Publix to open Oct. 17; Big Lots opens in York County

rarriaza@vagazette.com

The long-awaited Publix grocery store in the Monticello Marketplace shopping center in James City County is set to open next month.

The store will hold a grand opening ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 a.m, according to a news release from Kim Reynolds, media and community relations manager for Publix. The new grocery store is located at the 69,000-square-foot site of the former Martin’s Foods grocery store at 4660 Monticello Ave., which closed in July 2017.

The store is expected to employ 140 people, according to a past Virginia Gazette report.

The grocery store chain has more than 1,200 stores across the U.S., and the Monticello Marketplace grocery store will be the first Publix on the Peninsula when it opens.The Williamsburg store will join 15 other Publix locations that are either open or are planned to open across Virginia, according to the store locator on the company’s website.

For more information about the new store, visit hello.publix.com/locations.

Big Lots will bring its “store of the future” concept to Greater Williamsburg with a new 52,000-square-foot store in York County’s Victory Village shopping center. The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremonies are set for 8:45 a.m. Oct. 5.

The store is open in the shopping center on Mooretown Road and will be near other big-box stores including Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot. The shopping center was previously known as the Williamsburg Marketcenter before it was purchased by Miami, Fla.-based real estate company Lionheart Capital in 2016. It was rebranded as the Victory Village shopping center earlier this year.

The store held a soft opening Saturday, according to store manager Michelle Blair, but is planning a grand opening ceremony for the first week in October, where attendees can participate in giveaways and meet with vendors and local community partners. York County officials will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, she said.

Blair said the new Big Lots on Mooretown Road will be the first store in the area to follow the company’s “store of the future” initiative, which places a greater emphasis on the retail chain’s furniture offerings. At more than 50,000-square-feet, the store is substantially larger than other Big Lots stores, she said, and it fills that space with a larger assortment of Big Lots branded home, bed and bath brands.

“It’s kind of the way that Big Lots is heading,” Blair said. “The plan is that the company is going to convert all the stores to this (format), everything in the store is furniture-focused and it’s an overall neater presentation.”

Blair said she previously managed the retail chain’s Hampton location, and that the new Williamsburg store has hired 73 employees in anticipation of the grand opening, with the majority of them working part-time.

As part of the grand opening celebration, Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater WIlliamsburg have joined the new Big Lots store as its charitable partners, according to Michael Jones, manager of first impressions at the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Between Oct. 5 and Nov. 17, the Mooretown Road Big Lots store will donate $5 to the organization for every customer who participates in the store’s Big Rewards program, which allows shoppers to redeem a $5 credit for every three qualifying purchases made at the store.

“We will be there at the opening to welcome everybody and to explain a little bit about what Habitat does,” Jones said. “Hopefully it will raise a lot of money for our organization because we have homes and programs in Williamsburg, but we’re always looking to do more.”

The retail space was previously occupied by Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods before the grocer closed its doors in 2009, according to Jim Noel, York County’s economic development director. Noel said he struggled to market the large retail space to grocers and big-box stores after the economic downturn following the great recession.

“I’ve always fully believed that, because of the hospital and the other retail in that area, the property was well-grounded, it was just a series of unfortunate events in the greater economy that caused it to (go downhill),” Noel said. “I think the center will be fine long-term, it just went through a rough patch and the timing was horrible with the recession.”

The new Big Lots store at 6610 Mooretown Road is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit local.biglots.com/va/williamsburg/5368, or call 757-603-4906.

Gloucester-based Proximo Marketing Strategies will partner with Nelson’s Heating & Cooling Inc. in Toano for a networking event called “Cool Off With The Nelson’s” on Oct. 6.

The event was originally scheduled to take place earlier this month, but was postponed due to Hurricane Florence. Chris and Dan Nelson, the owners of the local heating and cooling service company, will be at the event along with other service-based businesses in the area to meet and network with attendees, according to Courtney Riley, Proximo’s owner and president.

Other locally based businesses at the event will include: FSI-Foundation Systems Inc., Pyramid Roofing and The Drying Co./ThermalTec. Food and drinks will be provided by the Gloucester-based Good Life Kitchen and The Virginia Beer Company.

Riley estimated about 85 people to attend the networking event.

“Cool Off With The Nelson’s” will be at the HVAC company’s headquarters at 8105 Richmond Road in Toano from noon to 4 p.m. The event is invitation-only, but area businesses and residents interested in attending can contact Proximo Social Media Strategist MaKenna R. Wood at makenna@proximomarketing.com or Erica Bradley, the marketing company’s vice president, at erica@proximomarketing.com.

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigarriaza0.

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