CUYAHOGA FALLS — The wait for Menards to open will soon be over, according to the city’s leader.

Menards is the big-box home improvement chain that has built a huge store at 75 Graham Road, the former site of a Giant Eagle grocery store, plus an additional 10 acres Menard Inc. purchased for the construction project. The whole project has a 257,000-square-foot footprint of heated and unheated structures.

Mayor Don Walters said he’s been invited to a "small, private ceremony" at the store on July 23. "They have not confirmed, but I believe their plan is to open the next day," Walters said.

No official announcement has been made, however, according to a company spokesperson. "We will be sending a press release to that market when we announce the official opening date," said Jeff Abbot, promotions manager for Menard Inc.

"The new Cuyahoga Falls Menards is being built in our largest format with all the latest, greatest home improvement products," Abbot said when construction began last year, adding the new store will include a full-service lumberyard with a covered warehouse, garden center, grocery and pet department, appliances and a line of convenience groceries.

Construction plans included a 172,740-square-foot heated retail building with 27,600 square feet of unheated overhang space and a 46,780-square-foot unheated warehouse.

Talk of a Menards coming to Cuyahoga Falls began in 2012 when Cleveland’s Bob Stark announced the hardware giant would be one of two anchors in his Portage Crossing retail development located at State Road and Portage Trail. The other anchor was Giant Eagle, which was relocating from Graham Road.

Giant Eagle Market District opened at Portage Crossing in December 2014. Menards, however, could not secure enough land to remain a part of Stark’s plans.

In December 2016, the city granted Menard an extension on construction and its community reinvestment area tax exemption agreement with the city after the company announced in April 2016 it was delaying new construction projects. This was the second delay announced by Menard in as many years.

Mayor Walters said in 2016 Menard had originally planned to build in 2015 and be open by spring 2016, but the chain began a company-wide remodeling project of all its stores and the city was told Menards didn’t want to start a new store until it knew how the chain wanted to lay it out.

In August 2015, city officials were told that the Graham Road site was on Menard’s 2016 construction schedule with a planned opening in 2017.

A family-owned company started in 1958, Menard Inc. is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wis., and has more than 300 home improvement stores located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to the company’s website.

The nearest Menards stores are in Warren and Massillon, and the chain has plans to build in Portage County.

According to Forbes.com, Menard is the nation's third-largest home improvement chain behind Home Depot and Lowe's.

Reporter Steve Wiandt, can be reached at 330-541-9420, swiandt@recordpub.com or @SteveWiandt_RPC.