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Modesto's Village I flocks to new shopping center

Judging by the the full parking lot, for Village One Plaza to come alive, it took a Raley’s.

The new shopping center was humming this morning with shoppers both on foot and by suburban chariot of choice, as the long-awaited grocery store opened to positive reviews.

“I came three times this week to see if it was open or not,” said Bernadet Khoshaba, 50, of Modesto, as she perused Raley’s produce department. “It’s beautiful.”

For residents of the surrounding Village I development, the store and the center were a relief. For years, residents had to drive to Century Center on Oakdale Road, or north to Riverbank, for regular household shopping.

Though Village One Plaza has only Raley’s, a Starbucks and a Sprint/Nextel store for now, more is on the way. By late fall, a Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Panda Express, Loard’s Ice Cream and several other stores and service businesses are set to open.

As he sipped a coffee at the Starbucks, nearby resident Hermiz Adam said it won’t be long before the shopping center is continuously busy during daytime.

“The big businesses like Starbucks and Panda Express and Raley’s, they have their own customers,” he said. “The local businesses that come in, that might be harder.”

But the early visitors today were getting the deals. Over the hubbub in Raley’s extensive deli area, a voice could be heard calling out raffle numbers.

And plenty of Raley’s shoppers were pleased to discover that if they bought $50 worth of groceries, they could get a 25-cent discount for a gallon of gas next door at the store’s affiliated gas station, Aisle 1.

“We just needed milk, but we were holding off,” said Amy Taylor of Modesto. “But we needed to get $50 for the gas discount.”

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