Within an hour of its 5 p.m. opening Wednesday, customers of the new Worcester Sam's Club store had filled the parking lot and spilled into another. Store Manager Dave Bennett said more than 500 customers were waiting when the doors opened at 1 Tobias Boland Way.
Kicking off the store's beginning was the presentation of a $20,000 check by Sam's Club to the Worcester County Food Bank and a concert by country singer Jo Dee Messina.
The warehouse club's relocation gives it 35,000 more square feet than the Barber Avenue club it operated for nearly 20 years, along with new amenities such as a pharmacy, optical center, café, one-hour photo, and a tire and battery center.
The company said efforts to make the new building environmentally friendly include skylights that reduce the amount of energy needed to light the club by 75 percent daily and LED lighting throughout the store that operates at 70-percent greater efficiency than fluorescent lighting. It also offers an increased amount of locally-produced goods.
The 139,000-square-foot store employs 170 workers. The relocation added 40 positions.
An official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held this morning.