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A discount grocery store is slated to open in mid-July at the former Musser’s Market in Columbia.

Work is underway on AJ’s Surplus Grocery, which will occupy a 17,500-square-foot spot at 960 Columbia Ave. The new store in the Columbia Plaza shopping center will sell discount grocery items and have a full deli. It will operate with 40 to 45 employees.

Musser’s Market, which opened a full-service grocery store at the location in 1983, closed it in mid-February, citing increased competition and changing customer habits.

Musser’s Market still has three full-service grocery stores, in Lebanon, at the Buck and in Mountville, two miles east of the former Columbia store.

When the Columbia store closed, Musser’s Market said it would look to open its own discount grocery store in the location but also would consider leasing the space to another discount store.

AJ’s Surplus Grocery is an independently owned store not affiliated with Musser’s. The new store has local owners who both have other businesses, according to a representative who declined to identify them.

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