HUNDREDS of hungry shoppers braved the cold weather to see Cheltenham's latest supermarket open yesterday.
Whole Foods Market, in Tewkesbury Road, has created 150 new jobs and is selling more than 350 products from Gloucestershire.
As the doors opened yesterday to a background of a Samba band, a bread-breaking ceremony was carried out by Cheltenham Mayor Colin Hay, Cotswold chef Rob Rees, regional president of the company Jeff Turnas and store team leader Mary Cunningham.
Teenager Emily Ward was the first shopper through the checkouts. The 18-year-old, from Gotherington, bought a smoothie, a cake and a treat for her dog, Martha.
She said: "It feels really exciting that it is finally open and it is great to be the first person to buy something. It looks really nice."
Mr Rees was given a £3,000 cheque from the supermarket for his Wiggly Worm charity, which aims to give 1,000 children cooking lessons.
He said: "This is the cathedral of food and it is just amazing.
"I love the food that is about in Gloucestershire and to see the way it has been showcased and celebrated here is just fantastic."
Mayor Colin Hay said: "It is a real pleasure to open the store. Whole Foods made the right choice in Cheltenham.
"It is the time of year we celebrate the harvest and so seems appropriate to be opening now.
"Our county produces great food, I love my food and so it is a pleasure for me to open it – I can't wait to do my shopping here.
"There is something significant about breaking bread, coming together and sharing food. It is a great store and it will be a real pleasure to come here in the future."
Mrs Cunningham told the waiting crowds to go in the shop.
"Our amazing and highly talented Cheltenham team of butchers, bakers, green grocers and beauty advisors are the best team members in the whole of the Whole Foods Market," she said.