Even though the official opening date for the new Publix store in Waynesville isn’t until Feb. 13, the parking lot has been filled in recent days as contractors complete the finishing touches and employees train and get ready for the grand opening.

As of last week, the developer was completing minor striping and landscaping as well as completing exterior finishes, said Kimberly Reynolds, a Publix spokesperson. Shelves will continue to be stocked leading up to the grand opening, “but the fresh departments won’t be fully stocked until just before we open our doors grand opening morning,” she added.

The hiring process is completed and about 130 employees are on staff, the majority of whom were candidates from the local community.

“We are always accepting applications, so anyone who may be interested in applying may do so at the store a few weeks after the opening,” Reynolds added.

One of those employees will be a familiar face to Clyde residents or those with ties to Meadowbrook Elementary School.

Clyde Alderwoman Diane Fore, who is a retired elementary school teacher, was one of the many applicants vying for a job at Publix.

Fore, who is semi-retired, said during the interview she was asked why she wanted to work at Publix.

“I told them my first job was at Publix and I wanted it to be my last job,” she said.

The answer did the trick, as she was hired on the spot.

Fore will be working as what she called an “apron lady” in the prepared meals section at the new store.

During the Wednesday, Feb. 13 grand opening, Publix will be providing customers free reusable bags at check-out while supplies last as well as providing lots of samples to customers grand opening day. The doors will open at 7 a.m.

Reynolds said the company has truly enjoyed working with the town of Waynesville and expressed thanks to everyone involved.

“We look forward to a wonderful relationship moving forward,” she said. “Waynesville is a wonderful community and one of the areas that we continued to receive requests from residents to open a Publix. We look forward to serving our loyal customers who have shopped with us elsewhere as well as introduce Publix’s premier quality, service and value to new customers.”

This store marks the fifth Publix location for Western North Carolina. The company currently operates stores in Hendersonville, Asheville, Weaverville and Boone.

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