D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) speaks in front of the newly opened Lidl in Southeast. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) speaks in front of the newly opened Lidl in Southeast. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

The grand opening of the Lidl grocery store at the Skyland Town Center in Ward 7 on Sept. 27 had District leaders and residents excited about the possibilities it may represent for the future.

“I am so happy that this store has opened,” said Rufus Norris, a 40-year resident of Ward 7. “I will shop here frequently. This store opening up means that I won’t have to go to Maryland to shop for groceries.”

The Lidl at Skyland Town Center becomes the first store in the company’s international chain located in the District and the first full-service supermarket located east of the Anacostia River in more than a decade. Lidl will have 45 new jobs at the Skyland Town Center store and company officials said all employees, part-time or full-time, will have access to healthcare and earn above the city’s minimum wage. 

D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) said he welcomed Lidl as the city’s newest grocer.

“I want to thank Lidl for being a part of the District of Columbia,” Gray said. “I have learned that 90% of the employees who will work in this store are residents of either Ward 7 or Ward 8. This has been a long time in coming. I want to thank the present mayor for keeping this project on track.”

Bowser said she and Gray, when he served as mayor from 2011-2015, and three others mayors before them grappled with the Skyland Town Center project and expressed happiness that it finally came through in a major way during her tenure.

“For years, the community in Ward 7 has made it clear what they want to see at Skyland Town Center – retail, housing and dining,” the mayor said. “I promised we would deliver and we are keeping that promise.”

Lidl joins other establishments at Skyland Town Center including the city’s first Starbucks with a drive-thru, 263 new homes at a section of the project known as The Crest and the opening of a community-inspired Chase Bank branch model that featured comedian-entrepreneur Kevin Hart earlier this year. 

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio said District government tools such as the Food Access Fund, NourishDC and tax increment financing continue to help attract companies like Lidl to the Skyland Town Center.

“We will not stop this work until we eradicate food deserts in Wards 7 and 8,” Falcicchio said.

Malashia Mitchell, manager for the new Lidl outlet, said the store will be open from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. In addition, Lidl will partner with local food banks to provide nourishment to struggling residents and neighborhood groups that have expressed an interest in the benefits the store can provide to the community. 

Carrie Thornhill, chairman of the Washington East Foundation, said the opening of the Lidl will be a stimulus for more economic activity in the neighborhood and in Ward 7.

“I cannot emphasize what a milestone this is,” Thornhill said. “I cannot wait to sample the food and do my shopping.”

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James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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