07/31/13 — Shoppers gather for grand opening of Harris Teeter store

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Shoppers gather for grand opening of Harris Teeter store

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on July 31, 2013 1:46 PM

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Eddie West and his wife Teresa look through an advertising paper to see what is on sale while waiting in line with dozens more people before the grand opening of Harris Teeter earlier today.

Peanut butter. Salad. Big Red?

They showed up at 8 a.m. for different reasons -- the local residents who turned out for the grand opening of Goldsboro's new Harris Teeter.

But each seemed excited about having a new place to shop for groceries in a city that has been buzzing about today since long before construction of the facility began last fall.

Jessica Ellis said she has been waiting for this moment for more than a year.

"I saw the petition on Facebook a year-and-a-half ago, and I've been excited ever since," she said. "I've never shopped at a Harris Teeter before, but I heard about the deals and coupons and was excited to get here."

The 53,000-square-foot store opened at 8:12 this morning, just after employees cut a ceremonial ribbon and declared their business open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"I'm excited for the double coupons," said Ms. Ellis, who has been collecting coupons for three years. "And I'm glad there's finally somewhere with variety and an organic selection."

She decided to be among the first to walk the aisles because "it was a military payday and I had errands to run anyway and figured I could get it over with and I thought, 'Why wait?'"

Donna Baldwin wasn't taking any chances.

She showed up in the parking lot at 6:45, more than an hour before the location was set to open.

"For me, I'm most excited for the fact that we have an upscale grocery store in Goldsboro with an organic selection and a wide variety of products," she said.

And she is happy about the prospect of not having to travel to the Fresh Market in Greenville for "fresh food."

Mike Hagan was the first person to make a purchase inside the store.

His selection?

A pack of Big Red chewing gum.

Others came prepared to walk away with much more.

Like Darlene Van Norman, a woman who has been collecting coupons for three years.

Armed with a three-ring binder full of them, she showed up ready to shop for deals.

"I'm excited for the peanut butter," she said. "I've got a lot of coupons for it and (Harris Teeter) has a lot of different kinds. That's how I shop -- I collect coupons and match them up with what's on sale at different stores."

Mary Margrove came for the salad bar.

"It's something new," she said. "It's a store with a salad bar and I used to go to a Farm Fresh store in Smithfield, Va., where my aunt lives, to get a salad bar and I was tired of going to Virginia for a store with a salad bar."

Lacey Laprade just wanted something new.

"I was getting tired of always going to the Piggly Wiggly," Laprade said. "It's something new. It's a change of scenery."