NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The new Fresh Market Grocery store opened Wednesday in Ghent. It’s one of a handful of projects designed to make life in the mermaid city a little better.
These projects represent multi-million dollar investments that are bringing new jobs and more people to the area.
Customers swarmed the new Fresh Market in Norfolk. Mary Landon Edwards was among the crowd, happy she no longer has to travel to Virginia Beach for groceries.
“Had it not been raining, I could have walked over here this morning, you know, get out enjoy the day and check out the new market. I’m thrilled to have The Fresh Market here in Norfolk. It’s something we’ve wanted for a long time. We can stay in Norfolk and shop,” she said.
There’s an added bonus among the rows of vegetables, cheeses and meats, according to store manager Joseph Starchia.
“We’ve provided 90 brand new jobs for Norfolk. We have 90 employees that we’ve hired out of this area,” he said. “I think that speaks volumes to what we’ve done here, and Norfolk has welcomed us, and we’re happy to open our doors today and let Norfolk see what we’ve done.”
Architect Robyn Thomas owns a building directly across the street that includes her office and several other small shops with apartments on the way. She and others are hopeful for more businesses there.
“They have been waiting for this moment,” She told WAVY.com. “I think both the visibility and pedestrian impact from the neighborhood [is going to really] allow their businesses to take off.”
There are three storefronts available for lease next to The Fresh Market, plus a new medical office building going up where Bon Secours is a key tenant. Along 35th Street, the $6-million Newport Plaza project will include an eatery, apartments and a theater makeover.
Norfolk Assistant Marketing Director Sarah Parker admits the growth is exciting: “It’s not just about bricks and mortar. It’s about place making, and the citizens and the community are excited and they’re doing all sorts of activities to make it a better place to live.”
There’s also a new outlet mall coming and a hotel and conference center that’s going up downtown.