ST. GEORGE – Cheers and applause filled the air as the ribbon was cut at the new Lin’s Fresh Market on East Mall Drive. The second Lin’s store in St. George, it will cater to the surrounding community of Washington Fields and the continuing growth occurring at the southeastern end of Mall Drive.
“We couldn’t be more proud and more happy to be in this part of St. George and just members of the St. George community and doing business here,” said Darin Pierce, Associated Retail Operations South District Manager. “We as a company are extremely happy to be expanding the Lin’s brand in St. George.”
The new Lin’s Fresh Market, located at 2928 East Mall Drive in St. George, is 53,000-square-feet in size and sits on a 4.7-acre parcel of land that hugs East Mall Drive and South 3000 East.
While the outside of the new building is impressive, Associated Food Stores officials are just as proud to show shoppers what awaits them inside.
“We think we have an exciting offering here with this Lin’s store,” Pierce said.
Within the store is a large produce area with a variety of local and organically grown products, a butcher block that offers organic, grass-fed and “free-from” meat and poultry. There is also a made-from-scratch bakery and expanded dairy section. Shoppers can also buy bottles of fresh juice made in-store daily. Multiple craft and draft beers can be found in the store’s walk-in beer cave.
There is also “The Oven,” a kiosk set near the store’s entrance that features a 17-foot-tall brick oven where fresh pizzas and sandwiches are made. Also offered are a variety of soups and a salad bar.
Lin’s has an emphasis on fresh products and produces everything possible from scratch.
“We try to make everything fresh in-store,” said Rachel Wabel, marketing communications specialist for Associated Food Stores.
Lin’s also carries products from local producers in Utah such as Gossner Foods out of Logan and Lower Foods in Richmond.
Shoppers will easily locate natural, organic and non-GMO products on the shelves thanks to Lin’s “Active Lifestyle” icons – stickers and labels that clearly mark the nature and source of a product.
Also inside the store is a Dairy Queen with a drive-thru window and a Starbucks Coffee. Near to those is an atrium area where people can sit back and have a meal or relax and peruse the Internet on their electronic devices courtesy of the free wifi. USB ports are also available in the atrium so individuals can charge their devices.
“Sit down on one of our big, comfy couches or at one of the dining tables and enjoy some of the great food we have to offer here,” Pierce said.
Adding to the overall sense of convenience, one-stop banking is available thanks to the presence of a branch of First America Credit Union.
A new online shopping service called “Lin’s to Go” is also being offered out of the new store.
The service allows shoppers to go online with their grocery lists and pick out the items they want, pay online and then set a time for pick up. When online shoppers arrive at the store, Lin’s employees load up their cars with their prepaid orders and send them on their way.
“(It’s) a new addition to our company and we are really leading the charge on online shopping in Utah in the grocery business,” Pierce said.
More about the Lin’s to Go program can be found on the Lin’s website here.
On hand for the ribbon cutting was St. George Mayor Jon Pike who said the city is excited to have the new Lin’s store, adding it’s been a long time coming.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic for both Washington City as well as St. George City because we’ve got thousands of people that live on this side of the (Virgin River),” Pike said. “It’s going to save gas, it’s going to save on pollution, and it’s going to bring all these goods and services that much closer.”
Associated Food Stores started looking at expanding into the eastern part of St. George over 10 years ago, Store Director Bryan Simonson said, but the plan was put on hold due to the recession.
“We’re really excited to be here now,” he said.
A resident of Southern Utah for 26 years, Simonson said he remembers when Washington Fields had only a few scattered homes and dirt roads. Now homes can be seen for miles.
“Today I call these fields home and will be serving my friends and neighbors as I oversee this modern and beautiful store,” he said.
The new Lin’s employs over 170 people and is the third store in Washington County. It is the seventh Lin’s operated by Associated Foods with stores located on Sunset Boulevard in St. George, Hurricane, Cedar City, Price, Richfield, and Overton, Nevada.
The store sits on a 17-acre plot of land slated for additional business growth. City of St. George officials have come to consider Lin’s as an “anchor” for the area that will help promote and serve the continuing growth in that part of the community.
The first Lin’s market was opened in Cedar City in 1955 and operated by Lin and Reva Orton. The story was passed on to sons J. Sterling and Raymond Orton who continued the family business until 1999 when it was purchased by Associated Food Stores.
During his second visit to the new store, Associated Food Stores CEO and President Neal Berube found it hard to describe his impression of it in a single word.
“I could come up with ‘wow’ and ‘awesome’ and ‘incredible,’ and I just want to tell the team how proud I am of them,” Berube said, pausing as his voice failed him. “It’s incredible.”
Lin’s officially opens Saturday. A grand opening is set for March 26 at 1 p.m. that will feature an Easter egg hunt and a visit from the Easter Bunny.
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