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Photo by Pamela Gerard.
After more than seven months without a major grocery store, large crowds of Noe Valley shoppers greeted the Sept. 30 opening of Whole Foods Market on 24th Street. San Francisco beat police officer Lorraine Lombardo estimated 200 or so locals--and three protesters--watched the breaking of an eight-foot-long sourdough bread loaf that subbed for the traditional ribbon-cutting. An invitation-only preview party five days earlier also drew throngs to the store, which Angela Lorenzen will manage. More than a few people at the opening were in a "quandary" because of the widely publicized anti-health-care stance of Whole Foods chief executive John Mackey. San Francisco supervisor and mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty told the crowd he had sent Mackey a letter urging him to "consider alternative views as you seek to expand your work in our great city." Sanchez Street resident Leslie Wellbaum expressed similar sentiment as she manned a makeshift protest table on the sidewalk in front of Whole Foods. But Wellbaum acknowledged, "Noe Valley is not going to boycott this place. We've been waiting too long." --Corrie M. Anders