Lidl opens its doors in Riverhead with music, giveaways and a grand opening celebration.

Most of the time, ribbon cuttings and grand openings aren’t very exciting.

Lidl, the fast-growing German grocer in the US since 2017, opened its doors this morning on Route 58 in Riverhead with much fanfare, including fun DJ music, giveaways and a very long line. Shoppers sway to the music in a line that looks like a conga line with shopping carts. Some of them arrived an hour early, hoping to be among the first hundred shoppers and receive a surprise gift card worth $5 to $100.

First in line was Hewlett resident Justin Ferrara, who was hoping to win a $100 gift card from his home in Nassau County. This wasn’t Ferrara’s first Lidl rodeo.

“I won at Farmingdale, so I wanted to come here. I didn’t have work today so I thought why not,” Ferrara said. He also returned home with flowers.

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Justin Ferrara of Hewlett was first in line at Lidl’s grand opening today, where he was presented with a $100 gift card and a bouquet of flowers. Photo: Denis Civileti

But Ferrara wasn’t the only repeat customer for Lidl’s grand opening. Riverhead resident Diane Falkenberg has attended every Lidl grand opening on Long Island so far. Leader Yvette Aguiar called him to the microphone and asked him to say a few words. Falkenberg had to speak.

“I love Lidl,” said Falkenberg, who was ready to go inside and shop and handed the microphone back to Aguiar.

Diane Falkenberg of Riverhead said she’s been to every Lidl grand opening on Long Island. “I love Lidl,” he said. Photo: Denis Civileti

The supermarket has a bakery that bakes fresh bread three times a day and a large produce section offering local produce. It offers fresh meat and seafood, fresh flowers and everything a modern supermarket sells. There is a large non-food section offering a rotating selection of kitchenware, clothing, shoes, pet accessories and household goods.

A large part of its stock are private brands that come with Lidl’s ‘Love it’ guarantee, which entitles shoppers to a refund or exchange if they don’t like the product they buy.

“Liddle is focused on delivering high-quality, fresh products, including produce, flowers, bakery, meat and seafood, at incredibly low prices,” said Chandler Ebeyer.

“While a traditional supermarket might have more than 50,000 products on its shelves, our experts have narrowed our selection down to 3,500 products that have been painstakingly vetted and selected with customers in mind,” said Ebeyer.

Store manager Ed Kuethe said he was happy with the turnout today. “It’s really cool. I really didn’t expect that,” he said. The place is busy, everyone is happy. “I’m very excited to be back in Riverhead,” said Kuete. He is a former manager of Waldbaum’s in Riverhead.

The new supermarket was welcomed by the entire town board and Assemblyman Jody Giglio this morning. Officials gave a tour of the store before it opened.

The executive said he was looking forward to buying from Lidl.

“I have no doubt that the people of Riverhead will join me in supporting another great grocery store in Riverhead,” he said. Aguiar presented the store with a certificate of appreciation.

Giglio called the new store a “wonderful place.”

“We’ve seen the prices and the variety you have to offer,” Giglio said. “I’m sure it will be very successful.”

A former city councilor has praised Lidl for transforming an “empty, dilapidated building”.

Councilwoman Kathryn Kent agreed. “That’s exactly what we want on Route 58,” he said. “It’s a great way to reuse a building. It’s beautiful.”

Councilor Tim Hubbard, who described himself as a “foodie at heart”, said Lidl was “smart to put the new bakery inside the front door”.

“Thank you so much for your investment in the City of Riverhead,” said Hubbard.

Councilor Frank Beyrodt, who is a member of Island Harvest’s board of directors, thanked Lidl for working closely with local food pantries.

Councilor Ken Rothwell noted that the company offers “great jobs — part-time jobs with benefits.” We appreciate it,” he said.

Riverhead Lidl is open seven days a week from 8am to 10pm.

Its grand opening continues throughout the weekend, with shoppers invited to enter a raffle for a $500 Lidl gift card.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denis Civileti

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