Thousands flood The Winchester Fresh Market during grand opening

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There was barely an inch to move in the brand new Winchester Fresh Market on Wednesday morning. 

“We’re always looking for a place where people really, truly enjoy food and obviously, Winchester is one of those places,” Store Manager Todd Sanders said. 

Some of the more eager customers began forming a line as early as 4:45 a.m. – three hours before the store opened. 

“I like the smallness of it and I like the freshness of it. It just appeals to me. I feel very comfortable here,” said Susan Shmeltz, customer. 
 
The grocery chain is based in North Carolina, but they said each store works intimately with local farmers. 
 
“We take grocery shopping to a different level where it’s not just about buying something to eat; we make eating extraordinary. If you enjoy food and want to make a meal special, this is where you need to come,” Sanders said. 
 
The store is the 16th  to open in Virginia and the 177th nationwide.
 
Customers who fought the crowds on the first day say it was worth every minute spent in line. 
 
“I’ve been watching it being built all throughout the summer. I work out at the gym next-door and I was very excited to see they were going to be here because there are some items here we just love,” Shmeltz said. 
 
Although store officials make sure they have products tailored to vegans and health nuts, they said their store also makes a great place to stop before football Sundays. 
 
“Well, I used to be a meat guy and the quality of our meat and having the personal butchers back there that cut if for you – it’s just a service that you won’t find anywhere else,” Sanders said. 
 
The first 50 customers received $50 worth of Fresh Marked Goodies and the next 2,000 received a free, reusable bag.
 
The Winchester location will be holding grand opening activities from Sept. 5-18. 

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