Many jobs already filled at the new Exeter HannafordBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
January 22. 2014 9:22PM
EXETER — Hannaford has begun renovating the former Stop & Shop building at 141 Portsmouth Ave. and has filled many of the 150 job openings planned for its new Exeter store.
The supermarket chain plans to open the 65,000-square-foot store in the space left vacant when Stop & Shop closed.
Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom said renovations began a couple of weeks ago.
“The work is progressing well. We’re essentially transforming it into a Hannaford. Certainly, there’s a lot that goes into making it a store that is a Hannaford in terms of the store experience for customers,” he said, adding that the construction work is “substantial” but less than if it were building from scratch.
The garage that once housed Herb and Rob’s Auto Clinic was demolished this week. That building was located next to the grocery store’s parking lot and was torn down by Stop & Shop as part of its agreement with Hannaford when it took over the property.
Blom said he’s not sure how Hannaford will use the empty space once the garage debris is cleared from the property. Additional parking space is one option, he said.
As for the store’s employment opportunities, Blom said Hannaford had an “extremely strong response” when it held a job fair the week of Jan. 7.
The store is hiring 150 part-time and full-time workers. Blom said applications are still being accepted, but most positions have been filled.
“We’re seeing a lot of positive reaction to the idea of a store coming to town, and people are excited,” he said.
The store has no date planned for a grand opening, but Blom said it will be sometime in early spring.
The Exeter location will give Hannaford 34 stores in New Hampshire — more than any other grocery store chain in the state.
It will have a total of 184 supermarkets in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
The new Hannaford will be the only supermarket in Exeter.
It’s expected to compete with Market Basket and Shaw’s, both of which are located nearby, on Portsmouth Avenue in Stratham.