01-05 Market Basket rendering

The Market Basket supermarket to be built in Plymouth this year will be larger, and have a few more amenities, than the one that opened in Tilton in 2004. (Courtesy image)

PLYMOUTH — By the close of the year, shoppers in the greater Plymouth area will have another option for groceries. Market Basket is beginning sitework this winter for a store on Tenney Mountain Highway and, according to a spokesperson for the Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based company, construction will begin this spring.

“Sometime in 2019, we’ll open our brand new Market Basket in Plymouth,” said David McLean, operations manager for Market Basket.

The Plymouth store will be 69,000 square feet, 6,000 square-feet larger than the Tilton Market Basket, which opened in 2004. The Plymouth store will be located next to a state liquor store and a hotel, and in between two other Tenney Mountain Highway grocery stores, Hannaford and Wal-Mart.

McLean said the new store will attract shoppers from the northern I-93 corridor, many of whom are already Market Basket shoppers.

“We have many customers that we know travel down to Tilton,” he said. “Not only customers in the immediate Plymouth area, but areas beyond,” he said. Some shoppers come to Tilton from as far as Littleton, he added.

Those shoppers will find a few new amenities when they stop in Plymouth instead of Tilton. McLean said the newer Market Basket stores, such as one recently built in Rochester, have a “Market’s Kitchen and Cafe,” where shoppers can purchase freshly prepared food like sushi, cheeseburgers, salads, hot and cold sandwiches and pizzas. They can either take it with them or eat it in a 55-60 seat dining area, complete with a big-screen television and wi-fi.

The new stores also have a full-service meat case, where butchers offer ready-to-cook meat dishes or will cut or grind meats to order. McLean said the new stores are also built with generators powerful enough to keep the store fully functional in the event of a power outage.

Though Market Basket, which traces its history back to 1917, is sometimes seen as an old-fashioned store among New England’s supermarkets, McLean said the company’s stores have remained successful because of their response to changing tastes.

The stores now offer expanded organic options, healthier products and gluten-free options, and a wider variety of products once labeled “ethnic.”

“A lot has changed in the marketplace,” McLean said. “The palate of the consumer is so diverse, as is our country. What might have (once) been considered ethnic is, in many houses, mainstream. It’s a product that many consumers look for.”

The Plymouth store, once it’s constructed, will be open seven days a week and will employ between 250 and 300 people.

The economic impact of the store will exceed those jobs, said Paul Freitas, Plymouth town administrator, who said the town is welcoming the store.

“They will bring in more economic development. Stores follow stores, businesses follow businesses. There’s plenty of room out on the Tenney Mountain corridor for more development, and the town needs the revenue that the taxes will bring in from that additional development,” Freitas said.

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