Friday, January 25, 2008

Newest Fresh & Easy Store Opens in Fallbrook, California

A new 14,000 square foot Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market store opened yesterday in the Southern California city of Fallbrook, which is located in San Diego County in the southern most part of the Golden State.

The Fallbrook store's grand opening was a bit more subdued than the one the day before for Fresh & Easy's new store on Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood, California. (Read our piece from Wednesday on the Hollywood store grand opening here.)

It was however a grand, grand opening none-the-less. Several Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market executives joined the store's manager, store associates and local city VIP's to cut a ribbon and officially open the newest grocery store in this city of about 35,000.

And although it isn't Hollywood, the city has its own claim to fame: The area around the city is known for its avocado groves and avocado farming industry. And in celebration of that, the city of Fallbrook has proclaimed itself the "Avocado Capital of the World." Each spring the city holds its Avocado Festival, which draws thousands of people from miles around to the city to celebrate the local avocado bounty.

The Fallbrook store is the 34th Fresh & Easy grocery market to open since November 5, 2007, when the first stores opened in Southern California. Fresh & Easy, which is owned by British mega-retailer Tesco, currently operates stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. The grocer plans to enter Northern California later this year with its small-format stores, which combine basic groceries at a low price, with fresh, prepared and specialty foods items. (Read our story from yesterday about Fresh & Easy's Northern California plans here.)

There were a couple hundred local residents at the Fallbrook Fresh & Easy store grand opening yesterday. Most of the them rushed into the store when the doors were open for the first time. The Fresh & Easy is in a former Do-It Center home improvement store building which had been vacant for some time until Fresh & Easy remodeled it to fit its format.

Local members of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce expressed much pleasure with the fact that the grocer took an empty retail building and turned it into a food store. Fallbrook Chamber director Bob Leonard said he believed the new Fresh & Easy would help to stimulate the local economy by keeping shoppers who drive out of town for prepared, organic and specialty foods in town, shopping at the market.

As part of the grand opening celebration, Fresh & Easy gave a $1,000 donation to the Angel's Society, a local charity. The grocer makes a $1,000 donation to a local non-profit group chosen by store associates each time it opens a new store.

Leonard of the Chamber of Commerce said that although the city has a number of large supermarkets, including an Albertsons and two good-sized popular independents, he thinks Fresh & Easy will do well in the community, especially with the store's selection of prepared, natural, organic and specialty foods and groceries, which he added aren't available in the other local supermarkets to a large degree.

In closing, we would expect the Fallbrook Fresh & Easy store to make sure it has a very large fresh avocado display in its produce department come harvest season, not to mention making sure it sells every type of grocery product it can find with avocados as part of its ingredients: avocado chip dips, oils, salad dressings, breads, and on and on. After all, the store is located in the "Avocado Capital of the World."

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