Fresh & Easy: Doing things the right way still not enough?

I have been a loyal Fresh & Easy shopper since they opened their stores in Fresno in early 2010. I love the concept of the store - a neighborhood market, that carries almost everything a family could need, in a small store that's a breeze to navigate. The aisles are easy to memorize, and I can usually complete all of my weekly shopping there in about 15 minutes. Their stores are LEED certified, meaning they are highly energy efficient and "green". They staff minimally to keep costs down, but take good care of their employees, paying $10 an hour starting and offering full benefits (medical, dental, retirement, sick and vacation pay) to those working 20 hours a week or more.

Image via ere.net
The products carried are mostly store-brand, made specifically for Fresh & Easy, and the store's standards for these products include the exclusion of preservatives, artificial colors and high-fructose corn syrup. The store offers a great selection of free-range and organic products, ready-to-eat meals, salads and lunch items, quality meats and an impressive cheese selection and produce is sourced locally when in season. All products are priced competitively, and with coupons sent via email or their customer "Friends" rewards program, weekly shopping bills are reduced substantially. I've experienced a 25-30% decrease in grocery costs since the store opened (note: I always use their coupons).

The store gives back to the community, offering a generous donation to a community organization at the opening of each store, and giving $1 to schools for every $20 spent in store during their annual Shop for Schools campaign. (Last year, the chain donated 2 million to schools.)

In addition, Fresh & Easy has an amazing marketing team who regularly connects with the public, customers and bloggers via Twitter, Facebook, video recipes, contests and both Twitter and in-person cooking and tasting events.

Bottom line, as far as I can tell, Fresh & Easy is doing everything right - they are running a grocery store chain that cares about their employees and customers, their needs, their busy lives, keeping costs down, giving back to the community, the environment, health and staying connected. So, imagine my great shock to hear that Tesco, Fresh & Easy's parent company is considering pulling their support of the US Fresh & Easy stores due to revenue falling short of expectations.

The thought of losing these stores upsets me for several reasons:
  1. Fresh & Easy has made my shopping experience more enjoyable and efficient.
  2. The store carries all of my major grocery needs at prices I can afford.
  3. I can easily stop at my neighborhood store on my way to or from work. It's on the way!
  4. My favorite hobby is cooking, and I love the ingredients I get from Fresh & Easy
But, even beyond these highly personalized reasons, is something even more important -- as far as I can tell, Fresh & Easy is doing business in a way that treats everyone well, they're being innovative and staying on top of the needs of their market, and it's still not enough.

It's a damn shame. Really and truly.

Please, if you enjoy shopping at Fresh & Easy, join me in continuing to do so and supporting their employees during this transition time - hopefully, some good will come and they'll be able to stick around.

Heck, I stopped in on my way home from work tonight, and was greeted by parents and students from a nearby school, collecting receipts and bagging groceries to earn money through Shop for Schools. I grabbed a delicious bottle of wine, on sale. Community and good prices, conveniently located on my way home. If that's not good, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

  1. love their food also but just read that the owners did research about CA shopping habits and then ignored it and did what they wanted anyway, am oddly enough hoping the new walmart store will be a good substitute, since I am gonna need something to replace fresh and easys kick ass soup and rolls

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