Granite Furniture Co. doesn't open a new store every day - the last one, in Provo, was 50 years ago - but when it does, it goes all out.

Some 200 dignitaries, employees, friends, well-wishers and, most important of all, shoppers, gathered at Granite's new "superstore" in West Jordan Thursday.They came for food, prizes, speeches, thank yous, a good old-fashioned ribbon cutting, and a look at just how much brand new furniture, appliances and other home merchandise can be displayed in 75,000 square feet of space.

"This is a very happy day for me and my wife, Marguerite. It's the end of a dream we've had for 30 years," Granite Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John D. Richards Sr. told the crowd gathered in front of the new store at 1500 West 90th South.

He said the new store, of brick construction and all on one level, had to be "in the right place at the right time," and both goals have been accomplished.

New store manager and 25-year company veteran Paul R. Tanner said the decision to build the store in West Jordan - construction began last fall - was based on the continued growth of the South Valley.

The furniture is displayed in "galleries," which Tanner said allows prospective buyers to get a feel for how a certain sofa or bedroom set will look in their home. Bassett, the largest furniture manufacturer in the United States, has set up its own gallery in the store displaying living, dining and bedroom furnishings.

"People have been so excited about this store," said John Richards. We have had calls every day wanting to know when the store was going to open. We think we've built one of the most beautiful stores in the country, and we think it will be a great addition to this end of the valley."

Richards said he expects appliances and home electronics to be a major part of the business at the West Jordan store, and a good deal of space has been devoted to TVs, VCRs, stereo equipment and appliances. Floor coverings, mattresses and outdoor furniture are also prominently featured.

The store's decor is an up-to-the-minute statement of interior design with indoor neon signage and a color scheme that gives it a very contemporary look.

"We want people to have fun when they shop with us," said Stephen C. Richards., president and brother to John. "Part of that is decorating, part of it is pricing, part of it is service."

Stephen Richards said Granite Furniture recognizes the vast growth that has taken place in the south end of the valley and he feels this will continue. "Our new store will provide many new jobs for the residents in this area," he said.

The ribbon cutting Thursday morning was followed by a grand opening sale and $34,362 home furnishings giveaway - which included tearing up the bill of the West Jordan store's first customer.

All three Granite stores are participating in the sale and prize drawings which continue through Saturday.

The new store opening comes on the heels of a major remodeling of the Provo store and, said Tanner, demonstrates the company's faith in the economy and future of the Wasatch Front. The original store, a 79-year Sugar House landmark, remains Granite's flagship and main office.

Architect for the new store was James R. Child and Associates. Layton Construction was general contractor.