Several hundred shoppers got up bright and early and a line stretched across the front of a new grocery store in Franklin on Thursday morning.

As they walked inside, eager to check out the new Kroger Marketplace store, shoppers got a high-five from store manager, T.J. Arnold, and other employees.

At the front of the line was Ruby Corvett, who arrived several hours before the 7:30 a.m. opening to get the first spot.

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As a frequent shopper at the previous Franklin Kroger, Corvett couldn’t wait to see what the new store was like inside and have a chance to meet the new people working there.

At 124,000 square feet, the $19.1 million Kroger Marketplace, located at 970 U.S. 31, is more than twice the size of the store it is replacing. The store offers more parking, more space and more options, including a salad bar, pizza and other ready-to-eat food, along with clothing and household items.

One highlight of the store for shoppers on Day 1 was the deli, which is what Corvett was looking forward to. She had her eyes on the sushi bar, she said.

She wasn’t the only shopper excited for the traditional Japanese fare.

Another shopper had driven by the Kroger Marketplace once a week to see how it was progressing.

“I’ve been excited for three months,” Mark Cowan said.

Like Corvett, he was there for the sushi.

“It’s the best sushi you can buy,” Cowan said.

Cowan has six people to shop for and now can get everything he needs at Kroger, he said.

Rochelle Denney was making her way through the store from one end to the other with her two daughters. The opening was a community experience, she said.

“We feel like we are part of the town,” Rochelle said.

Arnold said it was good to meet the customers coming in for the opening.

The looks of astonishment on the faces of regular Franklin Kroger customers was what Arnold enjoyed. The store manager said the opening went smoothly with a good turnout.

The store is the fourth of eight new Kroger Marketplace stores planned to be built in central Indiana through 2018.

Another Kroger — one that isn’t a Marketplace — is set to open in Johnson County in November at the intersection of State Road 135 and Smokey Row Road.

Kroger is working to sublease its former Franklin Store but could potentially negotiate a lease termination with the landlord, Kroger spokesperson Eric Halvorson said.

By the numbers

Here are some facts about the new Kroger Marketplace in Franklin.

Size: 124,000 square feet

Cost: $19.1 million

Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Location: 970 U.S. 31, Franklin

Employees: About 350

Donations: As part of its grand opening, Kroger donated $21,000 to the United Service Organization and $500 each to the Humane Society of Johnson County and the Franklin Fire Department.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.