Lidl Food Market opens in Clifton Heights

Delaware County welcomed its second Lidl Food Market Wednesday morning when officials cut the ribbon on a new store at the former Kmart property next to the Big Lots at 713 East Baltimore Pike in Clifton Heights.

Clifton Heights Mayor Mark J. Campbell said the market is a big part of the revitalization occurring in the borough.

“We’re in the middle of a $30 million renovation from the town, and this was a big part,” Campbell said. “Every little piece adds to the improvements.”

Campbell said in addition to the new Lidl, the borough is seeing development of five acres of property across Baltimore Pike, which will include restaurants and stores and the old mills in town are being transformed into high end apartments.

Lidl invested $5 million into the new store, which brings 35 jobs to the borough with salaries starting at $17-hour for all full and part-time positions, regardless of hours worked per week.

Lidl opened in Germany in 1973 and now operates over 11,500 stores in 32 countries, employing more than 341,000 people. They opened their US headquarters in Arlington County Virginia in 2015 and now have stores across nine states, with 13 in Pennsylvania. The other Delaware County store is on MacDade Blvd. in Folsom.

Company officials said they expect to continue expanding in the region.

As part of the opening festivities the company is donating $1 to Philabundance for every customer that downloads their App for the Clifton location.

The company also offered the first 100 customers in line before the 7:40 am ribbon cutting gift cards ranging from $5 to $100 each.

“I love the store,” said Joyce Peascheck of Lansdowne, who was one of the first in line. “I come here once a month and get 100 gallons of spring water. I wear by this water and stick with it. My friend told me about Lidl and I love it, and it’s good that it’s here now. I won’t have to travel, it’s five minutes away.”

Tom Schwartz of Philadelphia got in line at 4:20 am and for his efforts received a $100 gift card.

“They have terrific pricing and great service,” Schwartz said. “There are certain products that every store has; here I do pretty well with the produce.”

Lidl is known for its bakery and that is the first thing customers encounter when they enter the store.

Will Harwood, Director of Communications, said dough for their famous pretzels come from Germany, while the dough for the croissants is sourced from France.

Next to the bakery is the produce aisle.

“We always lead with fresh, because fresh is everything, this is the bread and butter of a grocery,” Harwood said. “We are offering the best value in the market.”

Harwood said while some of the European specialties are sourced from overseas, 80 percent of products are locally sourced.

He also said the first aisle should contain 80 percent of a shopper’s needs, although that doesn’t include milk, which he said was for ease in loading.

One section of the store is consumer goods which Harwood said changes every week.

On Wednesday, it had a bicycle theme. He said another theme they use there is a kitchen theme.

“I actually love this section of the store; it’s always changing and you will be surprised coming through here what you find,” he said. “I can tell you … a lot of times mom likes to do the shopping, dad is here, and loves to come through this section.”

Harwood said the store carries 3,500 items. To speed up product placement they use self-ready packaging where the products come in boxes that have the top and side cut away.

“Our team doesn’t spend time building pyramids of produce, it’s fresher, it’s faster and that’s what we try to facilitate throughout the store,” he said.

Another concept that the store brings from its European home is a lack of single-use bagging. After the opening days, they will not provide single-use bags. Customers should bring them or they can purchase reusable bags at the store.

The store will operate daily from 8 am to 9 pm daily.

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