The next-generation grocery store is coming to Potomac Yard.
On July 31, Harris Teeter is planting its second flag in the city, bringing its renowned tradition of customer-intensive service, high-tech features and premier-quality meats, seafood and produce to 3600 South Glebe Road, on the Arlington/Alexandria border.
The new 55,000 square-foot market, with its “Green Thumb Experts,” certified “Seafood Captains” and computerized talking check-outs, is the third national chain grocer to open in Alexandria in a year, as the competition for the hearts and food budgets of the up-market grocery consumer intensifies.
“Our shoppers have been very receptive to our other stores in the area, so this seemed like a good fit,” said Jennifer Panetta, the spokesperson for the Charlotte-based grocer. “We’re proud to be here.”
With 700 brands of beer, 400 types of cheese and 350 varieties of seafood now assembled in George Washington’s hometown, one might wonder how Martha and her servants coped with entertaining 677 guests in one year (1798) without such a vastly-stocked food emporium up the street.
Then it’s no surprise that with a preponderance of single-person households in Greater Alexandria, the “grab-and-go” selection of prepared foods is particularly expansive. For instance, shoppers can choose from five different pastas made-to-order and cooked on the spot, with a choice of six different toppings, including an Italian sausage described as “buttery and nutty, with hints of caramel.” Product sampling is encouraged.
In the seafood section, there’s wild-caught strawberry grouper, sashimi-grade tuna steaks, farm-raised tilapia filets and greenshell mussels from New Zealand, as well as “basic fish” sourced globally from Panama, Ecuador and New Zealand.
Harris Teeter stocks nearly 22,000 varities of food in the store, 2000 different wines, as well as 500 organic food varietals. The grocer even milks its own cows from a dairy it owns in High Point, N.C. Off the beaten path, the store has specialty sections for scrapbookers and cooks enamored with European cooking gadgets.
The neighborhood grocer was started in 1936 when W.T. Harris borrowed $1,500 to open his first store in rural North Carolina, then continued its rapid expansion across the Washington area, opening its ninth and one of its largest stores here at the Shops at Foxchase last year.
The Potomac Yard location will be open 24 hours a day, and, like other stores, will be connected with the community, donating to the Capital Area Food Bank and other local charities.