In case you weren't aware, the Bay Area is about to see a major invasion by British grocery chain Fresh & Easy, giving existing mainstays like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods a potential run for their money. (Note: They already have a cheeky tagline that says, "Wholesome food, not a whole paycheck.") We'd already heard about the Fresh & Easy store moving into the Bayview at Third and Carroll Streets (5800 Third Street), into the Carroll Station complex that will also be home to branches of Limon Rotisserie and Brown Sugar Kitchen. But we didn't realize they were also opening a store shortly in the former Albertson's at 32nd Avenue and Clement, and they're planning to open a third store later this year in Portola at the intersection of Silver Avenue and Goettingen Street. To this we can also add the still-being-fought-over former Delano's at 23rd Street and South Van Ness, which Grocery Outlet wants to claim for their own. And that's not all!
They're opening a dozen other stores in the outer Bay Area as well. The Chron reported the list back in August as comprising San Francisco, San Jose, Danville, Pacifica, Vacaville, Walnut Creek, and Concord but Grub Street learned from Fresh & Easy rep Brendan Wonnacott that the list now includes Napa, Livermore, Modesto, Hayward and a second San Jose location as well. See the evolving map here.
Fresh & Easy is a neighborhood-grocer brand launched by Tesco, a British company with 2,500 stores in Britain, Eastern Europe, and Asia. They're only now trying to crack the U.S. market, and so far they've opened 160 stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada over the last five years. The standard store format is 10,000 square feet smaller than a traditional supermarket with automated checkstands and a focus on fresh prepared foods, as well as staples, pet supplies, and beauty products.
Look for the Danville store to open first, in two weeks, with the first wave of stores (including the first two S.F. stores) to open between March 2 and April 22.
Earlier: Limon Rotisserie Expands to Bayview [Grub Street]
Fresh & Easy may deploy smaller shops [Oakland Tribune]
British Grocer Fresh & Easy Headed to the Bay Area [Chron]