PARIS – The opening of the new Save-A-Lot food store on Main Street is 13 days away, and the natives are hungrily waiting.

“You wouldn’t believe, I’ve had at least 50 people tell me they would be lined up outside the door on opening day,” owner John Hammontree said Thursday, as he and his staff were stocking shelves in the dollar aisles.

Hammontree said people are excited to see an in-town grocery store and an alternative to the larger Hannaford and Wal-Mart grocery stores on Route 26.

As a subsidiary of Super Valu Stores Inc., the second-largest food wholesaler and distributor in the United States, Save-A-Lot’s buying power allows it to offer high quality groceries at low prices, Hammontree said.

“We’re a big player. The buying power is unsurpassed,” he said. The store focuses on top-selling fresh meats, produce, dairy, frozen food and grocery items and staples, using a combination of national brand name items and first-quality items packaged under various Save-A-Lot custom-brand labels.

The store will have two fully-stocked aisles of all-for-a-dollar items, including housewares, clothing, cleaning supplies, automotive items, cosmetics and other non-grocery items.

Hammontree predicts he will even draw people from Lewiston. There is a Save-A-Lot store there, he said, but it is older, being the first independently-licensed store of seven that now operate in the state. Hammontree is not associated with the Lewiston operation.

Hammontree’s Paris store will officially open its doors at 8 a.m. Aug. 4, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Hammontree and town officials. The 14,000-square-foot former Bob’s Discount space in the former Cornwall Shopping Plaza has been made over into a bright, clean grocery store, with new floors, ceiling, shelving and plenty of overhead lighting.

Hundreds of job-seekers answered the call during a recent three-day hiring process. Around 20 were hired, including store manager Michelle McDonald of Woodstock, who previously worked as an assistant manager of banking at Oxford Bank/Peoples Heritage Bank. Hammontree said he hired all local people to work at the new store.

The store won’t offer as much variety of products as a super grocery store because of its smaller size.

“We’re not going to carry kumquats,” he said. “But we like to say we can serve 90 percent of your needs, all at lower prices.”


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