HAVERHILL — Yesterday’s grand opening of a Burlington Coat Factory store in Westgate Plaza was a dream come true for some shoppers, a boost to the city’s economy, and for several local charities, a blessing.
Immediately following a 9:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony and its resulting rush of shoppers into the new store, employees loaded vans and trucks with merchandise Burlington Coat donated to Haverhill’s Salvation Army, Ruth’s House and the Angelo Petrocelli Food Pantry at Sacred Hearts Parish.
“It’s God answering prayers,” said Salvation Army Lt. Mari Hardy. “The baby equipment they gave us will go to families who can’t afford to buy these items.”
She and her husband, Salvation Army Lt. Jeff Hardy watched as their van was loaded with items such as baby strollers, high chairs, clothing and housewares. Then a truck from the food pantry at Sacred Hearts pulled up to the front of the store, where boxes of merchandise were stacked.
Bill LaPierre, manager of the food pantry at Sacred Hearts, said the holidays are coming and his pantry and other charitable groups in the city have a need for not only food, but for items such as those provided by Burlington Coat.
“We give it all away and we’re grateful for anything we can get to help in our efforts to help those in need,” LaPierre said.
Kara Mamakos of Bradford was shopping at the new Market Basket in Westgate Plaza and decided to drop by the new Burlington Coat.
“I go to the one in Peabody and they always have a nice selection of good products,” Mamakos said.
Leota Sarette and her mother Carolee Spero did’t mind waiting as store officials prepared to cut the ribbon announcing the store was now open for business.
“I’ve been to the one in Peabody but it’s too far for me,” Sarette said. “This will be a great asset to the city and now we have another place to shop.”