THOUSANDS of eager shoppers flocked to the Tesco Extra store at the Ramparts which opened in August keen to get a look around the most advanced and state-of-the-art supermarket the retailer has in Ireland.
From early morning, the 1,000 car parking spaces at the centre, which is on the site of what was known locally as the Old Shopping Centre, were full, with extra staff being drafted in to guide drivers to any available parking spots.
Despite the near-Biblical rain, Dundalk people were more than happy to brave the elements to ensure they could say they had been to the opening of one of the most anticipated retail outlets the town has ever scene.
The opening of the store came exactly 40 years after Tesco first came to Dundalk, in only their second development in Ireland at that time.
The Tesco Extra store had been many years in the planning and development and it was, according to Michael Sullivan who is the company's PR representative, 'a perfect launch'.
The store also includes a Costa Coffee, a boutique style F&F clothing section,a Tesco brnaded pharmacy and Chapz Barbers.
Other innovations included the placing of the bakery, deli and impressive butcher's counter in the middle of the store.
Mr Sullivan revealed some of the many futuristic details contained in the supermarket, which is Tesco's most advanced in Ireland.
' This is really a 21st century store and the majority of the initiatives you can see, but there are some that are not as visible. For instances, if you look at the chilled area, you will see white tubes going up to the ceiling. The cold air falls to the ground, but the pipes are catching it and bringing the colder air around to other areas of the store that need to be cooled like the computer room or offices'.
There is even a 'nano-coating' on the glass that provides the light from skylights and the glass sides of the shop that allows light in and keeps heat out.
In addition, the artificial lighting in the store can automatically dim when it is sunny outside. All these measures are designed, collectively, to reduce the carbon print of the shop and to save on energy costs.
'Dundalk has the first purpose built community centre in any of our stores in Ireland. We have converted spaces in other stores, but this is the first purpose-built one and we are offering it to community-based groups in Dundalk to use for free for meetings or fitness classes or whatever they like.
The ground floor of the development features Traynor's Butchers, Hickey's Pharmacy, Fix It commuter repair store, Leaf restaurant and Dublin Street Post Office.
Car parking is also on ground level with access to the store via lifts or escalator.