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Fresh & Easy closings: Does the concept work?

FreshEasy and Capos 014Fresh & Easy’s experiment in the American grocery store market has come to end. The British parent company Tesco is selling off the stores and managers have confirmed three in our area will close. They are:

The downtown store at Tulare and R streets.

The Shaw and Willow avenues store in Clovis.

The Delano store.

The 25% off sales have already started. The remaining stores will stay open under the ownership of Yucaipa Companies LLC, an investment firm headed by Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle. The Fresh & Easy chain simply never made enough money for Tesco to keep it going.

The Fresh & Easy stores brought something different to Fresno, with their small format, limited selection and self-checkout stands. It’s a bit of a European style of shopping — pick up what you need that day on the way home — that contrasts with our giant big-box shop-for-a-week-all-in-one-go grocery stores.

So the unanswered question is still this: Does the concept work? Plenty of people have professed their love for Fresh & Easy recently, particularly the downtown one. Some downtown residents in places like Iron Bird and the Vagabond Lofts say it’s their favorite place to shop. Yet still others shun the stores altogether, saying they hate the self checkout that requires customers to scan and bag their own groceries. And people with large families tend to flock to the WinCo and the FoodMaxx with their bulk discounts. What do you think?

Responses to "Fresh & Easy closings: Does the concept work?"

@TheNickHaas says:

I always liked that store, and concept. Its the perfect single bachelor shopping stores, with a large variety of already prepped, waiting to buy cooked stuff, as well as simple check in and out. I hope the one downtown doesnt close, I barely have any grocery spots as it is!

kathleen says:

Awe bummer! I really liked the downtown Fresh & Easy. I work down there and love the stop and go atmosphere. Surprised the one at Shaw and West is still open. How about the one at Bullard & First that never opened?

JJJJ says:

Concept was great.

The execution not perfect. Ie, their small format stores were never well located. Some locations seemed like they were picked by throwing darts at a board.

Also, the reason they never made money is because everything was so cheap. Ignore the sticker price, every week they had $10 off your purchase of $50 + sales + rewards that could be redeemed like cash.

pk says:

really! Downtown! wow, can’t support a small grocery store……

Jeffrey Whitaker says:

My opinion is that the mentality of Fresno is junkfood, high calorie type foods. Why do you think Fresno Is a test market for fast food? Why do you think there are so many fat overweight people in this city?? Fresh n easy would do good in SF. But not Fresno. Just my opinion…

greg says:

Love these stores! Always clean, great prices, good selection, no ridiculous lines
and love self checkout.

soddruntlestuntle says:

This really sucks, as it was the only place downtown to buy groceries! Oh, but I’m sure that Riverpark Barbie (Lady Mayor Swearingen) and her minnions will build a new stripmall north of Shaw to make up for it.

Name says:

The reason that “so many” folks liked Fresh & Easy was because of the over generous coupons, the marked down distressed or soon out of code products and the “easy to steal” self check out registers. How can any company (even arrogant British Tesco) make even a little profit with that setup?

Food quality was a joke at best (inconsistent) and the produce? Hah……….98 cents for 3 apples that taste like biting into water.

The kind of customer that thinks the 98 cent produce items are a deal is the same customer that thinks the dollar stores are a deal (smaller size can for less versus normal size can at the supermarket).

RL says:

Fresno mentality? Riverpark Barbie? Ouch on the comments.

Poor location and demographics scouting, over expansion, building expensive locations to sit on them, no concept works well in that environment. I’m very much hoping that the new firm can strengthen their profitable locations, shed their dead weight, continue to provide good food at good prices, and hopefully move this concept forward using better sense than Tesco.

Or….I’ll hope the new International Market and Deli going in at Cedar and Nees across the street from Fresh and Easy is a suitable replacement.

Michael says:

I lived next door to the downtown one so this is major bummer news. We would often plan our meals day of and just take a one minute walk over. And then back again later when we decided we wanted something from their bakery for desert. It sucks that downtown cannot support this type of store. Oh well, at least there is a 7-11 I can walk to now to get my cherry cokes and red box dvds..

erik says:

Sad the downtown f&e is closing. It was really convenient being a smaller grocery store and the self-checkout made it easy and fast (never had to wait in line). Their friends reward program was awesome too – with a $5 discount for $25 spent. Again something great for downtown that didn’t last…

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