The Preston Royal Central Market. Photography by Renee Umsted.

On Oct. 20, 2019, it was business as usual inside the Preston Royal Central Market. Most people were watching the Cowboys game, so the store was pretty empty. But then alarms started blaring on phones. The lights went out. The glass doors were shaking, and then they shattered. Everyone was able to avoid being injured by the roof caving in. They hurried to take shelter in the cooler.

Fallout from the tornado can still be seen in certain places in our neighborhood. But no longer can it be seen at the Central Market. After nearly two years of being closed, it’s opening at last.

Stephen Butt, the company’s CEO, announced earlier this year the Preston Royal location would be open for Fourth of July shoppers. His words are coming true. And neighbors couldn’t be happier.

“I’m thrilled about the Central Market Preston Royal location, my Central Market, reopening and re-anchoring this shopping center that’s in the heart of Preston Oaks,” says neighbor and former City Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates. “I remember the damage the tornado caused in our neighborhood when I toured the area the day after the storm.”

Of the 130 employees who worked at the store when the tornado hit, 85 have returned. Most of the rest of the partners who are now staffing Preston Royal came from other Central Market stores.

The Advocate was able to get a sneak peek before neighbors are welcomed back tomorrow, June 30, at 8 a.m. But even before the media arrived, 11 neighbors who were shopping when the tornado struck reunited to see the new store.

Preston Royal’s store has some exclusive offerings. It’s the only Central Market selling the Royal plumcot, and it’s one of the first to feature the Picasso melon. The Lovers Lane location grows herbs in house, but Preston Royal is growing four varieties of mushrooms. Neighbors can see them in a case as they walk through the store. And about 20 kinds of fresh juices will be pressed every day, an update to the location.

There’s also a limited-edition item for sale. It’s a Veuve Clicquot. It comes in a yellow package with a sticker added by hand. And only 180 are available.

The layout of the store is different. On the second floor, which was once filled with offices, customers can now enjoy a seating area. Or if they’re in a hurry, they can take advantage of the curbside service.

Neighbors may also notice that the bulk section is in line with the rest of the grocery items. And the coffee bar now features beans roasted at the Westgate location.

Here’s an overview of some features of the renovated space:

  • Curbside service
  • Self-checkout registers
  • Expanded produce, seafood and floral departments
  • Increased grocery, cheese and wine selections
  • Larger sandwich bar
  • New coffee bar experience
  • Added seating on the second floor

The store opens June 30 at 8 a.m. Neighbors were invited for a special tour and ribbon-cutting ceremony June 29.

Central Market is located at 10720 Preston Rd.