Friday, November 20, 2015

Not So Easy

Fresh & Easy, a widespread grocery chain in Southern California, is shutting down all its locations.  A sad day indeed.

F&E originated in Britain.  The stores were small--at least compared to most of the supermarket competition--and catered to the same sort of patron as Trader Joe's, but was perhaps a bit pricier.  Still, not a whole lot.  I guess it couldn't take the competition, and didn't respond to the needs of the customers out here, but it can't all be about price.  Whole Foods is doing land-office business and it costs considerably more (not to mention is a lot more obnoxious about how special a place it is).

Fresh & Easy had fresh produce and well-made prepared foods.  It also had a friendly staff (you checked yourself out, and more than once I needed help when the computer broke down). I thought it filled a niche but today is just one more tale of bankruptcy.  It is a pretty tough market to crack, considering how much more the mega-chains offer than they used to, not to mention new competition from places like Target and even Amazon.

I've heard there's a chance a new concern will buy the chain, but will they reopen to stores, or will it be for the real estate?  And even if they do make them grocery stores, would it still be Fresh & Easy?


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

We just got a Sprouts and a Natural Grocers near us. The former is Trader Joe's like, and prices are competitive with Safeway where they compete. The key I think for these stores is that they sell things you can't get at Safeway, so probably that is where they have their higher margin.

Natural Grocers is weird, as far as I'm concerned. Half the store is diet supplements and bizarre roots. The whole place is cramped and hard to navigate. I think it's prices are pretty hefty, though I've only gone in once (looking for Miracle Berries, which change sour taste to sweet taste in your mouth - they didn't have them).

Walmart is trying to launch a network of small grocery stores, but a big local protest in our town is blocking their arrival. I think the protesters misunderstand that Walmart would improve the selection of goods available (it's not like we have a farmer's market or mom and pop grocery stores that would be pushed out). It is possible that Safeway (across the street from the proposed location), or the Safeway workers union perhaps, is behind the protest. In any case, for now we have a giant, empty car lot from a Ford Dealership that went out of buisness 5 years ago - how is that better?

10:40 AM, November 20, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The objection to a Walmart is often a class issue. The same people that object would generally love a Whole Foods in their neighborhood.

10:54 AM, November 20, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whole Foods is to Walmart as Kasich is to Trump. Same crap in different packaging.

There. I've politicized your natural foods post

1:02 PM, November 20, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not very well, though.

2:07 PM, November 20, 2015  

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