Rio Rancho’s newest retail center, in development and planning since 2008, received a big welcome during a grand opening celebration Saturday morning.

City officials and local dignitaries joined the large crowd at Plaza @ Enchanted Hills for music, food and a a giant red-ribbon cutting that involved each new business owner in the center.

The celebration recognized the eight new retail stores and one chain restaurant opening in the plaza. The new stores are Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx, Michael’s, Kirkland’s, Famous Footwear, Rue 21, Sally Beauty Supply and Maurice’s; Domino’s being the lone new chain restaurant.

Kirkland’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx and Michael’s each held separate red-ribbon events over the past two months, while Famous Footwear held its own event Saturday morning, offering its first 100 customers a pair of free shoes.

The opening marks the second of three development installments in the plaza, according to Anthony Johnson of Pegasus Retail. Although no official date or store announcements were made, Johnson said the next section will include retail stores and restaurants and will fill out the rest of the space in the 225,000-square foot Plaza @ Enchanted Hills. The latest development accounts for 110,000 square feet.

The morning began in the plaza’s parking lot with fight songs and marching music from the Mountain View Middle School. Vendors near the main event offered food, with Domino’s handing-out free pizza samples and Twilight Homes offering free roasted green chile.

Mayor Gregg Hull preceded his opening statements to take a selfie with the audience; he later went on to take a selfie with Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, after she spoke, and a selfie with the new business owners before the event concluded.

“One of my primary focuses, and I know that this is one of the city council’s focuses, too, is to develop the economy in Rio Rancho,” Hull said. “For so long, we’ve struggled to get services into our community. We’ve been screaming for these services and asking these people to come here, (and) make these investments in our community.”

Hull said Plaza @ Enchanted Hills presents new opportunities for shoppers in Rio Rancho, as well as residents of Sandoval County.

“I want you to encourage your Albuquerque friends to come up and spend your money here because we’ve been doing it down there for so long. It’s time for a little reciprocation, I think,” he said. “We mostly want to encourage our friends in Cuba, San Ysidro, Bernalillo and Corrales to do what I call ‘shopping inside the fence.’ Shopping here, in stores here, benefits the county.”

City Councilor Cheryl Everett said she is proud the new retail center is in her district.

“As we enter our 35th year as a city, we are becoming more and more a place not only to live but to work, play and shop. Enchanted Hills Plaza allows Rio Rancho residents to shop close to home at some of our nation’s more popular retail outlets,” she said. “This plaza is not only a great thing for Rio Rancho and the county but is one of the most significant, if not the most significant retail development, in the whole metro area in the last 10 years and it’s here in Rio Rancho.”