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ShopRite of Birney Plaza welcomes customers

People in Lackawanna County have a new place to shop for groceries and other essentials. The new ShopRite finally opened on Thursday.

MOOSIC, Pa. — It's been two years since customers have been able to walk inside one storefront in the Birney Plaza in Moosic.

People who work at the brand-new ShopRite were more than happy to welcome them back.

"It's such a sigh of relief. It's been over a year and a half process. We've run into a lot of hiccups, just with construction and getting everything up and running, but this is the celebration part," said ShopRite spokesperson and in-house dietician Katie Gallagher.

And customers are celebrating too.

"It's a beautiful store, it really is. And I'm happy, happy, happy, happy!" said Edith Stoveken of Scranton.

"It feels so relieving. I left for school, and then I came back, and it wasn't open, and I'm thinking, 'When is this going to be open?' And when we heard today, we were like, 'Let's go, let's get everything, let's go to the car and let's drive down there,'" said Peyton Cook of Scranton.

The grocery store replaces the old Kmart, which closed in 2018.

Construction on the new ShopRite began in July of 2019, long before any of us knew about the problems a pandemic would present to opening a new business.

"The pandemic has really set us back; anything from getting supplies in to just being able to do construction work has really set us back," said Gallagher.

One of the things that sets this store apart is a designated area where a dietician will offer cooking demonstrations and kids' classes for free to all shoppers.

"We're originally from New Jersey. We moved here three years ago, and we were very disappointed we couldn't find a ShopRite other than Daleville, but this place is absolutely beautiful, and I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled that you guys opened up a ShopRite here," said Stoveken.

In a time when so many businesses are closing their doors, customers here say it's refreshing to see one open instead.

"I know a lot of people have lost their businesses, and I know this has been a tough year, so this almost like a nice thing to come out of 2020," said Cook.

Work is continuing on the adjoining storefront, which will be home to an ACE Hardware store. It will replace the one closing in Old Forge.