Shoppers wait outside of the new Publix in the North Pointe Shopping Center on Wednesday morning. The doors opened at 7 a.m.
Crowd turns out for Publix grand opening
BY HALEY JONES
A crowd of eager shoppers lined the sidewalk outside of the new Publix grocery store early Wednesday morning in anticipation of the grand opening.
They were welcomed on a cool morning by pastries and coffee provided by the grocery store. The Statesville High School Drum Line warmed the atmosphere, playing a set of upbeat rhythms to energize the crowd.
“I can’t be more excited,” Manager Chris Hendrickson told the crowd. “I’m ready to get you all in the store.”
Customers displayed their excitement and curiosity for the opening of the store, peeking in when they could as employees came in and out of the sliding glass doors. Betty Sue Doty stood out from the crowd because of the “I love my Statesville Publix” T-shirt she had made for the grand opening. She also carried a Publix reusable shopping bag as her purse.
Doty, who is originally from Florida, the birthplace of Publix, moved to Statesville in 1985. She loves her Statesville home but when she goes back to visit Florida, she takes her Publix list with all the various items that she can’t get here and brings them back.
“I love their seafood, mojo rotisserie chicken, and Cuban sandwiches,” Doty said. “I’m so excited that we now have one here in Statesville.”
Doty has returned to the Publix site every day, to take pictures and post them on her Facebook page, watching and sharing the progress with her friends. She also set up a countdown on her phone counting down the seconds to the grand opening.
Kimberly Reynolds, Publix media and community relations manager, introduced David Bradley, Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce president, and Mayor Costi Kutteh.
Bradley began to speak and then stopped abruptly, joking with the crowd that they just wanted to get in the store and not listen to his speech. His remark was met with laughter.
“The economic impact of this particular store suggests what we have all hoped for a long time – that Statesville’s economic growth is on the rise,” Bradley said.
Mayor Kutteh welcomed the crowd.
“We’re trying our best to do things every day to make the environment of our community even better than it was in the past,” Kutteh said. “Thank you for Publix for making this investment in our community.”
Bradley and Kutteh were equally excited to set foot in the store.
Before anyone entered the store, the first customers, Gwen and Rodney Estes were asked to cut the Publix green ribbon with a pair of oversized green scissors.
As the crowd began to fan out throughout the store, Hendrickson stood inside, shaking hands and hugging customers. Customers enjoyed samples from various departments, took advantage of grand opening sales, and received a green, reusable Publix grocery bag.