Maine’s second Market Basket supermarket is slated to open Friday morning in Westbrook, after a two-month delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, the company says.

The new 80,000-square-foot store at Rock Row will boast a sit-down kitchen and cafe, as well as specialty departments such as a bakery, seafood counter and butcher shop with Certified Angus Beef. It’ll be the 82nd Market Basket location across New England, and the second in Maine, after the store in Biddeford.

The store was originally scheduled to open by June, but was pushed back because of the pandemic, David McLean, manager of grocery operations, said. Now it’ll open with precautions that include extra cleaning, glass shields at service counters, one-way aisles and limited customer capacity.

“Here we have a brand-new 80,000-square-foot store with amenities throughout, and we’re telling our customers, ‘Not all of you have to come the first day,’ ” McLean said. “Isn’t that ironic? But we plan to be here a long time, and we want everyone to be safe and everyone to be comfortable.”

COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, has delayed store openings across New England. Besides the Westbrook location, Market Basket pushed back an opening in Plymouth, New Hampshire, by about three months because of the pandemic, according to McLean.

McLean said the Westbrook expansion came as a result of customer demand; some customers regularly travel an hour to the Biddeford store every few weeks. “Our pricing structure is recognized as being among the lowest in the nation,” McLean said.

The store will create about 320 new jobs, not including associates moving to Westbrook from other locations, McLean said. About 20 percent of those jobs are “career” track, with full-time hours, he said.

Market Basket has long enjoyed loyalty from its workers, who in 2014 supported the company’s president, Arthur T. Demoulas, in a family feud over control of the company. Workers staged walkouts and encouraged customers to boycott the company until “Artie T.,” as they affectionately called him, was reinstated as president and gained control of the majority of the company’s equity.

Workers received an average of $2,000 in bonuses after the dispute was resolved. At the time, they earned among the highest pay and benefits in the industry, including a company-funded profit-sharing plan that put as much as 15 percent of employee wages into retirement plans – a plan that Demoulas fought to preserve during the 2008 recession.

Friday’s grand opening will begin early for seniors, who can start shopping at 6 a.m. to avoid crowded aisles during the pandemic. Regular hours start at 7 a.m. at 90 Rock Row.


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