HAVELOCK – New businesses with jobs are always welcome and shoppers from Havelock and the surrounding area gave the new Lidl grocery on U.S. 70 a hearty welcome to town Thursday morning.

Hundreds of people lined the perimeter of the store before the ribbon cutting and opening.

At the head of the line was Yvone Brown, who left her job at Medical Park Pharmacy in Beaufort at 6 p.m. Wednesday, drove home to Havelock, napped for four hours and was at the Lidl front door before midnight.

“I will do some shopping, but I have to get to work,” she said shortly before store officials rewarded her patience with a flower bouquet. “But, I will be back.”

She was joined around midnight by the mother-daughter duo of Tessa and Joiya Napier, also of Havelock.

“This is the first time we have done this,” said Tessa. “As soon as we heard about the new store a week or so ago, we decided to come early to try to get gift certificates and deals.”

The Havelock store is part of a second wave of four store openings for Lidl, which earlier launched 10 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

A typical Lidl U.S. store employs about 50 people. Lidl will create a total of 5,000 U.S. jobs by summer 2018.

Havelock Mayor Will Lewis, who assisted in the ribbon-cutting, said the new jobs were definitely welcome in this primarily military community.

“We are super excited, because this doesn’t happen every day,” Lewis said. “It represents growth and prosperity for our community.”

Since Lidl is new to this region, Lewis said it was akin to a wrapped Christmas present.

“In this case, there is a heightened level because nobody has any idea what they are in for when they walk through the doors,” he said. “But, I’ve had a little sneak peek and I can tell you, it is pretty exciting.”

Lidl also announced plans to build a fourth regional headquarters and distribution center in Cartersville, Ga.

“Since opening our doors two weeks ago, we have begun the journey of serving our customers with top quality products at the best possible prices every single day,” said Brendan Proctor, president and CEO of Lidl US. “We are committed to providing our customers with a simpler, more efficient shopping experience with better choices at lower prices so they can shop with confidence.”

The store is 20,000 square feet, located at 547 U.S. 70 East.

Some of the store features include just six wide aisles, including a Convenient section with the main store basics.

It has award-winning wines, which are curated by Lidl’s in-house Master of Wine Adam Lapierre. The company was the top performing retailer at both the 2017 LA International Wine Competition and the 2017 INDY International Wine Competition, where Lidl also became the best performing exhibitor in the 25-year history of the competition with 104 medals, including Sparkling Wine of the Year.

The deli has fresh-baked breads and pastries, featured just inside the entrance, next to the fruits and vegetables.

All fresh and frozen seafood in Lidls will be certified sustainable by either the Marine Stewardship Council Best Aquaculture Practices or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

It will carry a variety of organic and gluten-free items, including organic fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and packaged food items.

Stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The other Thursday store openings were in Chesapeake, Va.; Culpeper, Va.; and Wake Forest.

Lidl operates more than 10,000 stores in 28 countries.

Lidl first established its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, Va., in June 2015.

 

Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or 252-259-7585, or charlie.hall@newbernsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @CharlieHallNBSJ