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Weis Market returns to Chambersburg

July 29, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After a decade's absence, Weis Market is coming back to town with a new superstore and 100 full- and part-time jobs, according to officials with the chain.

The store is scheduled to open around November on Wayne Avenue.

The new 53,000-square-foot store, being built close to the Interstate 81 overpass across from the Kmart shopping plaza and the Giant supermarket, replaces the former Weis store on Lincoln Way East, which closed in 1987.

"Our new site is better than the one we operated 10 years ago. It allows us to build a large, state-of-the-art superstore along a well-traveled thoroughfare in Chambersburg - two advantages we didn't have at our old site," said Weis Market President Norman S. Rich in a prepared statement.

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Excavation of the site, marked by a sign recently posted at the entrance, began in late spring. Workers already have the steel beams and framework in place.

The new store arrives in the wake of the closings of the Super Fresh Food Market on Philadelphia Avenue a month ago and Cressler's Marketplace on Lincoln Way East over a year ago.

Despite the recent closings, Weis officials say the town has room for another supermarket, but that it has to be in the right place.

"We always viewed Chambersburg as a good market if we could get the right location," said Dennis Curtin, Weis Market's public relations director.

The old store didn't have space to grow, he added.

"I think clearly Wayne Avenue has emerged as a rival to Lincoln Way as a major commercial center," said Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation.

In light of the growth and increased traffic on Wayne Avenue, improvements to the road, including widening it from Interstate 81 to Coldbrook Avenue, are in the works, Ross said.

Though he's not totally convinced the area can support another big grocery store, Ross said feasibility studies done by the supermarket chain support its strategy.

"Somebody believes we're eating a lot," Ross joked.

The new Weis Market store will provide some heavy competition for nearby Giant, which opened its Wayne Avenue superstore in 1990.

"This business is very competitive. It makes it good for the customers because we all try harder to make an excellent shopping experience for them," said Richard Pasewark, spokesperson for Giant Food, based in Carlisle, Pa.

Giant has operated a grocery store in Chambersburg since the late 1950s, Pasewark said.

The new Weis superstore is designed to accommodate two types of shoppers - the weekly or bi-weekly shopper and the daily customer, Curtin said.

Besides the full-service pharmacy, the new store will feature a food court with its own express checkout offering prepared meals and a made-to-order pizza kitchen.

The store will have a bagel kitchen, fresh fruit and salad bars, a floral shop, and a variety of ethnic, gourmet and health foods.

The Chambersburg store is part of a $120 million expansion for the Weis chain, with the building of 11 new stores and the remodeling of 20 others, officials said.

Weis Markets, with headquarters in Sunbury, Pa., has 153 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York.

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