Around 9 a.m. Friday, developer Patrick Burns will cut a ribbon near the corner of Chelten and Pulaski avenues to ceremonially open the $14 million Chelten Plaza.
Anchor tenant Save-A-Lot will have been up-and-running for two hours (doors open at 7 a.m.), and source of neighborhood friction — Dollar Tree — won’t open for a few months (provided it survives a zoning-permit revocation, which is likely since City Council unanimously passed a zoning-code amendment last week). However, Burns said last week that he was excited to move forward after a long haul and had lofty goals for the site.
The day before the festivities, the site was hectic with activity. Workers secured the Save-A-Lot sign to the Pulaski Avenue wall. Trucks advertising Entenmann’s, Doritos, Herrs and Carvel lined up to deliver products in a parking lot which was paved and painted, with shrubs and trees planted on its fringes.
The shelves were stocked there, and at Anna’s Linens which — also opening tomorrow — had a “Now Hiring!” sign in its front window.
Around the corner, it was a different story at the Wayne Avenue Save-A-Lot. The store is nestled into a weathered strip mall, and one customer, a woman dressed as Santa Claus (sans beard), noted aloud that, “This store always stinks.”
However, a giddy announcement over the P.A. regularly reminded customers that the store would be moving tomorrow. Store manager Idris Hodge said the mood reflected the announcement’s tone.
“Everyone’s excited. We’re pumped,” he said, pointing out that while this store features six aisles and checkout registers, the new location features eight of each. “Bigger meat and produce areas.”
Hodge noted that most of his work hours lately have involved interviewing potential employees, hiring made necessary since the store will now be open 24 hours a day. He estimated 10-15 local residents were hired.
“We’re ready,” he said. “It’s going to be amazing over there.”