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An emerging Giant
PATRICK BURNS Review Staff
, Staff Writer
Local shoppers got to kick the tires of the neighborhood’s newest retail center this morning as Ephrata Marketplace officially opened at 850 E. Main St.
Giant of Carlisle opened its doors to a sparkling market and a waiting crowd at 8 a.m. offering a new grocery option and further extending the Main Street shopping district.
Cindy Dundore of Ephrata, who checked in before the doors opened, wanted to compare the store to others in the neighborhood.
"I’m excited about a new store," Dundore said. "Who doesn’t like competition?"
The Ephrata Giant, appears poised to take full aim at the other area giant, Walmart, which is only a stones throw east off Route 322.
Christopher Brand, Giant spokesman, said one of the store’s major appeal is its wide assortment of differing bands – a trait Walmart customers criticize often online.
That resonated with Dundore.
"I can tell right away that the selection and variety is better here," she said.
Store Manager Maryann Owen, who worked her way up from a part-time cashier 17 years ago, said the 66,000-square-foot store isn’t among the chain’s biggest or smallest.
"Giant did its research and built the right store to fit the surrounding community," said John McDonald, Giant director of communications and marketing.
The new Giant provides Ephrata shoppers a fourth considerable food-chain option, complementing Redner’s, Weis, and Walmart as well as several smaller grocery options and discount grocers.
The Ephrata Giant, which marks the chain’s 200th store, also marks what should be the rollout of a string of openings at Ephrata Marketplace, said developer Ed Fetter Tuesday.
Fetter said "in-line" stores – opening on the strip as Giant – will be ready within two weeks or so and include a Starbucks, Subway, Game Stop, GNC, Great Clips, a pizza shop and a Japanese grill.
The new businesses could be a jobs bonanza for younger workers, especially high school students as many of the 210 jobs created at the Giant are part-time positions filled by teen workers.
Ephrata Marketplace will also provide a revenue boost for Ephrata Area School District though Lancaster County has yet to provide the overall assessed taxable value of the property, said Laurie Horst, of Lancaster County recorder of deeds office.
While the complex is a major boost for the Ephrata economy, its emergence appears to further push back a similar, but stalled, retail proposal at nearby Cocalico Commons.
Pat Quint, an East Cocalico Township resident, blamed the township for not being more business friendly and called Wednesday a "sad day for Cocalico."
A fall groundbreaking in 2009 had been planned for Cocalico Commons, a 445,000-square-foot complex planned for a 57-acre site just off Route 222 near the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It was planned to house three major anchor stores, including a Giant supermarket and a Lowe’s home improvement store.
Giant officials on Tuesday had no comment on the former plans at Cocalico Commons. Quint fears the project is all but dead.
"All prospects of a vibrant community with jobs, shopping and restaurants have vanished," Quint said. "We have the perfect spot for a shopping center. We need the tax base. We only get Dollar Stores looking to move in."
More GIANT, page A16