Eau Claire (WQOW) - Christmas came early for the people on the west side of Eau Claire. They're no longer without a grocery store.
The Festival Foods on Clairemont Avenue officially opened its doors Friday.
Store manager Michael Siakpere has been with the Festival Foods family for 13 years. He said it's been a nearly decade-long process to open a store on the west side of town.
He said he's excited to finally be up and running, but maybe not as excited as the customers.
"It's been really nice," Siakpere said. "There's been a lot of hugging with the associates and the guests they maybe served before, but overwhelmingly a positive response."
Siakpere said he's happy they were able to get the doors open before Christmas, as are many other people in that area.
With Festival Foods now open, customers are going back to the West Ridge Center, and nearby shops are expecting to see a boost in business.
Jody Patrie, the manager at the Sport Clips across the parking lot, said the store definitely took a hit when Gordy's left.
"We actually only take walk-ins, so a lot of our clientele is based off of the foot traffic and people driving by," Patrie said. "Like I said, thankfully we have a lot of loyal clients already, but there are quite a few that when they go to the grocery store they see us over here and they go, 'I didn't know there was one over here.' So, it definitely helps us to have that coming through."
As of noon Friday, the Sport Clips team hadn't seen any new clients, but they're expecting to be busy this weekend now that crowds of people will be back in the area.