Panera Bread Company celebrates grand opening

Manna Development Group President and CEO Paul Saber (holding scissors) shears a red ribbon signifying the grand opening of the new Panera Bread Company restaurant Friday in El Centro. PHOTO TOM BODUS

EL CENTRO — The long-awaited Panera Bread Company restaurant at 2321 S. Fourth St. opened its doors Monday to what the franchise owner described as an enthusiastic response from the community.

“We love this community,” said Paul Saber, president and CEO of Encinitas-based Manna Development Group, which operates 140 Panera Bread restaurants in seven states.

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