CRANBERRY TWP — The opening of the new Field & Stream store in the Cranberry Square shopping center off Route 19 Friday caused major backups on the highway, and police said it was even worse Saturday.
Traffic in both directions on Route 19 was backed up for about a mile around noon Friday as thousands of people flocked to the new store, which is at the former site of Dick’s Sporting Goods.
One man who stood in line declined to give his name, but said he’d already waited more than an hour and still likely had another hour to go.
A police officer talking to customers said officials had expected the traffic to be tied up, but not to the volume seen Friday.
Jeff Schueler, the public safety director for the township, said it wasn’t just the opening of the new store that caused traffic backups.
He said construction on Interstate 79 caused some residual backup onto Route 19, which only compounded the problem with Field & Stream.
“It’s definitely a combination of the two,” he said. “But we have three officers over there on an overtime detail, and we’re adding a fourth to direct traffic.”
Ruth Bell, a worker at the neighboring retailer Five Below, said Friday afternoon that the store opening had no affect on customers coming into her store.
“Not at all,” she said. “Everyone is just pickled that this place is opening up. We’re excited.”
Margaret Winslow, manager at Costco, said that the traffic was much worse earlier in the day. As the day went on, traffic flowed more smoothly.
“The first couple hours, it was (heavy),” Winslow said.
Costco offered Field & Stream a limited number of parking spaces for employees to use.
A person reached at Field & Stream Saturday morning said that the store was too busy for anyone to to comment.
After a ribbon cutting Friday morning, the store held special events through Sunday that included fishing and archery sessions and appearances by a number of noted outdoorsmen.
One couple took advantage of the hoopla during the store’s opening to get married there.
Mehgan Cook and Charlie Miller had a camouflage theme as they tied the knot at the new store Saturday morning.
The bride sported a camouflage sash on her dress, and the groom was completely clad in camouflage garb.
The two hadn’t planned on marrying at the store, but Cook said they were eager to meet “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson so her mother came up with the idea.
Robertson, who was at the store as part of its grand opening, did appear during the ceremony.