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The new County Market grocery store originally slated to open Aug. 19 will now open with a celebration on Thursday, Aug. 21 according to store officials.
“We’ll have Country Soul playing in the parking lot and we’ll have hot dogs,” Niemann Foods Director of Consumer Affairs Gerry Kettler told the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Aug. 4. “We’ll cut the ribbon about 6 p.m.”
The store will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day after the Aug. 21 grand opening.
New Store Director John Nichols indicated the extra time is needed to stock the store, an effort that began last week.
Nichols has been in the grocery business for many years and has lived in Louisiana since 2000. He was a former assistant store director at the County Market in Hannibal. Most recently he was store director at the Vandalia outlet, which also just underwent a large remodeling project.
“The whole inside of the store has been redone,” Nichols said about the Louisiana facility where the old Kroger store was on Georgia Street.
Louisiana resident Paula Richardson has been named bakery manager for the store that will also feature a delicatessen and raised eating area for customers.
“We have been hiring and training now,” Nichols said. “We’re going to make it a good place to work.”
Kettler estimated last month that about 70 to 80 employees will be hired.
After they have worked there one year, they will be eligible to own a part of the firm, Kettler told the chamber.
County Market’s parent company, Niemann Foods, Inc., began in 1917 and is based in Quincy, Ill. The firm runs 106 stores in three states and employs about 3,000 people, Kettler said.
Kettler said problems with the lease for the store and the discovery and removal of asbestos forced a later opening of the store than first anticipated.
The firm’s foundation will support local issues with donations. Niemann Foods is already leasing the chamber the old Pick-A-Dilly convenience store at the foot of the Champ Clark Bridge for free. Other donations will be made to the community and the firm is a strong supporter of the YMCA, Kettler said.
In addition, customers will be able to direct dollars to local schools through the Max Dollars cards County Market consumers use, Kettler said. The firm will donate money to the schools based on card use.
Niemann Foods has already donated more than $1 million to regional schools from the program, Kettler added.