Thursday, April 30, 2009

iKristen Buys Her Fresh & Easy Bag(s) -- and It's Almost the Right One: A Tale About the Power of Social Media Sites For Grocer-Consumer Interaction

iKristen saw the Fresh & Easy reusable shopping bag pictured here on the grocer's site and wanted it. When she went to her neighborhood Fresh & Easy market it didn't have her desired bag. But she bought two of the reusable bags pictured above at the store anyway. [Photo Credit: iKristen from Twitpic.]

Grocers & Social Media: iKristen and Tesco's Fresh & Easy

In a story this week [Monday, April 27, 2009 Fresh Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Adds A Photo Page to its Social Media Site Portfolio; Now Using Twitter, YouTube and flickr] about Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market adding the flickr online photo-sharing media site to the portfolio of social media sites it's currently using, we highlighted the potential power of social media sites for grocers by including an exchange on flickr and on the micro-blogging social media site between iKristen, a user of both sites, and Tesco's Fresh & Easy, which has a feed on Twitter in addition to its page on

iKristen, who says she shops often at a Fresh & Easy market in her neighborhood, spotted a picture of a Fresh & Easy reusable canvas shopping bag she liked on Fresh & Easy's flickr page. She posted a comment on the picture at the Fresh & Easy flickr site, asking where she could buy the bag.

She also did double-social-media-site-duty by posting a "Tweet" to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's feed, asking the same question: Where she could get the reusable bag she liked.

A member of Tesco Fresh & Easy's marketing or public relations team responded back to iKristen on Twitter, suggesting how she could find the reusable bag she wanted.

Since Fresh & Easy Buzz uses we posted the April 27 piece [Fresh Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Adds A Photo Page to its Social Media Site Portfolio; Now Using Twitter, YouTube and flickr] on our Twitter feed. []

And fellow Twitter-user iKristen saw and read our post in which she is mentioned.

In addition to being an avid social media site user, iKristen also has a Blog, "Mom of 2 Girls: It's complicated and It's simple,"which we just recently learned about.

After reading our April 27, 2009 piece in which we mentioned her exchange with Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market over her desire to find out where she could purchase the reusable bag, she decided to post a "thank you" to Fresh & Easy Buzz about our mentioning her in our story in her Blog.

[Read iKristen's April 28, 2009 post headlined: "I Feel Special" here.]

IKristen now informs Fresh & Easy Buzz via that she has bought a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market reusable bag -- two in fact, she says. See her "Tweet" (Twitter-talk for a post) below:

iKristen@freshneasybuzz I got my bag 2 in fact! But I bought them :) from TwitterFon.

iKristen's comment in her "Tweet" about "buying" the two bags has to with a suggestion we made in our April 27 piece that Tesco's Fresh & Easy should give her a free bag in return for all of the positive social media "word-of-mouth" awareness she created for the bag, and thus Fresh & Easy.

But sadly, iKristen wasn't able to get the original Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market reusable bag she liked and much desired on the grocer's flickr page. View that bag here (at the top of the page). The two bags she bought are the "Organic" version pictured at the top of our story and here.

The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market store where iKristen shops -- her neighborhood market -- didn't have the version of the bag she wanted -- the original one from flickr.

Below are iKristen's "Tweets" to Fresh & Easy Buzz explaining what happened when she went shopping for her Fresh & Easy reusable bag:

1. iKristen@FreshNEasyBuzz the lady that worked there didn't seem to know what I was talking about lol. from TweetDeck in reply to FreshNEasyBuzz. (We had asked her via a "Tweet" a bit earlier why she didn't buy the bag she wanted. She had earlier "Tweeted" us a link showing the bag she bought.)

2. iKristen@FreshNEasyBuzz I bought 2 of the organic, I like those too. my F&E stores didn't have the ones from the flickr page. from TweetDeck in reply to FreshNEasyBuzz

Even though she couldn't get the original reusable bag of her desire -- the one she liked from the flickr page -- good Tesco's Fresh & Easy customer that she is, iKristen still bought two reusable bags from her neighborhood Fresh & Easy store -- the "Organic" version Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market reusable bag. (Pictured at top.)

But it just so happens that the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market employee from the retailer's marketing or PR staff who "Tweeted" back to iKristen regarding her flickr and Twitter inquiries about where she can get the bag told her this:

@iKristen you can get the tote with the apple clock up where the rest of the canvas bags are sold (by the check outs). Its my fav bag too! from web in reply to iKristen.

But, not only wasn't the bag in that spot in iKristen's neighborhood Tesco's Fresh & Easy store -- it didn't exist at all in the store.

And since Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market concept is a "neighborhood" market, a customer should be able to get a bag pictured on the retailer's flickr page at her neighborhood Fresh & Easy store, rather than having to drive all over looking for it at other Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market units; and perhaps still not finding the bag. At least we think so.

Having to drive all over looking at other stores outside of her neighborhood sort of defeats the "neighborhood" concept of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market for iKristen and other shoppers, after all.

Therefore, since the well intentioned advice to iKristen from the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Twitter "Tweeter" was a bit of a bum steer (unintentional of course), and sense the bag also happens to be his or her "fav," wouldn't it be nice -- and good best practices marketing and customer service -- for that Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Twitter "Tweeter" to locate one of those reusable bags -- the one iKristen wanted to start with -- and send it to good and loyal Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market customer iKristen for free? We sure think it would be a good move.

iKristen isn't asking for a free bag (she has no idea we are mentioning her again in a post let alone focusing this one on her social media interaction with Tesco's Fresh & Easy). She bought two bags and appears happy.

But... it would be nice, not to mention good marketing and public relations, for the Fresh & Easy Twitter "Tweeter" marketing or PR person to do so. anyway. At least we think so.

And -- by the way, locating the original reusable bag -- the one that got iKristen excited to start with -- and sending it to her for no charge would also be......well, down right good neighborly.


We think the story is a cute and interesting one.

But it's not just about cute and interesting. We think it illustrates just how powerful -- and how much more powerful the phenomenon will become -- of a tool social media sites are and can be for grocery retailers. It's all about retailer-consumer interaction without a filter. A conversation. And in this particular case it even led to a sale for Tesco's Fresh & Easy.

With the advent of social media, it's no longer your grandfather's -- or even your father's -- food and grocery retailing world any longer. Stay tuned.

Grocers & Social Media: Related Stories-Posts:

>April 27, 2009: Fresh Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Adds A Photo Page to its Social Media Site Portfolio; Now Using Twitter, YouTube and flickr

>January 25, 2009: Twitter Me This Batman: Are You Using Twitter? If Not, You Probably Should Be

>January 18, 2009: The UK Telegraph Reports on Tesco Fresh & Easy's Use of Twitter.Com; Since Fresh & Easy Buzz Was First to Report it, We Offer Some Added Value

>January 19, 2009: Sweet Tweets: Popular Web Site Picks Up Fresh & Easy Buzz's Buzz On Tesco's Fresh & Easy and; Adds A Little Buzz of its Own

>February 4, 2008: Social Media and Sense of Place: Phoenix, Arizona Fresh & Easy Market Site on; 'Kissmecait' Does Some Retail Anthropology & Geography

>March 11, 2009: A Fresh Freebie: Tesco Fresh & Easy Offering Online Coupon Good For Free Reusable Canvas Shopping Tote Bag

>January 26, 2008: When Social Media Goes Bad - Maybe? Tesco and Waitrose Store Workers in the UK Use Facebook Sites to 'Diss' Store Customers

>February 18, 2009: Individuals, Society, Business, Grocery Retailing & More: 'Tweetminister,' 'Tweet Congress' and the Rise of 'Tweetocracy'

>September 10, 2008: Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Politically-Connected Public Relations Firm APCO Worldwide

[Follow Fresh & Easy Buzz around on at]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New York Chain Wegmans Holds Creative Bag Exchange Promotion to Encourage Reusable Bag Use; Reduce Use of Plastic Carrier Bags in Stores

'Green Retailing' -- Reusable Carrier Bag Promotions

The family-owned, upstate New York USA-based Wegmans supermarket chain held a creative customer carrier bag exchange promotion for Earth Day 2009 last week, on Saturday, April 25, in its 72 supermarkets in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,Virginia, and Maryland.

The award-winning supermarket chain invited shoppers to bring in a single-use plastic carrier bag filled with additional thin plastic bags, and in exchange receive a free Wegmans' reusable canvas shopping bag like the one pictured at the top, which sells for just 99-cents in the stores.

Wegmans' then had all of the single-use plastic grocery bags brought in by shoppers and collected by the stores recycled.

We think the Wegmans' Earth Day-Earth Week event is a creative example of how food retailers can encourage shoppers to use reusable bags, while at the same time doing another good -- collecting a bunch of single-use plastic carrier bags that would most likely have ended up in a landfill but instead were recycled.

The supermarket chain said it decided to hold the event on Saturday rather than on Wednesday, the actual Earth Day, so that it could reach more shoppers. Saturday's are generally the number one grocery shopping day in terms of the number of customers that go to the store.

And of course, the "green bag" promotion's creativity also serves as a smart marketing device for Wegmans, which recently was named the number one supermarket chain in the U.S. by Consumer Reports magazine, based on the non-profit group's extensive national survey of shoppers and their favorite food and grocery stores.

Wegmans' also was named for 2008, and has been for the last 11 years, as one of the top places to work in the U.S. in Fortune magazine's annual "Best Places to Work" survey. Wegmans' was rated by Fortune as the fifth best place to work in America for 2008. The 2008 rankings came out this year. The 2009 rankings come out in 2010.

According to Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans' sustainability specialist (yes, they have one of those), the Saturday, April 25 shopper bag exchange event was a big success. Wegmans' collected bags full of single-use plastic carrier bags and handed out numerous free reusable shopping bags in its 72 stores.

The Saturday bag exchange event was part of a nearly-day long (11 a.m -to- 3 p.m.) Earth Day celebration inall 72 of Wegmans' supermarkets, centered on the what Jason Wadsworth and Wegmans' call "the three R's of environmentalism": Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

In addition to the bag exchange, the event included tastings of organic and locally-produced foods throughout the stores' aisles from 12 p.m -to- 3 p.m. Saturday, along with educational activities and other in-store "green" happenings stressing those three R's of environmentalism.

"In the nearly 40 years since Earth Day was proclaimed in 1970, many of us have become more aware of how our daily activities can have an impact on the planet – from the kinds of lights we use at home, to the bags we use to carry our purchases, to the kind of car we drive. Earth Day is an annual reminder for people, businesses, and communities to review where things stand and to explore better options," Wadsworth said in explaining the thinking behind Wegmans' Earth Day event on Saturday, April 25.

"Choosing organic foods is another shift toward greater sustainability, and customers were able to sample organic foods throughout the store, while learning about the practices that go into growing and producing these delicious foods. These include innovative technologies to lower energy use, reduce water used for irrigation, and reduce reliance on artificial fertilizers and pesticides," Wadsworth added about the Earth Day event.

Wegmans' first introduced reusable shopping bags into its stores in 2007.

Last year the privately-held supermarket chain, which had estimated 2008 gross sales of a whopping $4.8 billion for its just 72 supermarkets, according to various industry ranking sources, added a new, thicker, stronger plastic bag in its stores as part of its carrier bag offerings, according to Wegmans' sustainability specialist Wadsworth. The thinking behind the introduction being that by adding the stronger plastic carrier bags, more shoppers would ask for them and reuse them, unlike is normally the case with the thinner single-use bags, which generally get tossed in the garbage after consumers unpack their grocery purchases at home.

Wadsworth says that since introducing its various varieties of reusable bags (in 2007), offered at various price points, along with offering the stronger plastic bags last year, the supermarket chain has reduced the volume of the thin, single-use plastic carrier bags it uses in its 72 supermarkets by 30% thus far.

The retailer's goal is to encourage as many of its customers as possible to bring their own reusable bags to the stores, which is why it held the bag exchange event and regularly creates other promotions designed to encourage and increase shopper use of reusable bags.

We think Wegmans' model of offering the bag exchange -- bring a single-use plastic carrier bag full of more single-use plastic carrier bags to the store, get a reusable shopping bag in turn. -- is an excellent model for food and grocery retailers in California, Nevada and Arizona, the three states where Tesco currently has its 119 small-format grocery and fresh foods markets in. For that matter, the reusable bag promotion is a good one for grocery retailers throughout the U.S. and globally to adopt and offer in their stores a few times each year.

The promotion creates shopper awareness, keeps some single-use plastic bags out of landfills and waterways, puts reusable bags into the hands of consumers who likely aren't already using them, and overall increases awareness on the reusable bag use topic.

Single-use plastic carrier bag fee or tax legislation is now on the national agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives [See our April 23, 2009 story here: Virginia Congressman Jim Moran Introduces First-Ever Federal Single-Use Bag Fee Legislation Into U.S. House of Representatives on Earth Day 2009.] The federal legislation would put a 5-cent per bag fee on both plastic grocery bags and paper grocery sacks.

Additionally, for food and grocery retailers in California, the single-use plastic bag issue is heating up once again in a major way. Legislation that would put a 25-cent per bag tax on single-use plastic carrier bags and paper grocery sacks is working its way through the California State Assembly Natural Resources Committee at present. [See our April 16, 2009 report here: Virginia Congressman Jim Moran Introduces First-Ever Federal Single-Use Bag Fee Legislation Into U.S. House of Representatives on Earth Day 2009.]

Because they are in the direct line of fire as the retail format that uses the most plastic bags, food and grocery retailers often get a major part of the blame for the single-use plastic bag problem in the U.S., as well as elsewhere in the world.

Creative promotions like Wegmans' bag exchange therefore a good way for grocers to demonstrate their commitment to reducing plastic and paper bag use and in promoting reusable bags.

We think bag exchange programs modeled on Wegmans' April 25 event offer grocers in California, Nevada and Arizona (and elsewhere), such as Tesco's Fresh & Easy and its competitors, a great tool to promote and encourage greater shopper use of reusable bags. We hope to see bag exchange programs like Wegmans hitting stores in the three states soon.

Related Stories and Posts:

April 23, 2009: Strategy Session: The In-Store Reusable Bag-Sharing Program -- A Way For Grocers to Significantly Increase Reusable Bag Use Among Shoppers

April 23, 2009: Virginia Congressman Jim Moran Introduces First-Ever Federal Single-Use Bag Fee Legislation Into U.S. House of Representatives on Earth Day 2009

April 16, 2009: Two New Bills in California State Assembly Would Put 25-Cent Per Bag Fee on Both Single-Use Plastic and Paper Carrier Bags.

April 22, 2009: Earth Day 2009: California-Based Grocers Conducting A Myriad Of Reusable Bag Promotions Today; Other 'Green' Activities For Earth Day

>April 9, 2009: Competitor News: One Year Since Eliminating Plastic Bags in Stores Whole Foods Market Says Reusable Bag Use Tripled; 150 Million Bags Out of Landfills

>April 21, 2008: Earth Day 2008: Whole Foods Market, Inc. Becomes the First Major U.S. Food and Grocery Retailer to Stop Using Single-Use Plastic Carrier Bags Tomorrow

>April 8, 2009: News & Analysis: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Gets Reprieve As Manhattan Beach, California Plastic Bag Ban Law Held Up By Plastic Bag Industry Group's Lawsuit

>March 19, 2009: Another Tesco Fresh & Easy Future Market City Bans the (Plastic) Bag: No Plastic Carrier Bags In Palo Alto, CA Supermarkets Starting September 18th

>March 7, 2009: Analysis & Commentary: The Seven Retail Operations Changes Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Needs to Make to Help it Get On the Success Track

>December 7, 2008: Fresh & Easy Offers New Definition of 'Double Bagging;' Says Sales of Reusable Bags Has Doubled Since Introducing its 99-Cent Bag in October

>August 13, 2008: Tesco to Offer Shoppers Free Plastic Bags in UK Stores Only if Requested; Still Offering Plastic Bags-Only in Fresh & Easy USA Stores; No Paper Option

>August 1, 2008: Bag Bans and Fees: Seattle, Washington Imposes 20-Cent Fee On Single-Use Plastic Carrier Bags; Bans the Use of Foam Meat Trays in Supermarkets

>July 23, 2008: Plastic or Plastic: Single-Use Plastic Carrier Bag Bans in California Cities Threatening Tesco Fresh & Easy's Free 'Plastic Bag-Only' Policy

>September 25, 2008: Competitor News: Wal-Mart Joins Tesco, Others in Announcing A Plastic Bag Reduction Program of its Own

>April 20, 2008: Earth Day 2008: California Bag-Fee Bill AB 2058 Passes California State Assembly Natural Resource Committee; Next Stop Appropriations Committee

>April 21, 2008: Earth Day 2008: City of Los Angeles, CGA and Southern California Grocery Chains Partner in Major Reuseable Shopping Bag Giveaway Promotion

>April 18, 2008: Earth Day 2008: New Issues Are Beginning to Emerge With Growing Consumer Use of Reusable Shopping Bags: Worker Injuries, Shoplifting, 'Double-Bagging'

>April 24, 2008: Legislation: Oakland, California's Plastic Grocery Bag Ban Law Not in the 'Bag' Yet

>April 13, 2008: California State Assembly Natural Resource Committee to Vote on Statewide 25-cent Single-Use Plastic Carrier Bag-Fee on Monday

>March 15, 2008: UK 'Banish The (Plastic) Bags' Campaign Update: Morrison's Latest to Make Announcement; Tesco Holds Firm

>March 5, 2008: Britain's 'Banish The (Plastic) Bag' Campaign and Tesco: London Street Artist 'Celebrates' the Tesco Plastic Bag; More UK Retailers to Charge Bag Fee

>March 8, 2008: More UK Retailers Jump On The 'Banish The (Plastic) Bag' Campaign.

>March 4, 2008: "Message From Across the Pond: Tesco is Right Square in the Middle of the 'Banish the (Plastic) Bags' Campaign in the United Kingdom

>May 1, 2008: Green Retailing Report: UK Supermarket Chain Waitrose Creates A 'Reusable-Bag Only' 'Green' Checkout Lane in One of Its Stores

>April 21, 2008: Earth Day 2008: Massachusetts'-Based Stop & Shop Supermarket Chain and General Mills Launch Free Reusable Shopping Bag Cross-Promotion For Earth Day

[Follow Fresh & Easy Buzz around on at]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Competitor News: Safeway Leverages Supplier Promo Monies to Fund 'Living Well Feeling Great' $10 Store Coupon On $30 Purchase Promotional Program

Retail Food & Grocery Promotions in the Economic Recession

Pleasanton, California -based (San Francisco Bay Area) Safeway Stores, Inc., which operates over 500 supermarkets in California, Nevada and Arizona under the Safeway and Vons banners, along with a handful of warehouse format stores in Northern California called Pak N Save and one small-format "the market by Vons" store in Long Beach, California, has launched a smart, value-based promotion in which the grocery chain is leveraging supplier promotional monies to offer shoppers deep-discount store coupons when they purchase $30 worth of various branded and Safeway store brand products.

Safeway customers who purchase $30 or more worth of over 3,000 specially designated items in the stores receive a $10-off store coupon from Safeway which is good on their next visit to the store. That's a deep-discount of over 30% for a customer if he or she purchases only $30 worth of the participating items. The coupon is applied to a customer's total purchases, regardless of what they buy, on their next store shopping trip.

Safeway calls the promotion "Living Well Feeling Great." See the graphic at the top.

The promotion's name ties-in with Safeway's overall marketing positioning mission statement and focus, which is "Safeway: Ingredients For Life." And Safeway calls its supermarket format the "Lifestyle Format."

Leveraging supplier dollars

The majority of the discount savings offered by Safeway in the store coupon promotion is funded by promotional monies provided by the numerous consumer packaged goods brand marketers-suppliers participating in the program.

Among the food, grocery and other packaged goods suppliers and brands participating in the promotion include: Coca Cola (soda and bottled water); Nabisco (crackers and cookies); Frito Lay (snack chips); Oscar Mayer (lunch meats and related items); Kraft (prepared meals); General Mills (Cheerios and other brand breakfast cereals) Colgate-Palmolive (a variety of household and health-body care branded items); Lysol (cleaning products); Horizon Organic (fresh organic milk and related dairy items); I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (margarine); Yoplait Yogurt; Simply Orange Juice; Amy's Organics (frozen organic foods); Dove Soap; and numerous other brands.

Safeway also is offering a select number of its store brands as part of the promotion, including its O' Organics organic foods brand, its Eating Right healthy foods brand and its new Bright Green store brand, which is a line of "green" household cleaning, laundry detergent, paper product and light bulbs.

Promoted in-store, in weekly ad circular and on Web site

Over 3,000 items across most store categories are tagged on the shelf and in displays with special "Living Well Feeling Great" signs that tell shoppers about the "by-$30-or-more-worth-of-participating-products-get-a $10-store-coupon" promotion.

All of the 3,000-plus items in the promotion are also being offered at promotional prices.

Additionally, Safeway devoted nearly a full page in its multi-page weekly advertising circular this week to the promotion, featuring a selection of the items in the ad section at additionally reduced promotional prices for the week -- April 22 - 28. New items will be advertised in its new advertising circular which begins tomorrow.

The supermarket chain also is promoting the coupon program in-store and on its Web site.

The promotion, which started earlier this month, lasts until May 5, 2009. Safeway could extend it, featuring a new set of the 3,000-plus promotional items.

More on leveraging supplier promo monies

The participating brand marketers give Safeway promotional allowance money that covers the majority of the grocer's margin loss on the discount given in the form of a coupon. Safeway eats the margin loss for its own store brand items.

By leveraging its suppliers in this way, Safeway is able to offer shoppers the 30%-plus discount on a $30 purchase of participating items in the form of the $10 store coupon, thereby keeping the amount of margin it contributes in the form of the coupon discount to a minimum.

The brand marketers also pay for the space in Safeway's advertising circular and for any floor space in the stores where there products might be displayed. This added source of revenue also helps Safeway offset its margin reduction or contribution to the deep discount coupons.

The promotion is worth it to the brands because Safeway features the items in a variety of ways which generally leads to a substantial increase in sales for participating brands and their respective suppliers.

Additional supplier-leveraged promotions

The "Living Well Feeling Great" store coupon promotion isn't the only promotional program Safeway is currently using in which the retailer is leveraging supplier promotional monies.

For example, all this week Safeway has partnered with cereal giant Kellogg's in offering a promotion where shoppers who buy any three 4oz or larger boxes (mix & match varieties) of Kellogg's Special K Cereal get a free case (24 bottles), an about $4.99 value) of Safeway's Refreshe store brand bottled water.

The majority if not all of the promotional cost in giving the free case of water to shoppers is paid for by Kellogg's promotional funds.

Additionally, Safeway has teamed up with the Classico Pasta Sauce Brand for a promotion this week. Safeway is advertising all varieties of Classico Pasta Sauce in its stores at 2 for $4. Shoppers who buy two units of the pasta sauce also receive two free boxes of Safeway brand (12-16oz) Pasta. The Safeway brand pasta retails everyday in the stores for about $1.99. The promotion runs until April 30.

Like the Kellogg's Special K and the free case of Safeway Refreshe brand water promotion, all or most of the cost of the free pasta is being funded by the supplier's, in this case Classico, promotional funds.

That's what we mean by leverage. The suppliers fund most of the discounts and Safeway gets, in the case of the "Living Well Feeling Great" promotion, added overall store sales, and in the case of the store brand water and pasta promotions, Safeway gets added sales on the respective freebie store brand items without paying for it out of margin.

Safeway got ahead of the recession on value

The promotions, all of which use supplier promotional funds to increase sales for Safeway, are part of the grocery chain's value-based program, which it started in earnest in early -to mid-2008 when it saw the first serious signs of the current economic recession.

Safeway has intensified its value proposition since then in a number of ways, including: lowering everyday prices on thousands of items in its stores; promoting items in-store and in its weekly advertising circulars at deeper discounts than in the past; creating additional value-based store brand items in its price-point-focused "Safeway" store brand line, its Basic Red line of non-foods household items, and its Lucerne value-based line of dairy products; and each week offering multiple promotions like those described in this story and others that offer deep discounts but most often leverage the margin loss by the supermarket chain by partnering with consumer packaged goods marketers and using their respective promotional monies to fund the majority of the discounts offered.

Safeway Stores, Inc. currently operates about 1753 supermarkets in the U.S. and Canada under a variety of banners.

According to most all industry rankings, Safeway is the fifth-largest food and grocery retailer in the U.S., after Wal-Mart (number one), number two Kroger Co., Costco (number three) and number four Supervalu, Inc.

Safeway is the number one, two or three market share leader in California, Nevada and Arizona., the three states where Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has its 119 small-format combination grocery and fresh foods markets.

Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco and Supervalu also operate stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.

Wal-Mart operates its combination grocery and general merchandise Supercenters, which sell a full selection of fresh foods and groceries, it's Wal-Mart discount stores, which offer a limited assortment of groceries but no fresh produce or meats, and its Sam's Club membership warehouse stores, which offer a limited but complete selection of fresh foods and groceries, in California, Nevada and Arizona. Wal-Mart also operates about 30 of its Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market supermarkets in Arizona, along with four of its small-format Marketside combination grocery and fresh foods markets.

Kroger Co. operates the Ralphs supermarket chain in Southern California and the Smith's and Fry's chains in Nevada and Arizona respectively.

Costco operates its membership club stores in all three states. The stores sell fresh foods and groceries, along with general merchandise items of all kinds.

Supervalu, Inc. operates the Albertsons chain in Southern California and the upscale Bristol Farms supermarkets in the region (and one in San Francisco). It doesn't operate the Albertsons' stores in Arizona. Those stores are owned by the private equity firm Cerebus.

Look for more, similar types of promotions at Safeway-owned supermarkets in which the retailer offers similar store coupon and free product deals by leveraging supplier promotional monies, in addition to including its own store brands in the promotions. Doing so is not only a way to compete in the recession and gain sales, it's also a way to offer deep promotional discounts without such discounts coming completely or primarily out of the retailer's margins.

For example, when Tesco's Fresh & Easy distributes one of its $5-off purchases of $20 or more or $6-off purchases of $30 or more store coupons, the discount comes out of the retailer's margin because they are straight store coupon deals and not special promotions like Safeway's, which are funded entirely or primarily by supplier promotional monies.

[Follow Fresh & Easy Buzz on at]

News & Analysis: Senator Arlen Spector's Switch to Democratic Party Offers Increased Probability Employee Free Choice Act Could Pass in U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator Arlene Spector, pictured above briefing reporters at the U.S. Capital building in February of this year, announced this morning he will become a Democrat, ending his many years as a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania. [Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images.]

The Employee Free Choice Act, Tesco's Fresh & Easy and Food & Grocery Retailing USA

Republican Senator Arlene Spector from Pennsylvania, a crucial swing vote in the U.S. Senate regarding the Employee Free Choice Act legislation that most likely will be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives this year and then voted on by the U.S. Senate, announced this morning he is changing parties and becoming a Democrat.

"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right," Specter, 79, said in a statement this morning. "Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

Spector is in his fifth term in the U.S. Senate. Each Senate term is for a period of six years.

He faces a tough election for a sixth term next year, facing challengers from both the Republican and Democratic sides. That was before he announced today his switch to the Democratic Party.

Party-switching seldom a spur of moment decision

However, we suspect his changing parties wasn't done without consultation with Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and other top Democrats like Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, who heads up the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, the Senate Democrat's political arm.

Therefore, look for heavy Democratic support from these and other Democrat big guns for Spector's 2010 run in Pennsylvania as a Democrat.

Pennsylvania's other Senator, Robert Casey, is a Democrat.

Also look for the Republicans to put a big pot of money and lots of grassroots effort behind a Republican candidate in a challenge to Spector in 2010. It will be tough though for a Republican, particularly a conservative, to get elected to the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, as the state has trended Democrat and likes moderate Republicans, which is why its voters have given moderate Republican Arlene Spector five terms.

Senate leader Harry Reid welcomed Spector to the Democratic Party and Democrat Senate Caucus this morning with wide open arms, saying: "I welcome Senator Specter and his moderate voice to our diverse caucus. We have not always agreed on every issue, but Senator Specter has shown a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner, put people over party, and do what is right for Pennsylvanians and all Americans."

And Senator Chuck Schumer offered his two cents as well, saying: "Senator Specter is an effective, intelligent and moderate senator. We welcome him into the Democratic Party and our caucus in the Senate."

Senator Spector's switch to the Democratic Party and therefore to the Senate Democratic Caucus gives the Democrats 59 members, just one Senator shy of the magic 60-vote majority needed to prevent a fillibuster by Republicans on bills the Democrats want to pass, such as the Employee Free Choice Act, which is supported by Leader Reid, the majority of Senate Democrats, and President Barack Obama.

Employee Free Choice Act

The organized labor-advocated Employee Free Choice Act, often referred to as "Card Check," would among other things allow workers to merely check "yes" on a card if they want to be represented by a labor union at their non-union place of work, rather than going through the long "secret ballot" process that currently is a part of U.S. Labor law.

The proposed legislation also makes it much more difficult for employers to lobby employees against joining a union, which is something the employers are given ample opportunity to do under the current "secret ballot" method used by unions and workers to vote on union representation.

There's strong opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act among corporate America and small business. And all of the current Senate Republicans, as well as the vast majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, oppose the legislation.

As we reported in this story on April 13, 2009 [Analysis: Major Retailers Costco, Whole Foods Market and Starbucks Propose Employee Free Choice Act 'Third Way' Compromise; What About Fresh & Easy?] Spector announced he was switching his previous support in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act to a new position of being against the legislation.

Senator Spector was the only Senate Republican to vote in favor of the legislation in 2007. The Employee Free Choice was defeated in 2007, despite passing in the U.S. House of Representatives by a wide margin and winning in the Senate by a majority. The reason it was defeated in the Senate is because Senate Republicans fillibustered the bill and the Democrats didn't have to 60-votes needed to break the fillibuster.

President Bush opposed the legislation and said he would veto the bill if it passed the Senate. The 60 vote majority is needed according to Senate rules in order to override a Presidential veto.

President Obama voted for the Employee Free Choice as a Senate Democrat in 2007. He campaigned for President in 2008 in support of the legislation, and has said he will sign the bill if it is passed out of Congress.

We suspect Senator Spector's recently taken new position on the Employee Free Choice Act legislation just might have come up in talks with Senate Democratic leaders regarding his switch from Republican to Democrat -- and the deal-making that likely was a part of the switch -- although we can't confirm that.

Spector said at a press conference this morning that he still opposses the Employee Free Choice Act bill as written, saying that "it is a bad bill as currently written." The key phrase is: "It is a bad bill as currently written."

At a news conference later, Senate Leader Harry Reid was asked about Spector's continued opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) despite the Senator's switch to the Democratic Party. Reid made a point of saying that Senator Spector opposes the current "iteration" of the EFCA bill, then saying: "The bill will likely go through one or more iterations (read changes) when it gets to the Senate."

Our analysis is that Reid was signaling two things: That the current EFCA bill will be amended when it gets to the Senate from the House, and that now Democrat Senator Arlene Spector just might be willing to vote in the afirmative for a new "iteration" of the EFCA bill.

Spector wants to be Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. One of the things Reid said in the news conference that he agreed on with Spector was that is the former Republican switched parties he would be considered to have senority in the Senate from day one just as if he had been a Democrat all along. That's an unusual agreement to make. (Spector was actually a Democrat until he switched to the Republican party in 1965.)

Such seniority would be a prequisite for Reid in giving him Chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a position Arlene Spector wants dearly.

Therefore, since Spector is willing to switch parties because he knows he can't win in the 2010 Republican primary in Pennsylvania, the key reason he says he switched to the Democratic Party, it's not far-fetched to believe that the Senator might be willing to switch his vote again, in favor of a new "iteration" of the Employee Free Choice Act, particularly if being named to the Appropriation's Chair just happens to be a part of the bargain.

Assuming he gets relected next year as a Democrat, Spector will be 80-years old. He would like to finish out what will likely be his last term in the Democrat-controlled Senate as the chair of the powerful Senate Appropriation's Committee.

Would the Gentleman from Pennsylvania let his at present position on the Employee Free Choice Act stand in the way this year, especially since he voted for the legislation in 2007? We think not. Rather we think Senator Spector is one "iteration" (an amendment or two to the bill) away from a yes vote on the EFCA. And Leader Reid, who will be heading up the EFCA legislation in the Senate, said today an "iteration" or two to the current bill as it is written will likely happen.

Franken makes 60

Democratic Senator number 60 could be coming soon for Senate Democrats.

Last week Democrat Al Franken, the former comedian and talk show host, received positive news from a court in Minnesota regarding his disputed victory over Republican Norm Coleman in the November 2008 Senatorial election in the state. The court ruled in Franken's favor that his about 300-vote lead over Coleman, who was the state's incumbent Senator, is valid.

Coleman, who is no longer a U.S. Senator pending a resolution on the race, is appealing the court's decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the state's highest court.

However it's possible that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, could certify Franken as the winner before the Minnesota Supreme Court rules on the election, which would allow him to take the Senate seat.

In fact, many political observers in Minnesota have been saying that's likely to happen. But with Senator Spector's defection to the Democrats today, it's safe to say there will be added pressure on the Republican Governor from Minnesota, who is a GOP favorite to run for President in 2012, to hold off on certifying Franken, at least until the state's Supreme Court makes its ruling, either upholding the lower court's ruling in favor of Franken, or shooting the ruling down.

If Governor Pawlenty doesn't certify Franken, and the Minnesota Supreme Court upholds the lower court's ruling in favor of Franken --which the political and legal odds makers in Minnesota are currently betting will be the case -- the only recourse Coleman has is to then appeal the election to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Most U.S. Supreme Court-watchers are saying they doubt if the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case. The court chooses the handful of cases it hears each term among many that are submitted to it.

Additionally, it's likely that if the Minnesota Supreme Court upholds the lower court's ruling in favor of Franken that the Governor will then certify Franken as the new Senator from Minnesota, since the court is that state's highest. Most doubt the Governor will want to go against the court's ruling if it upholds the lower court's opinion in favor of Franken because the potential negative political fallout from doing so could be significant.

And of course there's no guarantee that if Coleman does appeal such a ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he might not, that the court will even hear the case.

There's another potential factor at play. Democrat Senate Majority Leader harry Reid could if he wants seat Franken as the Senator from Minnesota, siting the state court's ruling that he is the winner of the race as ample reason to do so.

It not clear what would happen but we've been told that it's unlikely the Republicans could do anything to stop such a move. And that Franken could serve in the Senate starting right after such a move by Reid unless or until the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled against the lower court's ruling, which would toss the election back into a stalemate with no winner.

Even 60 doesn't mean sure thing

The fillibuster-proof 60-vote majority for the Democrats, assuming Franken gets seated in the near future, of course assumes that all of the members of the Democratic Caucus, including its two Independents, will vote in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act bill when it comes before the U.S. Senate.

One Democrat, Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, has said she isn't sure she supports the legislation.

But it's still early. On the fence Senators like Lincoln can be persuaded.

And on the other side of the coin, other Democrat Senators from moderate -to- conservative states might decide to vote against the legislation, siting the poor economy as their primary reason for doing so. Of course, they are subject to deal making from the Democratic Senate leadership as well. Bucking the leaders isn't generally a good career move.

Further, moderate Democrats from conservative states might be concerned about voting in favor of the pro-organized labor legislation for political reasons, such as a fear of not being sent back to the Senate by their moderate -to- conservative constituents.

And this morning Senator Spector made a point of saying he isn't an "automatic 60th vote" for the Senate Democrats, signaling a continuation of his role in the U.S. Senate as a moderate swing vote as a Republican; a role often met with displeasure from his now former fellow Senate Republicans such as when he recently sided with Democrats, voting in favor of President Obama's nearly $1 billion economic stimulus package.

Good news to EFCA supporters: Spector back in play

But Spector's defection to the Democratic Party is overall good news to supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). His position of a couple weeks ago -- that he now is against the legislation although he voted in favor of it in 2007, the only Republican to do so at the time --will be much more malleable (to change back to his original position) now that he will be a member of the Democratic Party and Senate Democratic Caucus.

Additionally, we further suspect that if organized labor were to throw its support behind Spector in his 2010 bid for a sixth term in Pennsylvania, his position might become downright plastic, and he could do what isn't an unusual thing for elected officials to do, which is to change his mind and position once again, reverting back to his support of the Employee Free Choice Act as a freshly minted Democrat.

Being given an important committee chair by the Senate Democrat leadership, which we expect to happen, also could make Senator Spector's recent change from being pro-Employee Free Choice to against it, turn from plastic to down right making it melt away, thereby causing him to "see the light" and announce his support once again for the pro-organized labor legislation.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy

As we've reported and written about extensively in Fresh & Easy Buzz, the United Foods & Commercial Workers union (UFCW), which represents over 1 million unionized grocery store clerks in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, has been conducting a campaign to unionize Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's non-union store-level employees since late 2007 when the first Fresh & Easy markets were opened. The campaign intensified in 2008.

Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act with its "Card Check" provision, in which rather than going through a "secret ballot" election process employees would be able to check off a box on a card indicating they support a union at their place of work, would make it much easier for the UFCW union to organize Tesco Fresh & Easy store employees. In fact, the union is banking on passage of the Employee Free Choice Act in order to unionize Tesco's Fresh & Easy, along with other non-union chains like Wal-Mart.

Most of the major supermarket chains in California, Nevada and Arizona where Tesco has its 119 Fresh & Easy combination grocery and fresh foods stores, such as Safeway Stores' Vons and Safeway, Kroger's Fry's and Smith's, and Albertsons, are unionized.

Others retail chains that sell food and groceries like Tesco's Fresh & Easy, Wal-Mart, Costco, Trader Joe's, Target and a couple others are non-union.

The UFCW union, as we've previously reported, has backed off somewhat so far this year compared to last year, in its aggressive, multi-front campaign to unionize Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's store-level employees.

However, according to our sources, the union is planning to once again intensify its campaign to unionize the Fresh & Easy store workers in the coming months. That return to a more aggressive campaign will kick off when United Kingdom-based Tesco, which owns and operates Fresh & Easy USA, holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) later this year in the UK.

We will have more on what the UFCW will be doing in an upcoming piece.

[Below is a selected, linked bibliography of past stories and posts in Fresh & Easy Buzz about the UFCW union's campaign to unionize store-level employees of Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market (and related issues, including the Employee Free Choice Act), which currently has stores in California (Southern and Bakersfield), southern Nevada and Metropolitan Phoeniz, Arizona, in the Western United States.]

>February 13, 2009: Labor & Food Retailing: Kroger Co. Chains Sign New Contract With the UFCW Union in Vegas; What Happened to the UFCW Tesco Fresh & Easy Campaign?

>November 10, 2008: Food Retailing & Organized Labor: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Gets Some Company as the UFCW Union Launches Campaign to Unionize Wakefern's PriceRight Banner

>November 4, 2008: U.S. Organized Labor, Including the UFCW Union, is Feeling Good Tonight About A President Obama and Stronger Democratic Majority in Congress

>October 28, 2008: The UFCW Union, Tesco's Fresh & Easy, U.S. Labor Relations, and Next Week's Presidential and Congressional Election

>October 2, 2008: Tesco Fresh & Easy Denies Huntington Beach Store Employees Request to Be Recognized As A Union Store; Next Step Likley to Be Open Ballot Election

>September 26, 2008: News & Analysis: Employees At Two More Fresh & Easy Grocery Stores Could Soon Request UFCW Union Recognition From Tesco's Fresh & Easy

>September 17, 2008: Store Workers at Huntington Beach Fresh & Easy Demand Union Recognition From Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market

>August 27, 2008: UFCW Union Reports Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Prepared Foods Supplier to Labor Board For What it Says is Unfair Firing of Six Employees

>August 5, 2008: UNI Global Union Launches Tesco-Specific Alliance; Calls For Tesco Executives to Meet With UFCW Union Officials Over Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market

>August 4, 2008: Pico Rivera, California City Council Members Boycott Fresh & Easy Store Grand Opening; Mayor Attends But Delivers Pro-UFCW Union Message to Execs

>July 30, 2008: UFCW Union Flyers On His Door Knob Cause Heat in 'The Pragmatic Chef's' Mental Kitchen; Others Wondering About the Negative Campaign As Well

>July 3, 2008: July 3, 2008: Mid-Week Fresh & Easy Roundup: Fresh & Easy Gets Caught in A Land Use Dispute; Those Near-Famous Mixed Grill Packs; More On Manhattan Beach

>July 4, 2008: Breaking News: UFCW Union Strikes Again With Anti-Tesco Fresh & Easy Brochure Drop in Neighborhood Surrounding New Manhattan Beach Store

>July 2, 2008: UFCW Union Pickets Out in Force This Morning At Manhattan Beach Fresh & Easy Store Grand Opening

>June 30, 2008: Breaking News: UFCW Union Launches Preemptive Anti-Tesco Fresh & Easy Brochure Distribution Drop on the Eve of Manhattan Beach Store Grand Opening

>June 26, 2008: Tesco 2008 AGM: Barack Obama Sends Second Letter to Tesco CEO Requesting the Company Meet With U.S. UFCW Union Leaders About Fresh & Easy

>June 22, 2008: Vocal Cast of Critics and Advocacy Groups to Attend Tesco's Annual General Meeting On Friday, June 27

>June 4, 2008: News and Analysis: UFCW Union Takes its Tesco Union Organizing Campaign Across the Pond to the United Kingdom Beginning Today

>March 26, 2008: United Food and Commercial Workers Union Begins its Spring 2008 Organizing and Communications Campaign Directed at Tesco's Fresh & Easy

>February 11, 2008: Supermarket Union President Asks Britain's Prince Andrew to Arrange A 'Sit-Down' With Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Senior Executives

>December 30, 2007: UFCW Union to Organize Fresh & Easy Clerks in 2008

[Follow Fresh & Easy Buzz around on at]

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fresh Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Adds A Photo Page to its Social Media Site Portfolio; Now Using Twitter, YouTube and flickr

iKristen saw the Fresh & Easy reusable canvas shopping bag (pictured above) on Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's photo page on -- and she liked the bag. She used Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's flickr page, along with its feed on, to inquire about where she could buy the bag. She did so without having to leave her computer, or perhaps even using a smart phone while on the go. See explanation below. [Photo Credit: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. Photo copyright Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.]

Grocers, Social Media, Marketing and Communications

Tesco's Fresh & Easy has created a "Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market" photostream page on the popular social media photo-site, adding flickr to the grocer's portfolio of the social media sites it's using to help it communicate about and market its small-format, convenience-oriented Fresh & Easy combination grocery and fresh foods stores in California (Southern and Bakersfield), southern Nevada and Metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona.

In addition to using for photographs, Tesco's Fresh & Easy has a page on YouTube for company and store-related videos, and it has a feed on the super-popular social media micro-blogging site, as Fresh & Easy Buzz was the first publication to report in this September 10, 2008 story: [Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Politically-Connected Public Relations Firm APCO Worldwide. Also see - January 18, 2009: The UK Telegraph Reports on Tesco Fresh & Easy's Use of Twitter.Com; Since Fresh & Easy Buzz Was First to Report it, We Offer Some Added Value.]

Fresh & Easy's flickr page currently has 29 pictures posted on it by the El Segundo, (Southern) California-based grocery chain's marketing and public relations department.

The images range from pictures of the retailer's reusable canvas shopping bags and inexpensive synthetic reusable "Bags for Life," to photographs of various Fresh & Easy store interiors and features, its huge solar panel array on the 800,000 square-foot-plus Fresh & Easy Riverside County California distribution center, pictures of store employees doing volunteer work in the community, and more.

[View the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market photostream page on here.]

Tesco Fresh & Easy's use of is a good idea for many reasons, in our analysis and opinion.

For example, It costs nothing. There's no charge to create a page on flickr. That's as low cost and high-impact as a marketer can get.

Additionally, the site offers a way to put visual images of Fresh & Easy, its stores and its employees online (a picture can be better than a 1,000 word press release at times) for "all" to see. It leverages the Fresh & Easy visual image beyond its stores and controlled forms of media -- advertising, brochures and the like.

The site has millions of users. A decent percentage of those users are in California, Nevada and Arizona, the three states where Tesco has its current 119 small-format Fresh & Easy grocery and fresh foods markets.

The photo social media site also allows users to post comments on every picture on the site -- that's the social media aspect of it.

For example, iKristen likes the Fresh & Easy reusable canvas shopping bag pictured at the top of this story. In fact she wants to buy one. So she posted a comment on the photo at the Fresh & Easy photo-page on earlier today. Her comment: I really like this bag, Where can I get it? Here is the photo and her post on the page.

iKristen covered her bag-desire-bases using Twitter, just in case. She "tweeted" (posted) her bag question to Fresh & Easy's feed, asking: @Fresh_and_Easy Where can I get that tote bag with the clock on it? from TweetDeck in reply to Fresh_and_Easy.

And Fresh & Easy replied back to iKristen on its feed regarding her bag question, "tweeting back": @iKristen you can get the tote with the apple clock up where the rest of the canvas bags are sold (by the check outs). Its my fav bag too! from web in reply to iKristen.

The iKristen-Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market social media site exchange is a nice illustration of what we mean when we talk about the direct communications and marketing power of social media sites for retailers -- and for consumers.

Suggestion to Tesco's Fresh & Easy: Send iKristen one of those F&E reusable canvas bags with the clock on it as a freebie. She deserves it for all the positive publicity given on Twitter and flickr. And as a good social media networker, she will tell others about getting the bag for free.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy also has a note on each photograph on its flickr page that gives permission to third parties to use (for non-commercial use) the photos, as long as they credit the particular photograph(s) to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

This is a good idea because the flickr page could for example serve as a central visual image "clearing house" for editors, Bloggers and others looking for photographs to use.

Additionally, cities that have a Fresh & Easy store coming to their respective town can also go on the site and use one or more photos if they want to post a picture of a Fresh & Easy store or anything else related to the grocer on their Web sites to accompany a write up or press release about Fresh & Easy coming to town, for example.

But most important, using the site allows an additional social media-marketing venue for Tesco's Fresh & Easy. A number of grocers, like Whole Foods Market, Inc., have been using for a long time. In Whole Foods' case, doing so has worked well for the natural foods grocery chain. Whole Foods' also uses Facebook, in addition to flikr and

There are also strong social media and marketing synergies for Fresh & Easy and any other grocery chain using in conjunction with other sites like Twitter, YouTube or Facebook. The sites can be linked, for example. And content can be shared by a grocer across however number of social media sites it uses.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy links its flickr photo page, as well as its Twitter feed and YouTube page, on its "Talking Fresh & Easy" corporate Blog, on its Web site. This is something numerous other grocery retailers are doing as well. Doing so can be a social media force multiplier for a retailer.

Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, flickr, YouTube, and others offer food and grocery retailers (and others) an opportunity never before presented to not only communicate with customers and potential customers for minimal cost but to do so in direct ways that advertising and traditional public relations methods -- going through third-parties like newspapers and other media -- can't achieve.

More and more grocery chains and independents are discovering these social media sites and others. And grocers that have been on the sites for sometime are discovering in many cases new ways to use their res[ective pages or feeds on the sites.

For example, Whole Foods Market used its feed, linked to its "Whole Story" Web site Blog, to provide real time updates on the recent peanut butter product recall, to the hundreds of thousands (nearly 528,000 as of this afternoon) of followers of its Twitter feed. It did so again just recently when some of the pistachio nuts it sells in its stores were recalled.

Colorado-based natural foods chain Natural Grocers and Portland, Oregon-based New Seasons Market did the same thing.

Fresh & Easy uses its feed for a variety of things, including to announce in advance when it is opening a new store in California, Nevada or Arizona, to offer online store coupons [March 11, 2009:A Fresh Freebie: Tesco Fresh & Easy Offering Online Coupon Good For Free Reusable Canvas Shopping Tote Bag] and to ask followers for suggestions.

The use of social media sites by food, grocery and other format retailers is in its infancy. Like social media itself, the grocer pages and feeds are evolving. It promises to be an important and interesting evolution -- and Fresh & Easy Buzz will be here to participate in it and write about it.
Related Stories:

>January 25, 2009: Twitter Me This Batman: Are You Using Twitter? If Not, You Probably Should Be

>January 18, 2009: The UK Telegraph Reports on Tesco Fresh & Easy's Use of Twitter.Com; Since Fresh & Easy Buzz Was First to Report it, We Offer Some Added Value

>January 19, 2009: Sweet Tweets: Popular Web Site Picks Up Fresh & Easy Buzz's Buzz On Tesco's Fresh & Easy and; Adds A Little Buzz of its Own

>February 4, 2008: Social Media and Sense of Place: Phoenix, Arizona Fresh & Easy Market Site on; 'Kissmecait' Does Some Retail Anthropology & Geography

>March 11, 2009: A Fresh Freebie: Tesco Fresh & Easy Offering Online Coupon Good For Free Reusable Canvas Shopping Tote Bag

>January 26, 2008: When Social Media Goes Bad - Maybe? Tesco and Waitrose Store Workers in the UK Use Facebook Sites to 'Diss' Store Customers

>February 18, 2009: Individuals, Society, Business, Grocery Retailing & More: 'Tweetminister,' 'Tweet Congress' and the Rise of 'Tweetocracy'

>September 10, 2008: Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Politically-Connected Public Relations Firm APCO Worldwide

[Follow Fresh & Easy Buzz around on at]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Feature: Pro's Ranch Markets' Set to Open Sixth 'Phoenix Ranch' Latino-Focused Phoenix Metro Region Supermarket in Mesa, Arizona On Wednesday

Latino Food & Grocery Marketing and Merchandising: Metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona Market Region

Metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona might be the most competitive food and grocery retailing market in the U.S.

The Phoenix market region might be close to becoming, or could already be, overstored when it comes to the number of stores that sell food and groceries relative to the region's consumer population. There's only so much "share of stomach," after all.

And the Phoenix Metropolitan region, along with the entire state of Arizona, is without a doubt hard hit by the current economic recession, housing foreclosure crisis and credit crisis. Additionally, for the first time in decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Arizona isn't gaining residents but actually losing some.

But these circumstances aren't stopping family-owned Pro's Ranch Markets, which is headquartered in Ontario (Southern) California and has a regional office and a warehouse in Phoenix, Arizona, from opening another one of its Latino consumer-focused supermarkets in Arizona, specifically in the city of Mesa, in the Phoenix Metropolitan region. And like its current five supermarkets in and around Phoenix, Pro's Ranch Markets' new Mesa store will fly under the Phoenix Ranch Market banner, the retail brand it uses for its stores in Arizona.

The new Phoenix Ranch Market supermarket is located at 1118 E. Southern Avenue in Mesa. It's set to open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, according to veteran grocer and Pro's Ranch CEO Mike Provenzano Sr, who heads up the family-owned chain that's run on a day-to-day basis by his four sons: Michael, Steve, Rick and Jeff. It's a family affair.

The new 61,320 square-foot Phoenix Ranch Market in Mesa is geared to Latino consumers. However, the store, like all of the grocer's other 11 supermarkets, also offers an ample selection of traditional "American" brands and products, and an abundance of fresh produce, meats, prepared foods and more, which appeal to consumers regardless of their ethnic background.

The Mesa Phoenix Ranch Market store will make 12 supermarkets in four states for the Provenzano clan and their extended family of employees to date.

In addition to the Mesa store set to open on Wednesday, the Provenzano family currently operates: five existing stores in the Phoenix Metro region (all under the Phoenix Ranch Market banner); four supermarkets in California's Central Valley (banners: Arvin Ranch Market, Delano Ranch Market, Bakersfield Ranch Market #1, Bakersfield Ranch Market #2); one store in El Paso, Texas (Pro's Ranch Market-El Paso) and one supermarket in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Pro's Ranch Market-Albuquerque). The Central Valley cities' names where the four stores are located are the same as the store names - Arvin, Delano and Bakersfield, California.

Pro's Ranch will be opening another new Phoenix Ranch Market supermarket in the Phoenix, Arizona Metro region next year. [See our June 26, 2008 story here: Phoenix, Arizona Metro Market Report: More Competition in an Already Hot Market as Pro's Ranch Markets Plans Two New Stores in Phoenix Metro Market.]

Pro's Ranch Markets also owns a Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona called Tradiciones.

A peek inside the new Mesa Phoenix Ranch Market

In addition to having aisles and shelves full of dry grocery, household and health and body care products geared to Latino shoppers, along with brands and items for shoppers of all ethnic backgrounds, the new Mesa store offers a wide-variety of in-store fresh foods and other specialty departments. Below is a peek inside the nearly-62,000 square foot Latino-focused Phoenix Ranch Market set to open on Wednesday, April 29, in Mesa, Arizona:

>The new Mesa store will have an in-store fresh bakery. The bakery will feature all varieties of authentic Mexican fresh-baked breads, desserts, pastries and more. It also will offer basic breads and items like donuts and the like.

Additionally, the in-store bakery will be staffed by cake decorating specialists who will prepare customized specialty cakes (birthdays, graduations, ect.) for customers.

>The supermarket has a large in-store Cocina (fresh, prepared hot foods; cocina means kitchen in Spanish) and a homemade tortilla factory, delivering hot bread and piping hot tortillas throughout the day. The in-store Cocina (see its menu sign above) really amounts to having a number of Mexican and Latin American-style restaurants all rolled up into one in-store area, offering numerous hot foods and dishes from throughout the region.

About the store's centerpiece Cocina and in-store tortilla-making factory, Mike Provenzano Sr.(who's often called "Mike Pro" for short by many in the grocery industry; hence the Pro's Ranch name) says: "The smell of fresh baked bread will greet you at the door. We will be making over 100,000 stone ground tortillas every day. This is home cooking at its finest."

>The store will feature a large meat department -- with both self-service meat cases and a full-service meat counter staffed by butcher's like the one pictured above, in one of the grocer's supermarkets -- that specializes in offering all of the types and cuts of meat used in Hispanic cuisine. "The meat market will also prepare carne asada for BBQ's and hand cut customer orders," Mike Provenzano Sr. says.

There's also an in-store Cremeria where many varieties of fresh, homemade sausages will be made and displayed for sale.

>There's a fresh juice and Aguas Frescas section in the store (part of the Cocina) where the drinks are made daily, along with an in-store fresh fruit bar for grab-and-go refreshments.

>Two other in-store fresh, prepared foods departments are: a complete seafood taco bar and a taqueria and torta meal station.

>And to top it all off, the supermarket has its very own in-store ice cream shop or station. The ice cream station will feature regular flavors of ice cream but specialize in the types and flavors of ice cream popular with Hispanic consumers -- and of course enjoyed by most all consumers, particularly in Arizona where Latino culture and cuisine is eaten by pretty much every resident, be they Italian, Irish, Asian or Heinz-57 American. About forty percent of Arizona's total population is Hispanic.

>The store will also have a complete check-cashing kiosk where customers can cash their checks. Latino consumers often prefer to cash their paychecks and other types of checks at the supermarket, rather than at a bank. Hispanic consumer-focused grocers like Pro's Ranch know this all too well. Therefore they not only welcome check cashing in their stores, they encourage it, and create special stations in the stores to make it easier for shoppers (and for the store' staff) to do so.

Focus on fresh

Latino consumers love fresh: produce, meats, bakery, seafood, dairy and more. Mike Provenzano Sr, says the new Mesa store will cater to this love of fresh foods in spades.

The fresh produce department is the centerpiece of the store. It will offer pretty much every type of fruit and vegetable Latino shoppers desire, along with numerous basic produce items consumers of all ethnic backgrounds, as well as Hispanics, desire.

It should be noted that Latino consumers, particularly second and third generation, and first generation who've been in the U.S. for sometime, adopt culinary likes just like Americans of all ethnic backgrounds do, along with retaining a love of traditional Hispanic foods.

They also love and buy brands like Coke, Colgate, Wesson Oil and the like that consumers of all ethnic backgrounds do. As a result, Hispanic consumer-focused retailer's like Pro's Ranch merchandise far more than strictly Mexican and Latin American brands and items in their stores.

And as a result of that fact, Latino consumer-focused format supermarkets are increasingly drawing consumers of all ethnic backgrounds, although Latino shoppers remain the core focus, to them for a variety of reasons: low prices, lots of fresh foods, specialty produce, meats and seafood not available at mainstream supermarkets, and the Mexican and other Latin prepared foods offered. Mexican food is about as mainstream as food can get in the U.S. -- especially in the Western U.S.

The fresh meat and seafood department at the new Mesa store is huge by traditional standards, and offers an extensive variety of items. Fresh Meat, fish and seafood (like produce) are signature departments in any supermarket worth its salt that caters to Latino shoppers.

And when it comes to fresh fish and seafood, Mike Provenzano Sr. is making a major claim about his new store in Mesa. He says the supermarket's expanded fish department will carry the largest variety of fresh fish and seafood of any store in Phoenix. If that turns out to be the case, we suspect the selection will appeal to shoppers of all ethnic backgrounds.

The new Mesa Phoenix Ranch Market store also offers numerous local touches, according to Provenzano Sr. The signature feature of those local touches from a store design perspective is a large wall mural of the early years of Mesa, Arizona that faces the checkout stands in the store's front end.

The store, like the grocer's other five stores in the Phoenix area, will carry a strong selection of produced-in-Arizona fresh foods, groceries and other items.

Mike Provenzano calls the new Mesa supermarket and its format an "upscale" market for the Mesa consumer. While Latino consumers remain his primary target, he clearly wants to draw shoppers of all ethnic backgrounds into the new supermarket.

"My family puts their heart and soul into these stores. My sons and I are proud of the communities we are in and want to give back to the neighborhoods that we work with," he says. "We take great care in building each store, providing the best food and service anywhere."

Food retailing as festive theatre

The Provenzano family and team believes food and grocery retailing and merchandising is as much festive theatre as it is mass marketing and merchandising.

For example, the small chain has its own official mascot, "Ranchie the Bull." "Ranchie" (pictured above with a produce clerk posing for a photographer) visits each of the 11 (soon to be 12) stores regularly, putting a particular focus on and giving most of his attention to the little shoppers in each supermarket.

In fact, "Ranchie the Bull" even has his own "kids' club" for Pro's Ranch Markets' youngest shoppers. [You can learn more about the "kids' club" here.

Rumor has it that "Ranchie" will be front and center and trolling the aisles for new and existing little members of his "kids' club" when the new Mesa store's opening on Wednesday.

Pro's Ranch Markets' also creates retail theatre in its stores by hosting numerous special events and promotions. They bring in Mariachi bands and Latin folkloric dancers, have food sampling activities throughout the store, and regularly do other special activities and hold special events designed to create a festive atmosphere in the stores, appealing to all of a shopper's senses.

Merchandising as theatre also is a key part of the retailer's strategy. A few of the techniques used include: building massive waterfall and other types of abundant displays in the produce department; having its tortilla-making machines visible so shoppers can watch workers making the tortillas; and using service meat and fish cases along with self-service, with attractive displays of meat and fresh fish and seafood displayed on ice.

By combining festive visual merchandising techniques with in store theatre like "Ranchie the Bull", Mariachi bans, festive decorations, food demonstrations and more, Pro's Ranch has been successful in building a pretty strong return customer base. The store prices are good -- but many shoppers also come back for the festive retail theatre. We suspect that many also return to see "Ranchie the Bull."

The Pro's Ranch stores also put a premium on customer service, both in the full-service departments, at checkout, in special areas like customer service and the check cashing kiosks, and throughout the store. Car carryout of shoppers' purchases is available if requested. Clerks are in the aisles to help shoppers. And the service departments like bakery, seafood and the like are well-staffed. It's one of the points of differentiation the grocer uses to compete against the mega-chains.

Service focus: Over 400 store employees

The grocer held a job fair in the Mesa store's parking lot on April 9-10 designed to hire about 400 employees for the new supermarket. That's a healthy number of employees, even for a 62,000 square-foot supermarket.

As an example, It takes about six small-format Fresh & Easy markets to equal the nearly 62,000 square-foot Mesa Phoenix Ranch Market. Each Fresh & Easy store employees 22-30 workers. So six Fresh & Easy stores combined (the square footage equal to the supermarket) at most employee 180 workers. That's less than half of what the new Phoenix Ranch Market will employee. That's an example of what we mean by a focus on service. The store is also expected to be very high volume.

A whopping 2,200 job-hunters attended the event to via for those about 400 jobs. CEO Provenzano Sr. said the grocer hired over 400 of the job seekers, nearly all of them from the neighborhood surrounding the store, to work in the new supermarket.

Mike Provenzano Sr. is a veteran grocer in California and the Western U.S. He's served in numerous leadership positions in the California Grocers Association (CGA) and has been a pioneer in advocating for and leading independent grocers in California, Arizona and elsewhere in the west.

He's also won food retailer of the year awards in California and Arizona for his store formats, merchandising and community service focus.

Excited about opening his first store in the city of Mesa, Pro's Ranch Markets' CEO Mike Provenzano Sr. says: "The Provenzano family is very excited to be embraced by the neighborhood and the community, and look forward to continue the strong relationship developed with our customers, highlighting each visit as a shopping experience. We are grateful to the City of Mesa, and the civic and neighborhood leaders for opening the doors to our family business."

Independent spirit alive in competitive Arizona

Arizona, and particularly the Phoenix Metro region which Mesa is a part of, might be a white-hot competitive food and grocery retailing market, but Mike Provenzano Sr. -- who ran mainstream supermarkets for many years before focusing on Latino consumer-focused grocery merchandising, and who understands and has taught his four sons through example that food retailing is festive theatre as well as mass merchandising -- is game, along with his four sons and the rest of the team, to stake millions of dollars on the new supermarket in Mesa and the next new store to open next year in the region.

Along with big chain-owned food and grocery retailing -- Wal-Mart, Kroger's Fry's, Safeway, Albertsons, Basha's, Costco, Target, Tesco's Fresh & Easy, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market and others -- independent grocery retailing is a factor and force in Arizona. And Pro's Ranch Market is staking a claim to that sector with the opening of its latest store on Wednesday.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighbohrood Market has a store in Mesa.

Next format explosion: Latino-focused grocery retailing

With about 40% of Arizona's residents being of Hispanic heritage, along with the fact that Latino culture is a central part of Arizona's passed and present, there's still a strong niche in the state and in the Phoenix Metro market for new Hispanic-focused format retail stores and supermarkets, in our analysis.

Additionally, because Latino culture, including its cuisine, has such a central influence on all Arizona residents (consumers) regardless of their ethnic background, there's an added opportunity in Hispanic food and grocery product marketing and merchandising in the state and in the Phoenix Metropolitan market region.

This opportunity includes non-Hispanic format grocers that put a serious marketing and merchandising effort on attracting Latino consumers into their stores and offering them a selection of products and store departments that appeal to their likes and needs, be they Mexican-American, from Central America or elsewhere. (The majority of Latinos in Arizona are either from Mexico, or their parents or grandparents were born in that next door country. But their is a significant percentage of Arizona residents that come from other parts of Latin America as well.)

Wal-Mart believes that to be the case, which is why it has chosen Phoenix, Arizona as one of the first two states and market regions, the other being Houston, Texas, to launch the first two stores in its new Hispanic-focused format grocery market, "Supermercado de Walmart." The Phoenix "Supermercado de Walmart" unit will go into a current 39,000 square-foot Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market supermarket that the retailer is converting into its Hispanic-focused format Phoenix supermarket.

Latino-focused ethnic food and grocery retailing, like all forms and formats of food and grocery retailing in the Metropolitan Phoenix market continues to intensify and heat up.

We see Hispanic or Latino-focused retailing as the next exciting grocery retailing front to explode in Metro Phoenix, along with elsewhere in Arizona, despite the less than desirable factors we listed in the first three paragraphs of this story.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Neighborhood Group in Oceanside, CA Appealing Fresh & Easy Store Development; We Look Back to Oak Park-Sacramento Group's Successful Appeal

Southern California Market Region Report: Fresh & Easy - New Store Development

The Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association, a neighborhood group in Oceanside, California near San Diego in the far-southern region of Southern California, says it plans to appeal the recent approval by the City of Oceanside of a new Tesco Fresh & Easy store in the city, according to the group's president, Charles "Chuck" Lowery. The Fresh & Easy market would be the first for Tesco in Oceanside. The grocer has stores nearby however.

The neighborhood association's plans to appeal the decision was first reported earlier today in the local North County Times newspaper by staff writer Craig Tenbroeck. [You can read his report here.] Fresh & Easy Buzz verified the neighborhood group's plans to appeal the approval by the city.

The proposed Fresh & Easy store is part of a two-building development -- the Fresh & Easy market and a second retail store -- that a developer plans to build on a vacant lot on the northwest corner of Oceanside Boulevard and Vine Street in Oceanside.

The City of Oceanside's planning department staff has approved the development, including the Fresh & Easy store.

The Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association plans to appeal the Fresh & Easy store's approval for two primary reasons: The neighborhood group feels the city approved the project without seeking input from affected neighborhood residents, and it believes the city should have held a public hearing, most often a common practice, before approving the development.

Scott Nightengale, a staff planner for the city, told the North County Times' that a public hearing wasn't needed because the two-building retail commercial development met all of the planning department's and city of Oceanside's planning guidelines.

The neighborhood group will get their appeal hearing however. It's expected to happen in Early June, city planner Nightengale told the newspaper.

Wal-Mart 'Marketside' store slated for Oceanside

In addition to Tesco's Fresh & Easy, Wal-Mart plans to build and open one of its small-format (15,000 -to- 20,000 square foot) Marketside grocery and fresh foods stores in the city of Oceanside, along with a second store in the region in downtown San Diego.

The Oceanside Marketside store could open before the end of this year. [Read our May 18, 2008 story here: Wal-Mart Looking For Sites in California For it's Small-Format 'Marketside' Grocery Stores. And our September 10, 2008 piece here: Financial Times Follows Fresh & Easy Buzz's Lead in Reporting on Wal-Mart's Plans to Open Marketside Stores in Southern California.] Click here for more of our stories and posts about Wal-Mart's Marketside.

Wal-Mart currently operates four Marketside grocery and fresh foods stores, all located in Arizona's Phoenix Metro region -- one each in the cities of Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa and Tempe. It's building a fifth Metro Phoenix region Marketside store in Peoria, Arizona.

Metropolitan Phoenix is one of the three market regions where Tesco's Fresh & Easy has its current 119 grocery and fresh foods markets. The other two market regions are Southern California and Bakersfield in California, and Metro Las Vegas in southern Nevada. About 61 of the Fresh & Easy stores are in Southern California; three are in Bakersfield; 30 in Metro Phoenix; and 25 in Metropolitan Las Vegas, Nevada.

Fresh & Easy store challenges

Tesco's Fresh & Easy has had few of its 119 small-format (10,000 -to- 13,000 square-foot), convenience-oriented combination grocery and fresh foods markets challenged by community or neighborhoods groups to date.

The retailer has had the liquor license for one of its stores in Southern California -- the Vanowen & Sepulveda Fresh & Easy market in Los Angeles' Van Nuys area -- challenged by a neighborhood group that didn't want additional stores in the neighbohrood selling liquor.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market pulled the liquor license permit for the store in response. The store currently only sells beer and wine.

Other than the liquor sales issue though, which Fresh & Easy solved by withdrawing its application to sell hard liquor at the store, the neighborhood generally welcomed the Fresh & Easy market's coming to the location.

Oak Park-Sacramento neighborhood association

The most prominant instance of a neighborhood group challenging Tesco in terms of one its proposed Fresh & Easy markets for their neighborhood is the Oak Park Neighborhood Association in Sacramento, California. Fresh & Easy Buzz reported on and wrote about that challenge extensively. [See the story links at the end of this piece.]

The Sacramento neighborhood group challenged the proposed design of the proposed Oak Park Fresh & Easy store, along with aspects of its siting on the vacant lot where the proposed store is to be located in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood association filed an appeal of the original proposed Oak Park neighbohrood-Sacramento Fresh & Easy market's design with the city's Design Review Board in September 2008. See our October 7, 2008 report here: Sacramento's Oak Park Neighborhood Association Files Appeal On Design of Proposed Neighborhood Fresh & Easy Store; Hearing Set For Oct.15.] A hearing on the neighbohrood group's appeal took place on October 15, 2008.

After the hearing before the Sacramento Design Review Board -- which sided with the Oak Park Neighborhood Association to a large degree in its appeal of the proposed Fresh & Easy store design even though the board had signed off on the proposed design initially -- and negotiations between leaders of the neighborhood group and representatives of Fresh & Easy (the developers of the store) -- the neighbohrood association and Tesco's Fresh & Easy reached an agreement on a revised design.

That revised design was approved by the City of Sacramento Design Review Board in November 2008. [See our November 17, 2008 story here: Sacramento City Design Board Agrees With Oak Park Group on Design Changes For Proposed Fresh & Easy Store; Escrow Closed on $1.1 Million Parcel. And our October 15, 2008 piece here: Hearing Tonight For Sacramento, CA Neighborhood Group's Appeal of Design of Fresh & Easy Store Proposed For Their Oak Park Neighborhood.]

Ironically, ground has yet to be broken on the Oak Park-Sacramento Fresh & Easy store because Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has postponed its Northern California market region launch indefinitly, as we've reported previously in Fresh & Easy Buzz.

Based on the initial construction timeline for the Oak Park Fresh & Easy, ground should have been broken by now on the store, even with the time taken up by the appeal hearings and negotiations with the Oak Park Neighborhood Association.

But Tesco Fresh & Easy's postponing of its Northern California launch (and not for the first time) changed the Oak Park-Sacramento store's construction timeline. [November 12, 2008: Analysis: Hard Times at Fresh & Easy - Northern California Expansion to Be Postponed or Shelved Do to Economy; But its Only a Symptom Not the Cause. November 16, 2008: November 16, 2008: Tesco Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason Says He's 'Deliriously Happy' With the Chain's Progress Thus Far; We Prefer Andy Grove's 'Only the Paranoid Survive.']

Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association

If the Oceanside, California neighborhood group has a desire to see the proposed Fresh & Easy store in its members' neighborhood look different in some way from the proposed current design, the links below about the Oak Park-Sacramento neighborhood group's appeal of the proposed store in their neighborhood, the start date for which is in limbo, might be a good place to start.

Linkage - Tesco's Fresh & Easy & Sacramento's Oak Park Neighborhood

>November 17, 2009: Sacramento City Design Board Agrees With Oak Park Group on Design Changes For Proposed Fresh & Easy Store; Escrow Closed on $1.1 Million Parcel

>Tuesday, October 7, 2008: Sacramento's Oak Park Neighborhood Association Files Appeal On Design of Proposed Neighborhood Fresh & Easy Store; Hearing Set For Oct.15

>October 15, 2008: Hearing Tonight For Sacramento, CA Neighborhood Group's Appeal of Design of Fresh & Easy Store Proposed For Their Oak Park Neighborhood

>Wednesday, October 8, 2008: Putting the 'Neighborhood' in Neighborhood Market: 'Localism' and Tesco's Proposed Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in Sacramento's Oak Park

>Tuesday, October 7, 2008: Sacramento's Oak Park Neighborhood Association Files Appeal On Design of Proposed Neighborhood Fresh & Easy Store; Hearing Set For Oct.15

>Wednesday, October 15, 2008: Hearing Tonight For Sacramento, CA Neighborhood Group's Appeal of Design of Fresh & Easy Store Proposed For Their Oak Park Neighborhood

>July 16, 2008: Fresh Feature: A Former NBA All-Star Who Wants to Become Mayor, A Trade Union, And A Future Tesco Fresh & Easy Grocery Store In Sacramento, California

>April 29, 2008: Tesco's Fresh & Easy an Issue in Sacramento, California Mayor's Race A Year Before its First Store in the Capital City Even Opens

>March 7, 2008: Former NBA All-Star and Sacramento Native Kevin Johnson is the Driving Force Behind a Fresh & Easy Market in Sacramento's Oak Park Neighborhood

>February 28, 2008: News & Analysis: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Confirms 19 Store Locations for the Sacramento-Vacaville Region in Northern California

>February 13, 2008: Leading Democratic Candidate for President Barack Obama Joins Group in Asking Tesco's Fresh & Easy to Put More Stores in Underserved Neighborhoods

>December 3, 2008: Swearing-In of New Sacramento, CA Mayor Kevin Johnson Delayed A Few Hours Over A $2.2 Million Tesco Fresh & Easy Agenda Item

>November 12, 2008: Analysis: Hard Times at Fresh & Easy - Northern California Expansion to Be Postponed or Shelved Do to Economy; But its Only a Symptom Not the Cause

>November 16, 2008: Tesco Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason Says He's 'Deliriously Happy' With the Chain's Progress Thus Far; We Prefer Andy Grove's 'Only the Paranoid Survive'

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