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Tootsee the Clown, officials, employees celebrate opening of new GIANT grocery store in Maxatawny

By Lisa Mitchell, The Kutztown Area Patriot

Monday, March 4, 2013

Tootsee the Clown greeted new GIANT employees and their families, as well as local officials, to GIANT’s grand opening preview party in Maxatawny.
McKenzie Dry, 9, of Kutztown, asked for a balloon and had her face painted while her sisters waited their turn, Makayla, 8, and Kirsten Dry, 6, of Kutztown. Their mom, Crystal Wengert, is a cashier.
“I’m looking forward to growing within the company,” said Wengert.
Also attending the celebration, Maxatawny Township Planning Commission member Nancy Unger had the opportunity to tour the new grocery store in Maxatawny Township on Kutztown Road the night prior to its opening to the public Feb. 27.
Unger said the planning commission reviewed the plans for the store, “so we had a preview ourselves before it even started construction.”
Construction started in June 2012.
“I was quite delighted to the see the horse and buggy tie up, a five stall section for our Mennonite friends ... and bicycle racks for the University students and the Mennonites as well, so I was glad that they made that concession to do that for our neighbors,” said Unger.
During a donation presentation to local organizations earlier that day, Maxatawny Township GIANT store manager Steve Bowlby was excited about the opening of the 50,000 square foot grocery store that hired about 150 associates, mostly local residents or University students. Some of them transferred from other GIANT stores to the Maxatawny location to be closer to home.
“Our goal is to be a good neighbor, be an asset to the community, something that the community wanted, and be a good partner with the community is what we’re looking for,” he said.
The store is located at Maxatawny Market Place, a new shopping center in development, on the corner of Kutztown and Sharadin roads in Maxatawny.
Store features include a WiFi Café, natural and organic and gluten-free products available in the Nature’s Promise Marketplace, and Shopping Solutions kiosks with interactive touch-screens.
PursuingLeadership in Energy andEnvironmental Design, the new store was constructed with building technologies toreduce energy consumption and the environmental impact of operations. Skylights reduce electricity consumption.LED lighting is used in many areas. Warm concrete floors replaced traditional tile, reducing the amount ofcleaning solutions normally used.
Other grand opening events included music provided by Kutztown University’sJazz Ensemble, the antics of KU mascot Avalanche, a visit by Tony the Tiger, Tootsee the Clown and Friends making animal balloon sculptures for children, and testing patrons NASCAR driving skills in the NASCAR Picture Car and Tire Change Simulator, to name a few.