Friday, February 01, 2008

'Fresh' Grocery Outlet On Its Way To Vallejo

'Fresh' Grocery Outlet On Its Way To Vallejo
By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 02/01/2008

It ain't Trader Joe's, but it may be close.

Sometime next year, the corner of Vallejo's Oakwood Avenue and Springs Road will be the site of a new market that some have compared to the popular grocery outlet many locals have tried for years to bring to town.

The Vallejo site, along with Beck and West Texas in Fairfield and Napa's Imola and Jefferson, are among a major Bay Area expansion of a relatively new Southern California-based store chain called Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. Company spokesman Brendan Wonnacott said the firm will begin opening 18 stores in the region by 2009.

"It's too early to know exact dates yet," Wonnacott said.

Fresh & Easy, a subsidiary of U.K.-based Tesco, now has 37 markets in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona, according to a company press release. Tesco, among the world's largest international retailers, has invested $2 billion over five years in Fresh & Easy, the release notes. Fresh & Easy will have 50 stores in the United States by the end of next month, the company statement said.

At roughly 10,000 square feet, Fresh & Easy markets are smaller than typical supermarkets to give customers a faster, easier shopping experience, Wonnacott said. The store offers fresh, prepared foods and produce, its own brand and national brand products and household items, he said. The closest comparison is reportedly Trader Joe's, which stocks its 12,000- to 15,000-square-foot outlets with items bearing its own brand.

"That's what sets this chain apart," Wonnacott said. "The focus on fresh, prepared foods, made of the same product we sell."

Fresh & Easy's private brand items have no artificial colors or flavors, no added trans fats, and only use preservatives where absolutely necessary, Wonnacott said.

"The company also offers a range of national brand products, as well as fresh, prepared meals made in our kitchen," he added.

Each Fresh & Easy store employs between 20 to 30 people who work a minimum of 20 hours per week and are eligible for comprehensive health care and other benefits, the news release said.

Entry-level positions start at $10 an hour in California, and offer a 10 percent quarterly bonus, according to the release.

Sites were selected based on a variety of criteria, Wonnacott said.

"Vallejo in particular, is a good fit," he said. "Its population is growing and busy and interested in fresh, healthy food."

For more information visit

• E-mail Rachel Raskin- Zrihen at or call 553-6824.

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

Blog Archive