Grocery competition in South Hall is about to get stiffer.
The county’s third Kroger store is set to open Thursday in a new shopping center under development at the entrance to Royal Lakes Country Club off Winder Highway.
The new Kroger sits at 4035 Winder Highway at Sloan Mill and Martin roads — and just one block from an Ingles Market that opened several months ago and a couple miles away from a Publix store on Winder and Atlanta highways.
"Hall County continues to be a rapidly growing county ... and Kroger is always looking to meeting rising consumer demands," said Glynn Jenkins, spokesman for the chain’s Atlanta division. "The (new) store will bring a new level of convenience and service to (area) residents."
Jenkins wouldn’t comment on the store’s development costs, but said, "There has been extensive research and surveys to determine a need for (this store) ... and there’s been a great amount of time invested in the project."
The store expects to serve 15,000 to 17,000 customers each week.
A grand opening ceremony is set for 9 a.m. Thursday.
Kroger and Hall County government officials are set to attend.
Freddie Falcon, the Atlanta Falcons’ mascot, also is set to appear and the Flowery Branch High School band is scheduled to perform.
The event also will feature such activities as balloon artistry and face painting.
The store plans to offer a drive-through pharmacy, gas station, floral shop, bank, deli bakery, natural foods, meat and seafood departments.
Starbucks Coffee also will operate a store inside the business.
Kroger is the largest business in the shopping center, which is divided into four buildings with nearly 40 stores total. Also slated to open soon is RL Salon, Royal Nails & Spa, Great Clips salon and Gabrielle’s Hair and Tanning Salon.
Claudio Azurmendi, a Royal Lakes resident for four months, said he was happy to have the new shopping center in the neighborhood.
"It’s convenient and close," said Azurmendi, whose family moved to Royal Lakes from Lawrenceville.
Kroger has two additional stores in Hall County, one off Thompson Bridge Road in North Hall, and the other off Spout Springs Road in Braselton.
The shopping center is located in the midst of a commercial boom.
In addition to Ingles, land on the other side of Winder Highway, between Perry and Martin roads, is being developed for businesses.
A small shopping center is built at Perry and Winder Highway, which is being widened to four lanes from two.
Oakwood City Council just approved an annexation of land where a Discovery Point child-care center is planned.