By Tyler Kennedy
It was announced on July 8 that Hannaford Supermarkets had made an agreement with the owners of the Durham Marketplace to purchase the local grocery store, located at 7 Mill Rd. The Durham Marketplace, commonly referred to as the “Dump,” will shut its doors for the final time on Sept. 13. At 7 a.m. on Sept. 18, the Hannaford Supermarket of Durham will officially open to the public.
Eric Blom, who serves as a spokesperson for Hannaford, stated that the company will use that four day period of closure to make the location feel more like a Hannaford in comparison to its current layout. At this point in time, there is no plan to expand beyond the store’s current space.
According to a press release issued on July 8, the Dump has been a wholesale customer of Hannaford Supermarkets for more than 20 years, meaning they have been selling Hannaford products for quite some time now. Owned and operated by Chuck Cressy and his wife Betsy since 1994, the local store currently employs around 77 full-time and part-time associates. Hannaford offered all current Dump employees positions, with many staying on as staff members as the store changes its name and management.
In the press release, it was noted that the Cressy family were pioneers in the “buy local” movement. Blom is confident that this won’t change with the new management of the store, also adding that Hannaford has a “very strong commitment to local products.”
In terms of ‘keeping it local,’ Blom made note of Hannaford’s “Close to Home” program. As stated on the program’s website, it is an initiative that began in 2008 to “help customers easily spot locally grown products when they shop” with the use of brown labels on certain products.
Along with seeing the same local products, according to Blom, customers will soon also see an increase in terms of variety, he emphasized that organic and gluten-free products will increase as Hannaford takes over the location.
Though one change customers should expect, Blom noted, was a decrease in price for many products. In a town full of college students, this is probably some news that will be met with enthusiasm.
At the time of the announcement, many were caught off guard at the news. According to one current Dump employee, it was totally unknown to both him and many of his co-workers that such talk was going on between the owners and Hannaford. The employee noted that the closer that they get with the transition, the less uncertainty there is about the situation.
In regards to selling the store, Cressy said the following in a press release: “It’s hard to say good bye, but I believe the time is right and that Hannaford will be successful in serving Durham as it continues to grow.”