After years of development, the new Walmart on the western end of Route 58 in Riverhead celebrated its grand opening Wednesday morning.
The new store, which features a Subway restaurant and an expanded line of groceries, is more than 30,000 square feet larger than the former Walmart located further east, also on Route 58. The former Walmart is now officially closed.
“We’re happy that Walmart is investing in the town of Riverhead, and it’s a beautiful brand new building,” said Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter. “Riverhead is a shopping district, pulling from Montauk to Orient Point to Brookhaven. Thousands of people will visit this Walmart and have the opportunity to see what Riverhead is all about.”
As part of its launch, Walmart presented $11,500 in grants to local non-profits, including Southold Troop 6, Parents’ Association of Riley Avenue and Suffolk County Sheriff’s office among others.
Though originally planned to be a Walmart Supercenter, a Walmart spokeswoman confirmed last week the new location is a regular discount store. Supercenters typically include full-service grocery stores with delis, bakeries and sometimes hair salons.
Plans for the relocated Walmart stem from 2007, the year Riverhead Town approved initial building plans. That approval was challenged in court in two separate lawsuits, both of which were dismissed in May 2009.
Walmart will continue its grand opening celebrations in Riverhead this Saturday with its “Big Family Welcome” from noon to 3 p.m. During the event, customers will have the chance to meet store manager Craig Winkler and participate in activities like face panting, cupcake decorating and free food samples.