BEVERLY — For Roy Enos, it was all about the olive oils. Paulie Eliuk was interested in the free gift card. And for Lili Rosso, it was her first-ever visit to a Whole Foods Market.
Whatever the reason, more than 200 people lined up on Friday morning for the opening of the new Whole Foods store in Beverly. The supermarket chain enticed customers with free tote bags, coffee and pastries, and gift cards with values of up to $100.
"It was a long time coming," said Jack Eliuk, Paulie's husband, as he sat in beach chair at the front of the line waiting to get in. "Finally it's here."
The earliest arrivals, including the Eliuks of Beverly, showed up at 5:30 a.m., two-and-a-half hours before the 8 o'clock opening. The line stretched the length of the 34,500-square-foot store, which is part of the recently opened North Shore Crossing shopping plaza on Brimbal Avenue.
Linda Lemelin, who lives in Salem, said the Beverly store will be a good alternative to the Whole Foods in Swampscott where she usually goes but is often crowded. She was looking to buy duck legs for herself and Kombucha drinks for her daughter.
Lemelin acknowledged that Whole Foods can be expensive, but said their emphasis on organic and locally-sourced food makes it worth it.
"You get what you pay for, and it helps the local farmers," she said.
The Beverly store includes products from several Massachusetts suppliers, including pastries from A&J King Artisan Bakery in Salem and candles from Beverly Bees Candles in Beverly. The Whole Kids Foundation has donated $2,000 to Ayers Ryal Side Elementary in Beverly to support the school's hydroponic vegetable garden program. On Thursday, Oct. 24, 5% of the store's net sales will be donated to the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project at Moraine Farm in Beverly.
The Beverly store is the 33rd Whole Foods in Massachusetts and is part of a recent spate of openings by the Amazon-owned company, including in Seattle; Houston; Tempe, Arizona; and Lake Tahoe, California. Store hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The arrival of Whole Foods will also finally answer questions about its impact on traffic in the area. A 2014 traffic study said the North Shore Crossing plaza will generate 6,530 vehicle trips on weekdays and 9,430 on Saturdays. The plaza has eight other stores, and there is space reserved for a restaurant.
The state installed two roundabouts on Brimbal Avenue in 2015 in an attempt to improve the traffic flow. Mayor Mike Cahill, who attended Friday's opening, said the roundabouts were built to handle the extra traffic from the area, which will also come from new businesses and office buildings on Dunham Road.
Cahill said the roundabouts are "much safer" than the previous configuration. "I think it'll work well," he said.
Cahill added that Whole Foods will be a "great community partner" and will benefit the city economically. The store employs about 150 full- and part-time workers.
"I think it's good all the way around," he said.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.