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Breaking ground, opening up
Publix manager Keith Everett. The store will have a grand opening on Thursday at 8 a.m. - photo by Ross Blair

With Publix opening their doors for business on Thursday, and the new Kroger superstore to follow, the grocery store scene in Richmond Hill in about to drastically change.

For one thing, the addition of Publix to a market currently shared by Kroger and Harvey's gives Richmond Hill three supermarkets.

Publix store manager and Richmond Hill resident Keith Everett has high hopes for the new store.

"We’re bringing to Richmond Hill what this area has longed for," said Everett. "Our superior appearance and customer service is a perfect match for this area."

Everett said a common misconception is that Publix has higher prices.

"We’re very competitive with our prices," Everett said. "Once people start shopping here and see what we have to offer, it will far outweigh any reservations they may have from the start. I feel confident of that."

Down the road a ways, on a tract near Richmond Place subdivision, the replacement Kroger store broke ground on Friday. The new 70,000 square-foot store is slated to open in January of 2008.

Linda Hurst will be the new manager of the expanded store. She will replace current manager Bo Cook, who is said to be retiring from the company.

Hurst said the expansion will allow the store to carry a great deal more variety in products. The store will also feature a Starbuck’s, a fuel center and a drive-through pharmacy.

Both Publix and Kroger claim to have a strong employment program which has employed, and will employ, many locals.

Everett said that he just hired 60 Richmond Hill residents, and that he anticipates 75 percent of the store's 128 positions will be filled by local people.

Hurst said the Kroger expansion will open up 50 new job openings when the new store opens.



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