Lidl grocery store holds grand opening in Dover

Jennifer Matthews, left, and Kim Sticker arrived at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning for the grand opening of Dover’s new Lidl grocery store. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

DOVER — The first anxious shopper arrived around 4:30 a.m. and started the waiting line.

She entered the new Lidl supermarket three hours later, receiving a $100 gift card and flower bouquet for being No. 1.

Many more planned to walk through the automatic doors in the next 14 hours Wednesday, navigating crowded aisles while analyzing prices and filling their carts.

The first 100 visitors received gift cards ranging from $5 to $100, greeted by smiling and helpful store associates while festive music added to the atmosphere.

Lidl brand ambassadors greet arriving guests Wednesday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

More than 3,500 products were available, from fresh produce and baked breads, meats, milk and juices, chocolate bars, jeans, light bulbs and power strips, national and private store brands.

The discount grocery store at 150 N. Dupont Highway near Kings Highway is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Smyrna resident Sharon Pryor sifted through a bin full of paintbrushes intently, while another shopper marveled at the large-size drill bits able to bore through concrete.

“I didn’t know there would be this much available,” Ms. Pryor said.

Ms. Pryor won’t pledge loyalty to any one grocery store — she’ll hunt for cost saving deals wherever they are — but Lidl’s now on her shopping list.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the new Lidl grocery store in Dover, the second in the state, on Wednesday morning. From left, Sheila Furman (Lidl, Store Associate), Fred A. Neil (City of Dover Council Member), William F. Hare (City of Dover, Council President), Robin R. Christiansen (City of Dover, Mayor), Shawn M Garvin (DNREC, Secretary), Myles Sword (Lidl, Real Estate Manager), Patrick Garfield (Lidl, Store Manager), Ryan Garcia (Lidl, Store Manager) and Marisol Ryes (Lidl, Store Associate).   

“The most important things to me are a good selection and low prices and I like what I see so far,” she said. “It’s in a good area that I often travel through. So it’s an easy stop for me.”

A beaming Susan Ellis (holding her phone and working the Lidl app) made out even before entering the store. The north Dover resident has traveled regularly to Lidl’s Middletown store to the north, and figures she saved 30 minutes or so travel time staying more local.

“I love it — the prices are good, the people the workers are helpful, it’s just a friendly place,” she said.

Dover resident Cletis Betts said he and wife Judy visited “just to see what’s in the store. Living on a fixed income means we go for the bargains and cheaper prices …

“Wherever we can find them,” his wife said, finishing his sentence.

Peter Keough is greeted by Lidl store ambassadors as he enters the store Wednesday.

Sandra Johnson described the inside of the store as “beautiful” and said she and spouse Joseph were on a scouting trip to evaluate prices, selection and quality.

“We haven’t seen the whole store yet but the pricing seems good so far,” Joseph Johnson said.

The 50 full and part-time store associates trained for a month prior to the opening and store manager Ryan Garcia said “they’ve done a great job handling the rush and the hype so far. They’re executing the plan extremely well and I kind of feel like (Super Bowl-winning coach) Andy Reid right now thanks to their excellence during this huge turnout event.”

The Dover location is the company’s 92nd since arriving in the United States in June 2017.

Zipporah Littleton explores shopping opportunities at the new Lidl grocery store in Dover.

More than 85 stores are located throughout nine East Coast states. Headquartered in Germany, Lidl has more than 11,000 stores in 32 countries.