Virginia Cobler enjoys the daily rush.
Cobler, the barista at Perryville's newly opened Royal Farms store, said the job came in the nick of time. Cobler also works as an artist. But she needed additional income. Working 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday, tending the coffee at the store has been a perfect fit.
The new Royal Farms, near the I-95 interchange, attracted a large crowd on opening day on Thursday, April 26. Company officials explained how this store is unique. After a successful pilot of self serve registers at two stores, Perryville is one of only four new locations with self service check out. Ralph DeSantis, an operations leader for Royal Farms, said that fewer cashiers mean that there are more people to staff the deli which is larger than those in other stores.
Kahyla Jenkins of Port Deposit landed a job at the new store. She formerly worked as a caregiver and now she works at the Royal Farms deli. "I like it. I'm constantly moving," said Jenkins.
Della Thomas was teaching customers how to use the self service checkouts. Thomas, of North East, used to work at McDonald's. "I do enjoy this. People are a little skittish with the self checkouts. But once they get past the newness, they'll get used to it," said Thomas.
Diane Jimenez is a field trainer for Royal Farms. She works all over. She described the work force and hiring in Cecil County. "It was a slow start for hiring but after the store got rolling, people got excited about it," said Jimenez.
Tony Gerst, who used to own Boxcar Avenue in Perryville, was one of the customers on Thursday. Gerst said he likes the seating. The store has seating indoors and outside - about 30 seats. "I think this is the largest one (Royal Farms) that I have seen. I've seen a lot of people I know," said Gerst.
The new store employs about 50 people. Among those are a half dozen management positions. The store was also built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. This rating is achieved based on building design, construction, energy performance, water efficiency, and other factors.
Royal Farms also made donations to the Community Fire Company of Perryville, Perryville Police Department Outreach Program, and the New Victory Christian Church to mark the opening.