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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Held for New Panera Bread

The new Panera Bread in Lower Nazareth Township was welcomed to the neighborhood during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.

After giving the giant scissors a few practice snips, Jim Merbler, general manager of the new in , cut the ceremonial blue ribbon, marking the grand opening of the restaurant.

Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the new Panera, which opened on April 9 in the Northampton Crossings shopping center, was welcomed to the neighborhood by a slew of local officials, including State Rep. Joe Emrick and representatives from the offices of State Rep. Marcia Hahn and U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent.

Dan Chiavaroli, president of , was also on hand to greet Merbler and Panera Bread.

Chiavaroli told Merbler that he first heard of the restaurant's impending arrival through his daughter, who was excited.

"I received a text message from my daughter that said, 'We're getting a Panera!'" Chiavaroli said.

Daniel Thierry, chairman of the , and Timm Tenges, manager of Lower Nazareth, both said they looked forward to the Panera prospering in its new location.

Merbler thanked those in attendance for the warm welcome.

"If there's anything you ever need, we're here," he said. "We definitely want to be an active member of our local chamber and with local charities."

Never one to be wasteful, Panera donates all of its leftover products at the end of each night to homeless shelters and charities.

Merbler said that if there are any local churches, shelters or charities that are in need, to let Panera know.

The Lower Nazareth restaurant -- which features baked goods, wraps, soups, sandwiches and salads -- is the first Panera location in the area to .

The calculated wait time from order to pickup is estimated to be about three minutes and 45 seconds, according to Caryl Scobbie, senior development project manager for Panera.

“We are actually quicker with the drive-thru than inside,” Scobbie told the in September 2011.

Outdoor seating is also available, in addition to free wi-fi.

The restaurant is next to  in a space previously occupied by a Blockbuster store. The site is behind and across the roadway from .

The Panera Bread is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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