole Foods before joining the grocery chain in March 2017. The store will also employ about 130 people.

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