The largest Kroger in the Mid-Atlantic region opened its doors at 7 a.m. Wednesday at the former Cloverleaf Mall site.
Several people lined up early to get into the Kroger Marketplace at Stonebridge. For these anxious customers, it was a moment worth waiting for. Music and excitement surrounded the new Kroger off Midlothian Turnpike even before it officially opened.
"What was really heartfelt was seeing 200 to 300 customers out there at 6:30 this morning," said store manager Mike Witt.
When it comes to shopping, Renae Meeks has stores closer to her home.
"Actually I live in Chester but I couldn't resist coming. It is really nice," she said.
In addition to revitalization the store is putting people to work. 350 employees clock in every day.
"It's hustle and bustle," said Witt. "Everyone's going around checking everything, making sure all the signage is up."
For Vivian Cooper, it's a second chance that's hard to hold in. She's squealing with excitement over the opening, grateful for a job with a salary that means she can pay her bills.
"I want it to be perfect," said Cooper. "It's the opening day. I'm excited! This is a great place to be. I'm new with the Kroger company."
But perfection will take a lot of work. The store is 123,000 square feet, complete with its own satellite police station, a furniture section, and baby section.
The store manager says it's their goal to give this area a shot in the arm with a good grocery store and several other much needed services.
"A big grocery store like Kroger taking over the whole Cloverleaf mall!" said Vivian Cooper. "This is like everything."
And finding everything might be the tough part, the store is so big there is a map for customers.
Officials say if this store does well, they expect to open two other stores like it in the coming years. The next store will be built in the Northside of Richmond at Staples Mill and Hungary Springs Road. That store is expected to open summer of 2014 with construction starting in mid-2013.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics