The wait is almost over, for a day that many north Jefferson residents thought might never arrive.
Publix has announced that its long-awaited Gardendale supermarket will open its doors on Saturday, Dec. 13.
The store has been in the works for more than four years, but the previous owner of what was then called Northgate Shopping Center couldn't bring the project to fruition. Delays in the store's construction became the subject of long-running jokes.
But no more. The sale of the Fieldstown Road shopping center to Preferred Growth Properties, the development arm of Books-A-Million, and the subsequent redevelopment into Magnolia City Place finally put Publix on a faster track.
Over the past couple of weeks, employees from other Publix stores in metro Birmingham have been shifted over to the new Gardendale location to train newly-hired workers. Some will stay in place for the first few weeks, then return to their original stores.
The grand opening begins at 7 a.m. According to a press statement, the first 1,000 customers that day will receive reusable cloth Publix shopping bags, plus flowers while supplies last. Prizes and samples will be given away throughout the day.
The new store is 45,800 square feet in size, and features fresh seafood, deli, bakery and produce departments, plus a pharmacy.