Weis Markets’ flagship sets sail this morning, complete with a pub.
The Sunbury-based chain’s 65,000 square-foot Enola “superstore,” at 4525 Valley Road in Hampden Township, officially opened to the public at 8 a.m. today, but corporate brass and local leaders gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours on Wednesday afternoon.
Designated the prototype for new features that could later be applied at other locations throughout the 204-store chain, the “community market” design has been in development for several years, Weis Markets Inc. CEO Jonathan Weis said.
“We wanted to look beyond what our customers are putting into their carts to offer a distinctive shopping experience that combines value, variety and service,” Weis said.
“We think we achieved this goal,” he added.
The store has a destination feel, with the company’s first in-store pub, ice cream parlor and food court featuring a grill counter, wok station and a Chobani yogurt bar.
The pub includes a sun room with large garage doors. It’s also stocked with 900 domestic and craft beers as well as 500 varieties of wine.
But those who come to shop also will find new and expanded features in the grocery aisles as well.
Weis officials say the new location features its largest selection of organic and gluten-free items, contained in a section dubbed a “store within a store.”
In addition to organic and health-conscious offerings, the new store also features a gas station, full-service pharmacy with drive-though and a “Made in Pennsylvania” section within the store. It also offers online ordering with in-store pick up.
Underscoring the importance of local commitment, Wednesday’s ceremony also saw the chain give $1,500 donations each to nine community groups, as well as a $125,000 donation to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
From an ecological perspective, the store uses LED lighting, skylights to reduce electric consumption and energy-efficient refrigerators with lower emissions than older models.
The store employs more than 200 full- and part-time staffers. Its manager is Andrew Campbell.
“We’re big enough to be significant and small enough to be nimble,” Weis said. “And that nimbleness allows us to do some new things.”