ATTLEBORO — With hoopla befitting a Hollywood premiere, Market Basket opened in Bristol Place Shopping Center this morning, making it the chain’s 74th store.
The official opening of the Attleboro store, delayed since last March because of an ownership struggle among the Demoulas family, was highlighted by an appearance of celebrity CEO Arthur T. Demoulas as enthusiastic shoppers scooped up opening-day specials that included $2 boxes of cereal and a 99-cent cleanser.
Demoulas, who became the owner of the supermarket chain in August, said it was a “pleasure and a privilege” to serve Attleboro area shoppers and that the market would continue to operate under the principles originated by his father, grocer T.A. Demoulas.
“Under the model established by my father, we operate under a set of shared values that include respect and dignity for everyone,” he said. “My father taught us to deliver great prices and great value to our customers.”
A number of public officials, including several city council members and Mayor Kevin Dumas, attended the ribbon cutting for the store which will provide jobs for 500 people, most of whom, according to Demoulas, will have been hired from the Attleboro area.
“We’re so excited today to welcome you as a member of our community,” Dumas told Demoulas before presenting him with a certificate of recognition from the city.
Shoppers began flooding into the mammoth, 80,000 square-foot store shortly after its opening at 7 a.m. to get their hands on advertised specials and opening day bargains. Many were shoppers who said they have patronized Market Baskets in Raynham and Bellingham and were anxious to have a store open in Attleboro.
“I love it,” said Mariann Crisafulli of Attleboro. “I’ve wanted to have a store in Attleboro for so long. You can’t beat the prices and the people are so nice.”
Nancy, who preferred not to give her last name, said she normally shops at the Market Basket in Bellingham and loves the store because she can buy everything she wants in the same place.
“If you can’t find it at Market Basket, you don’t need it,” she said.
Bob and Carol Reuter of Attleboro have shopped at Market Basket in Raynham and say they come for the low prices and personable help.
“The people here are so friendly,” Bob said. “If you have a question, they’ll help you.”
Caroline Stanley of Pawtucket said having a Market Basket in Attleboro will make her shopping more convenient — a lot more.
“My mom lives in Ipswich and I see her once a week,” she said. “I wait until I go to visit and go to Market Basket there and shop for the whole week.”
Demoulas said he is thankful for the enthusiastic support of customers and Market Basket employees during and after the ownership crisis which saw the regional supermarket chain virtually shut down.
“It’s wonderful to see the support from all our customers,” he said. “It’s the best compliment any organization could have.”
Dumas said the status of the delayed supermarket opening was the “number one asked question” at city hall in recent months. He praised Demoulas and his company for their dedication to family and commitment to the public.
“That’s what we’re trying to deliver here in the City of Attleboro,” he said.