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New grocery store breaks ground in Thurmont

Ingrid Mezo

Thurmont residents will once again have a second grocery store in town when Weis Markets opens behind McDonald’s this summer.

Since the Jubilee grocery store at Thurmont Plaza in the center of town closed several years ago, there has only been one grocery store in the town of 5,700 residents. The new grocery store broke ground Friday, though site work began early last week.

Weis Markets approached the town about finding a suitable site on which to build a store several years ago, Mayor Martin Burns said. Town officials had hoped Weis would build on the grounds where the Jubilee grocery store once stood across town from the Food Lion, but that site was not large enough to accommodate a ‘‘superstore.” Weis will be 53,700 square feet, and will be located in the same part of town as Food Lion.

‘‘We’re really excited about it because we believe that competition is always good for our residents, and it will help drive prices down in both stores,” Burns said.

Amy Grube of Thurmont frequently drives to Emmitsburg to shop at Jubilee, and said the Food Lion, the town’s only supermarket, can get busy on weekends. Grube is the type of shopper who looks through ads and goes where the lowest prices are, she said.

‘‘I think having another grocery store here will be good for competition in town, and will bring some more jobs to the area, too,” Grube said.

The store will bring an estimated 150 full- and part-time jobs into the town, said Dennis Curtin, a Weis Markets spokesman. Weis hopes to open the store in mid to late summer.

While Cindy Long of Thurmont has never had a problem waiting in line at the Food Lion, she looks forward to having a second store in town.

‘‘It was better when they had two stores because you could shop between them,” Long said.

Carlisle Smith of Thurmont agreed that the town would benefit from having another grocery store there.

‘‘Yeah, they need another store here,” Smith said.

Smith shops at several grocery stores including ones in Frederick city and Emmitsburg. ‘‘I shop where the sales are,” Smith said.

The new store will be constructed using the chain’s newest store prototype, which is modeled to cater to the two distinct types of shoppers, Curtin said. The first type of shoppers eat most of their food at home, plan their meals for the week, and generally do all their shopping in one weekly visit.

For this first variety of shoppers, the new Thurmont Weis Markets superstore will include a 500-item produce department with an organic selection of fruits and vegetables and a floral department.

It will have a full-service bakery, service seafood department, pharmacy, and self-scanning registers. There will also be a ‘‘center store,” where shoppers can purchase natural, organic, gourmet, and ethnic items.

The second type of shoppers come in at 5 p.m. and have no idea what to do for dinner, Curtin said. The supermarket will cater to this second variety of shoppers by offering ‘‘heat and serve” meals, like rotisserie chicken. The superstore will also have a large deli with a pizza kitchen, an express register, a Hoagie Shack, and a sit-down eating area.

‘‘Our new store prototype offers customers tremendous one-stop shopping convenience in addition to outstanding value and variety,” Weis vise-chairman Jonathan Weis said in a press release. ‘‘As a company which operates multiple stores in Frederick and Hagerstown, we feel right at home in Thurmont.”

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