Mayor sees positive impact from new grocery store

Havelock Mayor Will Lewis says there is a buzz around town, and that buzz is going to get louder on July 13 when the new Lidl grocery store off U.S. 70 opens.

Brendan Proctor, president and CEO of Lidl U.S., announced the July 13 opening of the Havelock store on Monday. The company opened other stores in North Carolina, including one in Kinston, on June 15. Another Lidl grocery store is under construction in Morehead City.

“Havelock is excited to have Lidl here,” Lewis said. “I know that the community buzz is very positive.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 7:40 a.m. on July 13 at the Havelock store, with the doors scheduled to open at 8 a.m.

Lidl, a European company that is opening its first stores in the United States, already has a market in Havelock, Lewis said.

“I think more people here are interested in it because we do have a lot of military spouses on the base that have actually been to Lidl in Germany and England, and they’re excited about going to the store because they’re used to the store,” he said. “They’ve been to a Lidl, they like it, and they’re ready to go to another one.”

The exact economic impact the store will have on Havelock remains somewhat uncertain, as the property value that determines the tax value has not been set. Still, Lewis knows the impact of any new big retailer will be positive, especially considering the closure of the Greenfield Heights Boulevard Food Lion in 2014 and the expected closure later this year of two furniture stores in Havelock.

“From a practical standpoint, we will certainly see an increase in taxable property and another water and sewer customer,” Lewis said. “Anytime you have something positive as a business that comes to your community, it acts to float the entire community in a different way, and I think Lidl is going to be a positive influence on Havelock both in economic development and in revenue for the city.”

Bruce Fortin, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce, said he didn’t know much about the company or its stores but is always happy to see new businesses in the city.

“The Havelock Chamber of Commerce extends a warm welcome to all business owners who are considering the city of Havelock to launch a new product or service, or to expand their existing operations,” he said. “We look forward to having this new store provide its services to our amazing community.”

The newly constructed, 20,000 square-foot building in Havelock will have just six aisles for an easier shopping experience, according to a release from the company. The first 100 customers to arrive will receive a wooden coin for a chance to win up to $100 in Lidl gift cards. Shoppers can also sample an array of Lidl’s products and get a complimentary Lidl reusable bag while supplies last.

Activities continue throughout the grand opening weekend with games, prizes, special deals, and giveaways, according to the release.

Lidl offers select wines, quality brand products, fresh baked goods, fresh and frozen seafood, organic and gluten-free choices, and non-food products that include fitness gear, small kitchen appliances, toys, and outdoor furniture, according to a release from the company.

Lidl formed in 1973 in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The first store employed three people and offered about 500 products. Today the company has more than 10,000 stores in 28 countries across Europe and established its first headquarters in America in 2015 at Arlington County, Virginia, according to the company’s website.

This year, Lidl plans to open 20 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

Sun Journal reporter Eddie Fitzgerald contributed to this story.