It's the holiday season and those fabulous minds over at Fresh & Easy have been playing "Santa" all over the Vegas Valley. In addition to a newly transformed market, they've delivered a bevy of new offerings that leave us all swooning.... Yes, I said SWOON!
|Feeling at home.....|
With a totally FRESH look, complimentary wi-fi, juice bar, pizza station and microwaves I'd say Fresh & Easy has become the newest favorite kid on the block. For the past few weeks, Fresh & Easy has been celebrating the Grand Re-Openings in and around the Valley. The buzz and excitement has taken Twitter by storm and Vegas residents everywhere are dancing with glee.
The supermarket landscape has changed so much since shopping with my own mother as little girl in Brooklyn.
Grocery shopping is now a culinary experience that has transcended to a international excursion into the greatest kitchens across the globe. No doubt, the arrival of "destination" grocery retailers to the likes of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's has changed the entire universe of grocery shopping forever. This ain't definitely your grandmother's Piggly Wiggly!
This brings us to the Cinderella of our story; Fresh & Easy. In this version of the fairy tale, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are playing the role of the evil stepsisters to the California based nascent grocery chain with a dominant footprint in my hometown of Las Vegas.
Well it looks like Fresh & Easy has a fairy godmother who has seemed to wave her wand and magically transform my neighborhood Fresh & Easy into something even the staunchest Whole Foods/Trader Joe loyalist is forced to give a serious second look. I know the aforementioned to be true because I watched my local Fresh & Easy on Silverado Ranch be reinvented, right before my ver eyes...without ever once closing the store during the entire remodel process.
So here's the skinny. Pun intended. First of all the new Fresh & Easy looks and feels every bit of a destination grocer. From the free WiFi and open air seating for guests to stay and play, to the fresh 2 go bistro/cafe culinary offerings, this place is designed to make your milk and eggs run to the grocery store feel more like a trip to your local Starbucks...right down to the artisan brewed coffee selections, freshly squeezed orange juice and hand crafted soda on tap.
Fresh & Easy still showcases its staple discounted markdown specials of ready to go prepared dishes, but has taken this brand hallmark to the next level with piping hot pizzas, hearty soups and salad offerings that would make even a carnivore rethink their lives. Fresh bakery, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables and some of the best cuts of meats that can be found without an old school butcher, Fresh & Easy is definitely making a mark that won't easily be erased.
But of course with any rebranding there will be a few hiccups along the way. First and foremost, it would be the necessity to retrain a team of associates at Fresh & Easy to be more of a culinary consultant, and less of a cashier/stockboy.
This is the wheel well of Whole Food and Trader Joe's success. If you need to know how many ways to prepare kale, then the new Fresh & Easy associate must be at the ready with this new information to share with the customer. As far as store layout, I will give Fresh & Easy a pass on certain design choices, as space is a challenge, especially in the smaller square footage locations like Silverado Ranch.
Lets just hope that new Fresh & Easy locations will factor in an increase in square footage. My final observation was the lack of 24 hot food offerings like pizza and soup. Las Vegas is a 24 hour town and Fresh & Easy is a 24 hour store. It only makes sense that all food offerings be available 24 hours.
To locate your nearest Fresh & Easy: www.freshandeasy.com