WEST FARGO - It took 58 years, but Hornbacher’s has finally opened a store in West Fargo.
The newest store in the Hornbacher’s chain -- the eighth in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area -- opened Monday, April 29, and more than 100 people were waiting for the doors to open at 8 a.m.
Customers were pleased with the 62,000 square-foot Gateway West store.
“I’m so excited,” said Betty Nyhus, who lives just a couple blocks from the store at 2050 Sheyenne St. “I’ve always wanted to be close to a Hornbacher’s. Now, I couldn’t be closer.”
Friends JoAnn Davis and Gay Ristad were beaming as they headed out of the store.
“It was exciting, spacious,” Ristad said.
“Years ago, I remember thinking it would be nice if there was a grocery store there,” Davis said. “It’s really fun. I just love the seating area.
Company President Matt Leiseth said timing was everything, given West Fargo’s robust growth in the last 15 years.
“The real issue was finding a spot that would fit a grocery store,” Leiseth said. “West Fargo has been growing so fast, it’s been (mostly) homes. Everybody is moving here, and the commercial property has been slim pickings.”
The rebuilding of Sheyenne Street and the Interstate 94 bridges presented an opportunity to make use of the empty northwest quadrant of that intersection, a spot that used to be a strawberry farm patch.
“We realized that this was the time that we could actually utilize this property we are on,” Leiseth said. “We just jumped on the train.”
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The store features a large ground-floor Caribou Coffee shop with a spacious mezzanine seating area above, providing customers a place to relax, eat lunch, meet with friends or find a quiet place to work on the easy chairs, couches, booths or tables.
“With all of the grab-and-go foods that we have, you can come in and grab a salad bar (plate), grab a coffee, go up and sit and have lunch or just go work on some paperwork. … It’s really a great experience to have,” Leiseth said. “It’s just another place for people to meet and gather.”
Among the newest amenities are a juice bar and a popcorn shop, along with an expanded delicatessen with more hot items available.
The West Fargo store also has a Hornbacher’s Wine and Spirits and a Gate City Bank office.
Leiseth said the juice bar should be a favorite, with cold-pressed juices and juice-infused drinks.
“The product is absolutely fantastic,” Leiseth said. “It’s bursting with flavor.”
The popcorn shop offers a range of gourmet popcorn, roasted and sweetened nuts, and caramel apples.
“Big caramel apples, dipped with a bunch of toppings outside. Really, a decadent treat,” Leiseth said.
The expanded deli and salad bar will also be a good alternative to stopping at a restaurant, he said.
“You could come to the store every day and never eat something the same,” Leiseth said.
Throughout the store, employees greeted customers and helped direct them to where items were stocked.
A Holiday Station Store is included in the development and has been open since Jan. 15.
Holiday District Manager Dave Byer said he was glad Hornbacher’s is now open.
“Brings a lot of people to the area,” Byer said.
“Business has been good,” Byer said, but once construction on Sheyenne Street and nearby westbound Interstate 94 bridge is completed next fall, “we’ll be going really good.”
West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis was beaming as local business people and Chamber of Commerce members started filling space cleared for a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting.
“I think it’s marvelous,” Dardis said. “Any time you open another retail business in our community, it’s a wonderful thing.”
A grocery store, a bank, a liquor store, a gas station, plus more room for other businesses on the site promise convenience and an economic boost for the city, Dardis said.
“This is a great day for West Fargo and a marvelous addition to our community. We’re all proud to be a part of it,” Dardis said.
Gate City Bank also held a ribbon-cutting for its Gateway West location within the grocery store Monday. It will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Gate City will also open a new location in the downtown Moorhead Hornbacher's on Wednesday, May 1.
The bank will celebrate the new sites with giveaways throughout the month. Customers and community members can stop by the new locations to enter to win one of six $500 Hornbacher’s gift cards, now through May 22.
According to a Gate City news release, the Gateway West office gives the $2.2 billion mutual community bank 38 locations in 19 communities in North Dakota and west-central Minnesota.
Hornbacher’s started in 1951 in Moorhead in a 10,000-square-foot store, tiny by today’s standards, Leiseth said.
“We are so thankful to be part of the West Fargo community after 58 years,” Leiseth said.