The inflatable orange piggy bank was flying high Thursday as around Pittsburgh.
Hundreds of people packed the new store in the Great Southern Shopping Center all day and found great deals and long checkout lines.
“We’ve been very well received by the community, I’m pleased to say,” store manager Bob Powell said. “Pittsburgh has really embraced us.”
The North Carolina-based grocery store chain also opened stores in Scott, Baldwin, Penn Hills, McKeesport and Aliquippa with more on the way. Despite the strong showing during the grand opening Thursday, he expects even more people to pack the store over the weekend.
“We expected a strong opening, but this exceeded our expectations,” Powell said. “There’s a lot of buzz.”
More than 300 people were standing outside the Great Southern store waiting for it to open promptly at 8 a.m., and the first 200 received a reusable grocery bag full of food. One woman looking to pay for her groceries couldn’t believe the wait.
“Is this the checkout line,” she asked? “Oh, my!”
“Yes, it’s been like this since we opened,” the employee responded.
Rose Porter of Upper St. Clair was standing at the back of one of those long lines that stretched to the rear of the store. Still, she marveled at the cheap prices while pointing to a bay of Lay’s potato chips that cost only $1.98.
“It’s going to hurt the other grocery stores,” Porter said. “I had never heard of it. It’s like Aldi’s, but has brand names.”
Kathy Fitzgerald was waiting in line next to her and didn’t mind driving from her Canonsburg home to the store in Collier Township.
“I think it’s great,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ll definitely be shopping here. I don’t like standing in this line, but it’ll get better.”
The store, which is colorful and has easy-to-read prices, asks customers to bring their own grocery bags. Most of the produce is located in a large freezer room to keep vegetables fresh.
The company brought in employees from as far away as Maine and South Carolina to help for the grand opening weekend.