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Bottom Dollar marks Homestead opening with community donation

| Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 10:18 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
There were 350 customers in line when the new Bottom Dollar Food store in Homestead celebrated its grand opening Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. The first 200 customers received a free bag of groceries.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Patrons crowd the Homestead Bottom Dollar on its opening day, Aug. 15, 2013. Mayor Betty Esper said it was a convenient location for those who didn’t want to cross the railroad tracks into the Waterfront for groceries.
CIindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Rainbow Kitchen director Donna Little received a $1,600 donation for her charitable organization from Bottom Dollar Food regional director Nick Siniscalchi at the grand opening of the chain's newHomesteadstore on Thursday.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Former Steeler L.C. Greenwood, seated, jokes with Joe Chmiel of Pittsburgh at the grand opening of a new Bottom Dollar Food supermarket in Homestead on Thursday.

Hundreds of shoppers turned out for the grand opening of a new Bottom Dollar Food supermarket in Homestead on Thursday.

Community leaders and a few former Steelers attended the opening ceremonies shortly before 8 a.m.

Homestead Mayor Betty Esper said she thinks the new store — at 127 E. Seventh Ave. — will be popular with seniors and others within walking distance.

“This is convenient,” said Esper, who noted that shopping in the Waterfront often means securing a ride or taking a bus for residents without cars of their own because of the shopping complex's location across the railroad tracks from Homestead's central business district.

The mayor said her only concern about the new site is it could aggravate already heavy traffic in the vicinity of the Homestead Grays Bridge and Eighth Avenue.

Parking was at a premium around the new supermarket as many shoppers from the borough and surrounding communities came out to have a look.

“I already like it,” said William Wills of West Homestead, who said he had shopped at a Bottom Dollar in Baldwin. Wills had a large package of pork chops in his cart with a price tag of $2.55 that he considered a bargain. “You can't beat that price.”

Minnie C. Salmon of West Mifflin was among the first customers.

“I'm very impressed with the prices,” she said. “I think they're going to have a lot of good business here in Homestead because there are people on fixed incomes.”

Many residents said having a discount grocer in the neighborhood will be a big benefit.

Rainbow Kitchen executive director Donna Little said her organization serving the hungry would benefit directly from the store, which donated $1,600 to the charity. She said seniors and others struggling would benefit by having a discount market in their neighborhood.

“They're bringing an affordable food source to our community,” Little said. “It really makes a difference in people's quality of life.”

The store is partnering with the Charlie Batch Foundation, which serves financially challenged youth and their families. The former Steelers quarterback and Homestead native for whom the charity is named attended the grand opening, as did former Steeler L.C. Greenwood.

Nick Siniscalichi, director of operations for Bottom Dollar in the Pittsburgh/Youngstown, Ohio, area, said the chain surveyed the region before deciding to build its new store in Homestead.

“We noticed a lot of residents in Homestead did not have a grocery store,” he said.

Siniscalichi said feedback from customers at Bottom Dollar stores in McKeesport and Penn Hills indicated the area could support another outlet.

“We think we have a great site here,” he said.

This is the 19th store the North Carolina-based Bottom Dollar has opened in the region. In early 2012, the chain established a store at the intersection of Eden Park Boulevard and Walnut Street in McKeesport.

Approximately 350 customers were in line when the Homestead store opened. The store gave free bags of groceries to the first 200 customers.

Bottom Dollar officials said the new outlet is expected to employ about 50 workers.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or