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This spring, Harmons is expected to open its first urban neighborhood grocery store in Salt Lake City and a larger supermarket in Farmington.

And next year, with the opening of its City Creek market, shoppers in downtown Salt Lake City will have a grocery store for the first time in more than a quarter-century.

All three stores will feature Harmons' signature fresh-food departments offering artisan breads, gourmet cheese, custom meats and delicatessen foods, as well as local and organic produce.

"We're doing our part to boost Utah's economy by hiring up to 500 new associates over the next 16 months," said Bob Harmon, the chain's co-owner and vice president. "The Harmons brand stands for fresh food and knowledgeable and enthusiastic associates, so we're gearing up to hire and train associates to prepare fresh foods and share their expertise about our food in our stores."

Typically each store will begin hiring one to two months prior to opening, he said.

In Salt Lake City, remodeling will begin on Harmons' Emigration Market at 1706 E. 1300 South as soon as city building permits are issued.

The 10,000-square-foot space will be a smaller neighborhood store offering the same made-from-scratch items from the chain's larger markets. The project has gone out for construction bid, and a spring 2011 store opening is planned.

In Farmington, construction on Harmon's Station Park store is nearly half completed. Builders have constructed the walls, deck and roof, and are now working on the interior finish.

The 69,381-square-foot store is at the intersection of Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 89, Legacy Parkway and the Frontrunner commuter rail.

Harmons was the first tenant to begin construction at the site. Since then, developer CenterCal reports the addition of Sports Authority, Ross, ULTA Beauty and Home Goods stores.

Harmons is anticipating a May 2011 opening of its Station Park store.

In downtown Salt Lake City, footings are in place for the City Creek market, located at 135 E. 100 South.

There were weather-related delays on the concrete pour, say company officials. But construction is now progressing on the core and shell, and finish workers should get started in September.

Building the urban store has been an entirely different process, with the construction starting from the inside out, said Harmon. More man hours are required, which include crane operators working within a limited staging area.

The downtown Harmons will measure approximately 70,000 square feet and is scheduled to open in spring 2012.

The Utah-based chain reported investing more than $63 million in its 2,400 employees through wages, salaries, benefits and training. Harmons employs 150 to 200 workers in each of its 13 stores, including chefs, butchers, bakers and experts who prepare made-from-scratch foods.

Harmons is known for its support of locally grown or manufactured Utah's Own products, and an aggressive sustainability program, winning the 2009 Green Business Award from Utah Business Magazine. The chain was a recipient of the 2009 Titan Award for its support of local charities, including local PTAs, Special Olympics Utah, the National MS Society and the Utah Food Bank.

Harmons' three new stores:

Downtown Salt Lake City • 135 E. 100 South, to open in spring 2012.

Salt Lake Emigration Market • 1706 E. 1300 South, to open this spring.

Farmington • intersection of I-15, U.S. Highway 89, Legacy Parkway and FrontRunner commuter rail, to open in May.