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Friday, May 10, 2013

Opening of new Market Basket in Bedford draws the crowds

Forget opening day at Fenway.

For Bedford and surrounding towns Thursday, the opening of the new Market Basket was the event of the spring. ...

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Forget opening day at Fenway.

For Bedford and surrounding towns Thursday, the opening of the new Market Basket was the event of the spring.

Shoppers, vendors and company representatives all mingled early at the new store.

An official ceremony marked the long-awaited supermarket’s opening. Lot attendants cruised and chatted with customers, helping unload full carts.

Inside, employees fiddled with products on shelves, added merchandise and helped navigate the aisles.

Specials were broadcast over the store’s public address system.

“Look, I have four of these filled,” said Karen Parsons, of Merrimack, opening a reusable shopping filled with Richie’s Slush, which she called one of her big scores for the day. Parsons said that without Market Basket, she’d have to go to Hampton Beach to get the regional drink.

She said she bought “everything under the sun” Thursday for the seven people in her home, including items for a June graduation party.

Every available space in the Chevrolet Avalanche she drove to the Donald Street store held a bag.

“It’s incredible. Everyone’s giving you something today. Every corner has about five people on it. I love Market Basket,” Parsons said.

Parsons said she’s shopped at other local supermarkets and likes the meat at Hannaford, but likes Market Basket better.

The store is at 539 Donald St., just off Route 114 near its intersection of Route 101.

Kelly Hartford, of New Boston, had been waiting to do her grocery shopping until the new store opened. Hartford said she usually shops at Hannaford, Stop & Shop and Shaw’s in Bedford and Pinardville, a section of Goffstown.

She says Market Basket is “cheaper than anywhere else,” and added the Bedford store, though crowded, had “good sales.”

Others agreed.

“It’s crazy but they have a lot of good deals,” said Amanda Stevens, of Manchester.

Stevens said she would spend about two hours shopping for a month’s worth of food for her family of three.

Manager Tom O’Loughlin said the store, at 78,500 square feet, is “pretty much a standard size at this point for the new stores.”

Dave McLean, operations manager for the chain said “it was really the outside work that delayed the opening,” speaking specifically about work on Route 114 and Donald Street, which features a rotary at the front of the store on the downtown Manchester route.

The store features both a Market’s Cafe, with coffee, espresso and other drink choices, and a Market’s Kitchen.

The kitchen feature is in about 30 of the approximately 70 stores in the chain, McLean said.

The store also features an expanded cheese department, according to O’Loughlin.

Don Himsel can be reached at Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).