Polished floors and pristine aisles packed with food and other goods greeted a mass of people who turned out Sunday morning to check out the grand opening of the Lacey WinCo Foods store.
Hundreds stood in line outside the 97,000-square-foot store, waiting their turn to shop in the area’s newest discount supermarket. Soon after the store opened, its 290-spot parking lot was nearing capacity and its 500 shopping carts were hot commodities.
And while the store opening allows South Sounders another shopping option, it also created nearly 180 jobs, most of which were local hires who have the option of working full time, according to a company spokesperson.
Of the people who showed up Sunday, many came out of curiosity, proximity and the promise of low prices.
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Stacia Harper, 54, was first in line, arriving nearly three hours early. She worked at a local business until recently and has watched the store being built. Clutching a handful of coupons, Harper said she’ll consider shopping at WinCo and dumping Wal-Mart if she likes what she sees.
Many who turned out said they also shop at Wal-Mart either just down the street on Galaxy Drive Northeast or in Yelm. They say WinCo will provide competition.
“It’s gonna give Wal-Mart a run for its money,” Roberta Smith of Rainier said as she left the store with a cart full of groceries.
Many customers also said they have favorite grocery stores but will give WinCo a try if they are satisfied – saying the low prices and bulk items make the store an attractive one-stop shop.
The new Lacey location also means a shorter trip for WinCo diehard Peggie Hicks of Centralia. Before the new store opened, Hicks made a monthly drive down to the Longview WinCo.
“I love this store because of the cheap, low prices,” she said.
Looking over the throngs of people entering the building, store manager Dana Lem said it was exciting to see so many customers.
Sunday also saw the opening of WinCo stores in Everett and Tracy, Calif., according to a company spokesperson.
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