A Lidl food market opens Wednesday morning in the Southeast D.C. neighborhoods of Hillcrest and Penn Branch.
The opening of the store caps a long struggle to bring grocery stores to neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.
Mayor Muriel Bowser led Lidl executives, community activists and grateful neighbors in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at the store in the new Skyland Town Center– a development in Ward 7’s Hillcrest neighborhood.
The development also includes 263 new one- and two-bedroom apartments, along with a new Starbucks, a bank branch and other small shops that are settling in.
“We are delighted to welcome Lidl to Ward 7… We want every family to be able to have a quality grocery store near their home … It’s been 15 years since we opened a full service grocer in Ward 7,” Bowser said.
Carrie Thornhill, of D.C., fought for three decades to improve her Hillcrest neighborhood.
“Ready access to fresh, quality food has long been a challenge for residents living east of the Anacostia River,” Thornhill said. To the cheers of her neighbors, Thornhill told Lidl executives, “We’re proud that you selected our neighborhood to locate your first store in the District.”
Five different mayors had a hand in bringing Skyland Town Center to life; that’s how long it took to get the development from dream to reality.
“I’m really glad that we’ve got a new path for us to be able to move forward …. We got 75,000 residents who live in Ward 7, and I’m just glad that we’re here today to be able to make this opening happen,” Ward 7 Council member and former mayor Vincent Gray said.
Speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony also expressed particular pride that of the 60 new jobs created by the Lidl store, an estimated 95% are held by residents of wards 7 and 8.