The opening of Lawrence's newest supermarket drew a small but enthusiastic crowd early this morning.
At an hour when most people are still snug in their beds and dawn has yet to crack, about 30 of Lawrence's most curious residents gathered at the front door of the city's newest supermarket.
The desire to sleep was superseded by a desire to be among the first to view the new Hy-Vee store at Clinton Parkway and Kasold Drive.
Peter Perme of Lawrence arrived at 5:30 a.m. so he could be first in line.
"I got up early to do it," Perme said, leaning on a shopping cart. "I wanted to be the first customer. My wife grew up with Hy-Vees in Iowa, and we shopped in the Hy-Vee in Overland Park. They've always treated us well."
Next in line were North Lawrence residents Leland and Alvera Grammer, who stepped out of their car at 5:45 a.m. to stand near the front door.
Although the Grammers typically don't shop for groceries at 6 a.m., "We get out early every once in a while," Leland Grammer said. "We like the early morning."
"We like to avoid the big crowds," Alvera Grammer said. "This way we can get in and out quicker."
Although the couple brought along a shopping list, the first priority was to sample Hy-Vee's 99-cent breakfast, she said.
Off-duty police officer Dave Hummell, another early arrival, said he doesn't usually shop for groceries at 6 a.m.
"No, it's usually three o'clock in the morning," he said. "That's the best time to shop, when there's no one else in the store."
Hummell said he came armed with a list and coupons.
"Everything -- I'm going to do all the grocery shopping," he said.
Mike Bavinski came just to take a look around, however.
Bavinski, who lives up the road from the store on Quail Creek Drive, said he was curious to see the inside of the Hy-Vee after having watched its construction for so many months.
"I'm here to be a spectator," he said. "I live close by, so I thought I'd stop by."
Julie Shrack, 11, and her 13-year-old brother Justin were among the younger curiosity-seekers who waited in line for the store to open.
It meant getting up more than an hour earlier than her usual 7 a.m. wakeup call, Julie said.
"We're just coming to look," she said.