Yay! A new grocery choice for Fresno!

I am very excited to welcome a new grocery chain to our city! I really feel like we've needed this for quite some time.

Our options have been:
Save Mart (rather ubiquitous in town)-high prices, good service and selection, but again, high prices. (We call it "spend mart" in my family)
Vons (same as Pavillions for those of you that are more familiar with that name) good sales, but regular priced items are expensive, plus many of our Vons stores closed, so there are only 3 locations now, none were nearby our house
Food Maxx, Winco, FoodsCo- wherehouse style, bag it yourself, average to lower quality produce (my biggest complaint), great prices, generally not that pleasant of a shopping experience (in my personal opinion at least)
Trader Joes- Yummy foods, great healthy options, reasonable prices, carry their own products including many specialty items and a select few major health branded products- only two local locations
Wal-Mart and Target- many frozen and pantry foods, little no no fresh produce/meat available (we do not have Super Target or Wal Mart here) good prices for the most part.
Whole Foods- high quality, healthy and gourmet foods at high prices. We call it "whole paycheck".

In the past week, Fresh and Easy has opened 3 new stores in our area, and a 4th (just 2 miles from my house, and a block from my office!) is set to open in three weeks. I'd heard good things about Fresh and Easy, and couldn't wait to check it out. So, Saturday, I went to one of the open stores accross town and did my shopping for the week.

I decided to do something I don't normally do, and that was to go without a list/meal plan. I wanted to be inspired by the ingredients I found there, and didn't want to be limited to a plan on my first trip to the store. I also bought a few "wants" vs. "needs" and was anxious to see how my total grocery bill came out. I was also curious as to whether I could find everything I needed there, and replace multiple store grocery trips with one easy stop.

Out of the items I typically purchase on a regular basis, there were only two things I couldn't find. 1. Nighttime Pull Ups for the kiddo (though they did have regular Pull Ups) and 2. Smart Ones (Weight Watchers) frozen meals (I like to have them for weekday lunches). Other than those two items, I found everything I was hoping to find, and I could see Fresh and Easy becoming my main grocery stop. (Our old routine was Target and Trader Joe's every Sunday, and once a month to Costco for meats)

All in all, I purchased a varietable cart FULL of items, that translated to a trunk full of bags, for about $30 cheaper than I typically spend for a week's worth of groceries. (However, I did have $10 worth of coupons from the store). My week's total was $71, and I bought many "splurge" items too! (see photo of my actual haul below!)In summary...
Things I liked about Fresh and Easy:
1. Great prices
2. Strong selection of items
3. Well organized aisles
4. Healthy AND convenient items available in abundance
5. Carries both their brand and national brands
6. Store employees were friendly and helpful
7. Store sources local produce when in-season, utilizes green building techniques and even offers up front parking spots reserved for Hybrid vehilcles (especially nice, since I drive a Prius :-))8. Store also offers reserved family parking for convenience
9. Coupons are mailed often, you can save 5,10 or 15 off of your regular grocery bill.
10. By opening several stores locally, Fresh and Easy is providing JOBS for our area, which we NEED in this economy!

Drawback:
1. Store is adequate in size, but not expansive, so during busy times, you can run into cart traffic issues in popular store areas. I hit a major cart jam near the awesome prepared food section and was stuck for several minutes waiting for others to move.
2. I can't think of any others!

9 comments:

  1. We've got one coming to Reedley, that I've been anxiously awaiting. Thanks for the review. I'm curious about the quality of the produce. We shop at Trader Joe's once a month (big spend trip), then get milk, and a few small items at Save Mart the rest of the weeks. We also have been getting a box of Abundant Harvest Organics produce once a month (best produce I've ever had!). Trader Joe's is great, in general, but their produce is soso at best. Just wondering. =)

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  2. Rachel- When I went to the store, it was very busy and had JUST opened and they did a good job of advertising and sending out coupons, so the produce section was heavily shopped. The produce that was there looked very fresh, and was packaged in nice bags that had micro perforations to help keep the produce fresh. I purchased grapes, kiwi, bagged salad, peppers, onions, bean sprouts, stir fry vegetables and a fresh fruit (pre=sliced) cup, and everything looked really good, and what we've eaten so far has been great!

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  3. That's exciting! I used to live by Fresno. That area needs more quality grocery shopping. Yay Fresh and Easy!

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  4. You will have to add the sale section to your list :) :) LOVE FRESH AND EASY! So glad you guys finally got one, my friends are probably tired of hearing me drool over it!

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  5. Awesome! Can't wait to try it! The selection sounds much better than Trader Joe's too (we still love TJ, just not the produce!).

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  6. Sounds fabulous!

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    http://amandalaura.blogspot.com/2010/01/blogger-award-2.html

    HAPPY Tuesday!

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  7. I am SO jealous of all those options you have! In my small town we have two options: one that is ALWAYS out of something or one that is more expensive.

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  8. This was my store, until I moved to Colorado where they're aren't any,

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  9. We had their burritos for lunch today and they are wonderful!! The are gianormous!! and this week only $1...the are very simialr to the Chipotle burritos. Cilantro lime rice, black beans...except for the fajita one. Still good, but not like Chipotle. :)

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