JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Wednesday marked the end of a wait for a lot of downtown-area residents in Johnson City — and the lifting of a weight from entrepreneur Piere Herrmann’s shoulders as he finally opened the doors of Piere’s Marketplace.

“Feels great,” Herrmann said as an employee helped customers behind him about an hour after downtown Johnson City’s first full-service grocery in years opened.

“Just even the first hour having the community kind of line up and having the first few customers, it’s exciting to be able to provide that need for this downtown community that we haven’t had for quite some time now.”

Fresh produce has been a rare site in downtown Johnson City other than on farmers market days, but is back with the opening of Piere’s Marketplace. (Photo: WJHL)

The 2,400-square-foot market’s opening was the culmination of more than a year’s planning by Herrmann and his wife Jules. In addition to locally grown or produced goods, the store includes national brands, dry goods and everything else shoppers need to exclusively shop there if they want to.

“People were excited,” Herrmann said. “I had one lady saying ‘oh, now I can grab what I need on my way home where I only live down the street.’ They don’t have to make that long trip.”

Victoria Hensley is one first-day customer attracted by that prospect. She spoke to News Channel 11 about half a block from the store at 205 E. Main St., and she was not far at all from home.

“Sometimes we need a gallon of milk, and instead of hopping into our car, struggling to find a parking spot, we can just go down to Piere’s,” Hensley said.

Overall, she gave the store a positive review.

“Super established, really clean, nice to walk into, happy faces and a lot of good products, so I’m super eager to keep shopping,” she said.

Herrmann was hearing similar feedback early in the day.

“I’m curious to see how we go through the rest of the day, rest of the week and we gain input from our customers as well.”

Herrmann plans to “curate” his product offerings and said he’s going to spend the next month or so learning what products are selling.

“We’re hand-selecting these items and as we gain kind of that understanding of what our customer’s looking for, what’s selling, we’ll be able to maintain stock levels at a consistent basis that our customers are looking for.”

The store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sundays.