It’s been years in the works, but the day has come at last.
The first business at Wayland Town Center, to customers Friday morning after a grand opening celebration Thursday night.
Hundreds of people came together to stock, straighten, clean and otherwise bring online the 45,000-square foot grocery store that will serve as the anchor for Wayland Town Center.
“It’s Santa’s Workshop,” said general manager Mike Bussell, looking around the store on Thursday afternoon as employees stacked colorful produce, arranged flowers and stocked shelves.
Bussell, a 31-year veteran of the grocery chain, estimated that about 110 people were busy working at the store Thursday afternoon in preparation for that evening’s party and Friday’s 6 a.m. opening.
When the doors open Friday morning, customers will find a store that is designed around what the neighborhood wants to see, Bussell explained, adding that Stop & Shop will continue to listen to customers and stock the items they say they need.
Organic produce as well as a natural foods aisle will play a prominent role in the store. In fact, spokeswoman Suzi Robinson said, the Wayland Stop & Shop location is the first in the chain to carry Bell & Evans Chicken.
“We think for this community … because they’re looking for premium items and organic foods, [Bell & Evans Chicken] was a good fit,” Robinson said. “For this store in particular, organics will be heavily emphasized.”
The Wayland store also holds the distinction of being the first silver level LEED certified location for the chain, which has about 50 LEED-certified stores across its brand.
The store features a variety of environmentally friendly features including nine electric car charging stations, skylights for natural light and dimming sensors on overhead store lights that automatically adjust as more natural light is available.
Perhaps the most obvious “green” feature for most customers will be the dairy section that is displayed behind glass doors rather than in exposed cases. Robinson explained that the closed coolers keep the food chilled using less energy. In addition, special motors in the cases better distribute the airflow so that food stays cold and customers don’t shiver as they shop the cold foods section of the store.
In addition to the standard sections of a grocery store, the Wayland Town Center Stop & Shop is also catering to the town’s significant Jewish population with special kosher sections.
Bakery and Deli Specialist Mike Vachon is hoping that customers will be happy with the store’s kosher offerings, which already includes a section in the deli and will include the entire bakery.
Vachon explained that the bakery is lacking a sink at present that is needed for it to be certified kosher, but he expects that to be rectified soon after the first of the year. In the meantime, Vachon explained, the staff has taken steps to ensure that bakery can be quickly certified kosher once that sink is installed, and many of the prepackaged products sold in the bakery section are kosher.
“I’ve been here a little over three weeks,” Bussell said. “It seems like the sentiment is very excited to have us in Wayland. People seem happy about a traditional grocery store in town. We’re all very excited.”
Stop & Shop will be open today, Nov. 16, from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Regular store hours will be 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday.
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