BEVERLY — Whole Foods Market will open its new store in Beverly on Friday morning not with a ribbon-cutting but with a bread-breaking.

Officials are planning to slice a giant loaf of bread at 7:40 a.m. to mark the opening of the 34,500-square-foot-store on Brimbal Avenue.

A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain said officials don't know how many people will show up, but said long lines have formed at some Whole Foods openings across the country.

"We've very excited," spokeswoman Heather McCready said.

The first 200 people in line will get a free canvas tote bag and a Whole Foods card with "mystery" values ranging from $5 to $100, McCready said.

The Beverly store will be the 33rd Whole Foods Market in Massachusetts. It will serve as the anchor store for the North Shore Crossing plaza where several businesses have already opened.

On Thursday, workers were busy stocking shelves, painting walls and otherwise preparing for the opening. The store was operating on electricity from a generator after strong winds knocked out power for much of the area.

The store has about 150 employees, including 90 to 100 who are "new local hires," McCready said.

McCready said the Beverly store will follow the Whole Foods tradition of providing fresh, healthy, locally sourced food. It features several specialty departments, including a butcher, a fishmonger, and a cheese section with 200 types of cheeses.

The store's fish and meat are labeled according to standards that reflect how responsibly the food was acquired, McCready said. For example, Whole Foods carries seafood with the Marine Stewardship Council blue fish label, showing that it is certified sustainable. 

There is also a large prepared foods section, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. "That's usually what people get most excited about when a Whole Foods comes to their area," McCready said.

Asked about Whole Foods' reputation as an expensive place to shop, McCready said, "We've done a lot of work to make sure we are competitively priced. This is the highest quality food around. We offer products that families can truly be comfortable eating."

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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