Monday, May 23, 2011

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Confirms Our Reports First Two San Francisco Stores to Open June 22 and August 24, 2011

The Fresh & Easy store at 32nd Street and Clement Avenue in San Francisco's Outer Richmond District. The photo was taken two weeks ago. The exterior is completed. The interior is about 30% completed as of today. Click here to see additional photos. [Photo copyright Fresh & Easy Buzz.]

Tesco's Fresh & Easy in Northern California - 2011

On May 10, 2011 we reported exclusively that Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market would open its first store in San Francisco, at 32nd Street and Clement Avenue in the Outer Richmond District, on June 22.

Read our story here - May 10, 2011: Breaking Buzz: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Plans to Open First San Francisco Store at 32nd and Clement June 22.

Four days later, on May 14, 2011, we reported exclusively the 175-store small-format fresh food and grocery chain would open its second Fresh & Easy unit in the City by the Bay, at 3rd Street and Carrol Avenue in the Bayview District, on August 24, 2011

Read our story here - May 14, 2011: Breaking Buzz: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Plans August 24 Opening For Third & Carroll Store in San Francisco's Bayview District.

Today Tesco's Fresh & Easy confirmed our reporting when it announced in a press release (see here), which is being reprinted by numerous publications, it will open the 32nd Avenue and Clement Street store June 22, and the 3rd Street and Carroll store in the 5800 Third Street residential-commercial mixed-use development in the Bayview District August 24, 2011.

Interesting press release mates

In today's press release confirming our reporting, Tim Mason, CEO of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and group deputy CEO of United Kingdom-based Tesco, said about the grocer's opening of its first two stores in San Francisco: "We could not be more thrilled with the strong performance of our first 11 stores in Northern California and we're excited to get our doors open in San Francisco. Judging by the fantastic reception we've seen from customers throughout the Bay Area, we are certain these stores will also be a hit."

Eric Mar, who represents the Richmond District (where the first Fresh & Easy store at 32nd Street and Clement Avenue opens June 22) on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is also quoted in today's press release distributed by Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, saying: "I look forward to the Fresh & Easy store opening and welcoming a new business that is partnering with the community and giving back to schools and community organizations in the Richmond District."

Interestingly, Supervisor Mar is a major supporter of AB 183, the bill authored by Assemblywomen Fiona Ma (Democrat-San Francisco) - who lives in and represents the Richmond District in the California State Assembly - that if passed by the full assembly and California State Senate and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, would likely force Tesco's Fresh & Easy to change its all self-service checkout system in its California stores (currently 126 units), adding what most likely will at a minimum have to be one self-service checkout stand in each store.

AB 183 prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout stands, instead requiring a store clerk to be present to wait on customers who purchase alcoholic beverage items in a grocery or other format retail store that offers them for sale.

We call the legislation the "Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law" because the bill is virtually identical to two other bills authored by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre (Democrat-Southgate/Southern California) in 2008 - AB 523 - and 2010 - AB 1060.

We first nicknamed the legislation, that if it becomes law will ban the sale of alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout stands, the "Tesco Fresh & Easy Law" in this July 14, 2008 story: Breaking News & Analysis: CA Assemblyman Introduces 'Tesco Fresh & Easy Law' to Ban Stores With Self-Checkout-Only From Selling Alcoholic Beverages; using the nickname again in a number of stories in 2010 when Assemblyman De La Torre introduced AB 1060, after AB 523 failed to pass both houses of the California State Legislature in 2008.

AB 1060 passed both the full assembly and senate last year but was vetoed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's been the subject of much media attention since last week over his revelation that he fathered a child with a former domestic employee of the Schwarzenegger-Shriver household.

We coined the "Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law" moniker this year when AB 183, which is virtually identical to the previous two bills, was introduced by Assemblywomen Ma, who's also Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly, its number two leadership position, this year. [For example, read this story - May 4, 2011: 'Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law': Strong Chance California Legislation to Prohibit Alcohol Sales at Self-Service Checkouts Could Pass This Year.]

[You can read our coverage from July 2008 to the present of the California legislation that would ban the sale of alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout stands here.]

Ma's AB 183 was passed by a big majority in the Democrat-controlled California State Assembly's Appropriations Committee on May 11 and is headed for a vote by the full assembly. [Read our May 11, 2011 story about the bill's passage in the committee here: May 11, 2011: ‘Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law' - California Assembly Appropriations Committee Passes Self-Checkout Ban Bill AB 183 By 12-4 Margin.]

On April 8 of this year, Richmond District-San Francisco Supervisor Mar participated in a major rally along with Assemblywoman Ma and other key supporters of AB 183 on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall, calling for the passage of the bill that if passed and signed into law would ban the sale of alcohol at self-service checkout stands.

Among the bill's supporters at the rally led by Ma and Mar included representatives from: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), alcoholic beverage industry watchdog group the Marin Institute, San Francisco's Police and Fire Departments, the San Francisco District Attorney's office, San Francisco's Metro Methodist Ministries and a group of high school students from various city schools who are in favor of the proposed self-service checkout booze sales ban.

Assemblywoman Ma is termed out of office in the California State Assembly at the end of this year. She's running for the California State Senate.

Talk in political circles in San Francisco and Sacramento is that Supervisor Eric Mar could run for Ma's Assembly seat since she's leaving office at the end of the year. Ma's district includes additional parts of western San Francisco and portions of nearby San Mateo County along with the Richmond District.

The 3rd Street and Carroll Avenue Fresh & Easy store in San Francisco's Bayview District. The photo was taken about 10 days ago. The exterior has been completed since late last year. Work started on the store's interior recently. Click here to view additional photos of the store. [Photo Copyright Fresh & Easy Buzz.]

Tesco's Fresh & Easy in San Francisco

In addition to the stores at 32nd Street and Clement Avenue and 3rd Street and Carroll Avenue in San Francisco that Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has confirmed it will open June 22 and August 24, 2011, the Tesco-owned fresh food and grocery chain has a third location in the city, at Silver Avenue and Goettingen, which is in the Portola District.

The Portola District location is, like the 3rd Street and Carroll Avenue unit, one of the first batch of 18 stores Tesco's Fresh & Easy announced in January 2008 it planned to open in Northern California's San Francisco Bay Area.

In February 2008 Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced another 19 planned locations in Northern California, in the Sacramento-Vacaville region.

No construction work has been started to date on the vacant building at Silver and Goettingen, which previously housed a Cala Foods/Bell Market grocery store. Tesco has been paying the monthly rent/lease on the building since at least early 2008.

Thus far Tesco has opened 11 Fresh & Easy stores in Northern California - nine in the San Francisco Bay Area, one in Vacaville, which is about midway between the Bay Area and Sacramento, and onei n Modesto, which is in the Northern Central Valley. We've identified in our research and reporting over 50 Fresh & Easy locations in Northern California. You can see those locations here.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has also made an offer to lease a vacant building at 1245 South Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco's Mission District which until the end of last year was home to a Delano's IGA Market grocery store. Read our January 26, 201 story here: January 26, 2011: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is On A Mission - In San Francisco's Mission District.

Not long after Tesco's Fresh & Easy approached the owner of the building, fast-growing locally-headquartered grocery chain Grocery Outlet, which is based in nearby Berkeley, also made an offer to lease the vacant Mission District building, so it could open one of its salvage/discount grocery stores at the location.

The most recent information we have is that the San Francisco Economic Development Department is working with the landlord in terms of making a decision as to which grocer will be given the lease for the building.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is also looking for additional locations in San Francisco.

For example, the grocer is potentially interested in locating a store in a vacant 13,000 square-foot building at Noe and Market Street in San Francisco's Castro District that Trader Joe's had planned to put a store in but decided against doing because of various parking conditions the City of San Francisco required of the ionic grocery chain as a condition of locating a store in the building and neighborhood. The building has been vacant for over three years and last was home to a Tower Records store. Sacramento-based Tower Records went bankrupt a few years ago.

The city did the same thing with Whole Foods Market for a store it proposed last year on Market Street in the Castro District. Whole Foods' agreed to the conditions however, which among other things will require parking attendants to be made available by the grocer during certain store opening hours. Whole Foods Market plans to began construction on the store, which is the ground floor anchor of a new high-rise development, in late 2011 or early 2012, with an eye towards opening the store next year

In March of this year San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who was involved in initially luring Trader Joe's to the location at Noe and Market Street in the Castro District, which he represents on the board, started reaching out to other grocers, including Tesco's Fresh & Easy and the earlier mentioned Grocery Outlet, asking them to consider locating a store in the vacant building. To date, neither Fresh & Easy or any other grocers have signed a lease for the location, according to the Supervisor.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is also looking for additional store locations in San Francisco, which is a topic we'll be reporting on and writing about in an upcoming story.

Meanwhile, Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has today publicly confirmed our May 10 and May 14 stories that the opening dates of its first two stores in San Francisco - which not only is a city where people leave their hearts but is also a town who's residents spend a higher percentage of their income on food and groceries than people who live in nearly any other city in the United States.

Related Stories

[Readers: Click on the following green links - , , , , , ,  and  - for our extensive coverage, reporting, analysis and more on the two San Francisco stores and of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area.]

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