Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is hooting for a mid-to-late February 2011 opening for some or all of the eight stores it said on Thursday, August 19 it plans to open in "early 2011," Fresh & Easy Buzz has learned.
[See this related story: August 19, 2010 - Tesco Will Open its First Eight Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores in Northern California in 'Early 2011.']
Of particular importance to the grocer, Tesco wants to open the future Fresh & Easy store at Third Street and Carroll Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood and the unit at Cabrillo Highway & Linda Mar Boulevard in Pacifica in February of next year. It would like to open as many of the first eight Northern California Fresh & Easy units as possible in February 2011. But the two stores are a top early priority for Tesco.
The reason Tesco didn't offer a specific opening date for the eight Northern California Fresh & Easy stores and instead said "early 2011" is because the fresh food and grocery chain isn't sure it will have the stores ready to open by the end of February 2001, which is the target opening month. If the stores aren't ready to open by the end of February, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market feels confident they will be able to open some if not all eight Northern California units by mid-to-late March 2011.
The Third Street & Carrol Avenue condominium development (pictured above), which includes a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market store as the ground floor retail anchor, in San Francisco's Bayview district was kicked off with a big bang on December 13, 2007, featuring a ground-breaking ceremony and press conference attended by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Goldman Sachs (financer and owner) executives, Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market CEO Tim Mason and other dignitaries. Tesco's Fresh & Easy used the ground breaking ceremony and press conference to signal its intention to open numerous Fresh & Easy markets in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California. In January 2008 the grocer announced it's plans to open 18 Fresh & Easy stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. We predicted in May 2010 it would be one of the first Northern California stores to open. It's at the top of the list of the eight stores in Tesco's August 19, 2010 announcement.
In this April 2010 story - Tesco Debating Whether to Launch Fresh & Easy Into Northern California This Fiscal Year... or Wait - we predicted Tesco would start opening the first of its batch of Fresh & Easy stores in Northern California before the end of its 2010/11 fiscal year, which is over at the end of February 2011. That remains the target opening date, particularly for the San Francisco and Pacifica stores mentioned above.
In this July 29, 2010 piece - July 29, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Putting Together List of Managers Interested in Transferring to Northern California - we noted the February 2011 Northern California store opening target date was (and is) fluid at Fresh & Easy for the reason described above. In the piece, published three weeks before the grocer's August 19 Northern California store opening announcement, we also said a March opening of the first batch of stores in Northern California was being discussed if the February 2011 deadline can't be met.
In this story - June 26, 2010: Tesco Planning to Announce in July When First Northern California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores to Open - we predicted Tesco would announce when it plans to open the first Fresh & Easy stores in Northern California by the end of July 2011. The retailer made the announcement a mere 19 days later. Late July was the initial target date for the announcement.
As we've reported previously, the Pacifica Fresh & Easy location at 5550 Coast Highway in the city's Pedro Point neighborhood, which is where the Mayor of Pacifica, Jim Vreeland, lives, has been completed for nearly two years, although no interior work has been done. That's about to change though: Fresh & Easy is preparing to begin the interior work in the store any day now, according to our sources.
Pacifica, California Mayor Jim Vreeland at the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market location at 5550 Coast Highway in the city's Pedro Point neighborhood, where the mayor just happens to live, in October 2008. As you can see in the photograph, the store's exterior is completed.
A representative of the construction company doing the interior work tells us the firm has met in the store with Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market real estate executives who've approved the final interior plans for the store.
Additionally, according to Mary Ann Nihart, the Mayor Pro-Tem on the Pacifica City Council, Fresh & Easy representatives who tell her the interior work should be starting soon, and that the grocer is shooting for a February 2011 opening for the store in the coastal city located just a few miles from San Francisco.
In a May 2011 story - May 28, 2010: First Phase of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market-Anchored Condo Development in San Francisco's Bayview Set For Completion in June - we reported that the first phase of a condominium development at Third Street and Carroll Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood was set to be completed by the end of June 2011. A Fresh & Easy store is the ground floor retail anchor of the new development. It's the San Francisco store at the top of the list in Tesco's August 19 announcement about the first eight Fresh & Easy stores to open in Northern California in "early 2011."
That "first phase," which includes the ground floor Fresh & Easy space of about 14,000 square-feet, has essentially been completed, with just a few minor details needing to be finished. According to the developer, Tesco's Fresh & Easy is planning, like it is with the Pacifica location, to soon start work on the interior of its future store at 5800 Third Street (at Carroll Avenue) in San Francisco's Bayview district.
Remaining six stores
The Bayview San Francisco and Point Pedro Pacifica stores are the only two of the first eight Fresh & Easy stores set to open in February (or possibly March) 2001 that are built from the ground-up units. And as noted above, both buildings are completed.
In contrast, the remaining six of those first eight Northern California Fresh & Easy stores - San Jose: Bird Ave & Minnesota Ave; Danville: Diablo Blvd & Hwy 680; Walnut Creek: Ygnacio Valley Rd & San Carlos Dr; Concord: Clayton Rd & Ygnacio Valley Rd (all in the San Francisco Bay Area); Modesto (Northern Central Valley): Oakdale Rd & Lancey Dr; and Vacaville (located between the Bay Area and Sacramento): Elmira Rd & Nut Tree Rd - are all existing, vacant retail buildings Fresh & Easy acquired in late 2007-early 2008.
Since the six buildings are existing, all Tesco has to do now that it has a February 2011 opening date target and has publicly announced the eight stores will open in "early 2001," is to start interior construction in the stores and do whatever minor exterior remodeling is needed; paint the exteriors in the Fresh & Easy colors and add signs and logos.
Some minimal exterior work has already been done on some of the six stores. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market plans to begin interior work in these stores, like it does in the San Francisco and Pacifica locations, in the coming days, according to our sources.
Since the grocer has a ready-made interior layout and package, which it customizes only minimally depending on a particular store's location and configuration, it's perfectly feasible for all eight stores to be ready to open by mid-to-late February 2011, a full six months from now.
Fresh & Easy would like to be able to open all eight of its first Northern California stores in the same month, in February 2011.
However, according to our sources, it's not wedded to that scenario. Instead, depending on how many units are completed by then, along with some other criteria, it could open some in February and others in March, even extending two or three of the openings to April 2011, although our present information is that it wants to have all eight opened and operating by the end of March 2011, since it has numerous other Northern California units in the pipeline. [See our Northern California Fresh & Easy Store List.] If only one or two of the eight stores are completed in February, Fresh & Easy might also wait until March to open all eight. Remember, the February-March target is fluid, as we've been saying for many months.
Tesco is also in the process of obtaining new store sites in Northern California, in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento region, Northern Central Valley and elsewhere in the market region. We will be reporting on some of those new store sites soon.
Meanwhile, perhaps in a nod to Fresh & Easy Buzz's 'The Insider' columnist - who titled his July 18, 2010 column: 'When it Comes to Northern California - its Competitors are Rome Burning and Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is Nero Playing the Fiddle' - Tesco has stopped paying the fiddle when it comes to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and Northern California, and instead of continuing to watch its competitors burn from the sidelines, is preparing to soon join the fray. Stay tuned.
Below are the linked stories thus far in our '2010 Northern California Market Special Report' series. Note: There are links to other related stories on most of the linked stories below.
August 17, 2010: Henry's Farmers Market 'Beats' Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to Northern California Despite Multi-Year Head Start; Elk Grove Store Opens Tomorrow
July 29, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Putting Together List of Managers Interested in Transferring to Northern California
July 25, 2010: Safeway to Start Construction on New Pleasanton, California Flagship Store Soon; Thanksgiving 2011 Target Opening
July 22, 2010: 'The Insider' - After Four Years in the High Weeds in Northern & Central California, Kroger Co. is Emerging to Grow its Foods Co Chain
July 21, 2010: Vacant Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Store in Pacifica, California Has the City's Mayor in a Pickle
July 18, 2010: 'The Insider' - When it Comes to Northern California - its Competitors are Rome Burning and Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is Nero Playing the Fiddle
July 14, 2010: Tony Bennett Has Nothing on Whole Foods Market When it Comes to Loving San Francisco...That City By the Bay
July 6, 2010: Walmart Looking for Store Sites in Northern California For 20,000 Sq-Ft Neighborhood Market by Walmart Prototype Store
June 28, 2010: Smart & Final to Open its New Format SmartCo Foods Stores in California and Arizona
June 26, 2010: Tesco Planning to Announce in July When First Northern California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores to Open
June 14, 2010: Newly-Named Whole Foods Market CO-CEO Walter Robb Comes Full Circle With the Opening of the New Store in Mill Valley CA
June 5, 2010: Sprouts Farmers Market Opens First Northern California Store in Sunnyvale; Strikes Up Partnership With Local Non-Profit Farm
May 29, 2010: Going Rural: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to Build First Store in Los Banos, California
May 28, 2010: First Phase of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market-Anchored Condo Development in San Francisco's Bayview Set For Completion in June
April 19, 2010: Tesco Debating Whether to Launch Fresh & Easy Into Northern California This Fiscal Year... or Wait
May 9, 2010: A Whopping 15 of Whole Foods Market's 41 New Stores in Development are in California - And Nine of The 15 Are In Northern CA
May 8, 2010: Sprouts, and Likely Henry's to Beat Fresh & Easy to Northern California Despite it's Big Head Start
May 6, 2010: Going Smaller & Getting 'Hybrid': Walmart's Smaller Supercenter in Vacant Retail Buildings Strategy Began in 2008
April 19, 2010: Tesco Debating Whether to Launch Fresh & Easy Into Northern California This Fiscal Year... or Wait
March 31, 2009: Despite Having Postponed its Northern California Launch Indefinitely; Tesco's Fresh & Easy Planning Third Store in Modesto, California.
Additionally: Click here to read a selection of past stories on Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and Northern California. Click the "older posts" link at the bottom of the linked pages for additional posts/pages.