Lidl Opens to Music, Giveaways and a Long Line of Eager Customers

Lidl opened its Huntington Station store Wednesday, welcoming more than 200 customers who had lined up in the early morning cold to be among the first shoppers at the grocery store.

As doors opened at 7:40 a.m., Monique Moreno of Huntington headed the long line, having arrived at 1 p.m. Tuesday, saying she wanted to “represent” the community.

Lidl employers cheered and clapped before the ribbon cutting led by Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and store manager Francisco Cerna, and then formed lines to welcome customers into the store once the doors opened.  Cerna said, before the opening, “I was born and raised on Long Island and I’m confident as soon as people try Lidl, they’ll be back for more.”

In addition to Lupinacci, former County Executive Pat Halpin, Paule Pachter of Long Island Cares and Santa Claus greeted the crowds.

The 20,000-square foot store features a bright look, wide aisles and a different configuration of checkout counters from the two grocery stores–Best Market and Waldbaum’s–that preceded it in the space. Lidl bought the Best Market chain in January, and is renovating each of its Long Island properties. Two of the remodeled stores opened last week.

The discount store includes a “surprise” aisle, with the content changing each Wednesday. This week, the aisle featured Christmas decorations, warm clothes, ice scrapers, boots, and many other cold weather-related items.

Lidl offers many organic products while marketing meats, seafood, beer, wine,  produce, bakery, and a deli. Many of the products are American, but others are imported from European countries or are private label brands. It also offers a tighter array of products. Spokesman Will Harwood said that Lidl stores have about 3,500 on their product list, unlike some supermarkets that offer up to 50,000. 

The parking lot ceremony just before the opening included a band, hot coffee, gift cards distributed to the first 200 customers, a raffle and other giveaways.

Also in the parking lot but at a distance were several union members, who shouted and blew whistles before and during the opening ceremony,  accompanied by the giant blow-up plastic rat that union members often bring to protests. 

Anthony Speziale, from Laborers union local 66 in Melville, said protesters objected to the store’s renovations being done by non-union workers. Speziale called the work sub-standard. 

A row of Suffolk County police formed in the lot, facing the protesters across the traffic lane. 

Lidl operates more than 11,000 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing around 287,000 employees. Founded in Germany, the company’s US headquarters is in Arlington, Va.

The new store is located at 711 E Jericho Turnpike, Huntington Station.

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