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New Martin's market nears opening

March 29, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - Representatives of the parent company of Martin's Food Markets are projecting a late spring opening for a 65,000-square-foot market that is to include Sovereign Bank, a Daddio's Pizza & Mexican TAKE-N-BAKE franchise and expanded product lines near its current location at 1580 Wesel Boulevard.

The market chain, owned by parent company Giant Food Stores LLC of Carlisle, Pa., sought the move because there was not room to sufficiently expand its existing 49,200-square-foot facility at the shopping center.

Martin's spokesman Denny Hopkins said the bigger store will meet a growing demand in the Hagerstown community.

"Hagerstown's been a very, very good market for us. We've been there for many years, and, actually, Hagerstown was the location of our first Martin's Food Market," Hopkins said.

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Martin's operates two other stores in Hagerstown. It will close its current Wesel Boulevard site once it opens the new store, on a site where Wal-Mart once stood.

Demolition work began on the Wal-Mart building in July 2004.

Hopkins said that while the Wesel Boulevard Martin's suffered a bit after Wal-Mart closed its store there in June 2000 and opened a Wal-Mart Supercenter at the Centre at Hagerstown, its customers have remained loyal since that initial dip.

"Obviously, Wal-Mart does draw traffic to a shopping center ... and when they first left our location we certainly saw traffic go down a little bit," he said.

Hopkins said that in addition to the current store's workers, he expects to need an additional 50 to 75 employees for the new store. While not officially hiring yet, Hopkins said interested candidates may apply for jobs at the new site at any of the Martin's in-store Job Express kiosks.

Martin's general contractor, eciConstruction, applied earlier this month for the first of three phases of building inspections, officials said. That inspection will focus on the physical construction of the new building, clearing the way for Martin's to install shelving and seek a second and third inspection in order to stock its shelves and open the market to the public.

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