“Fresh and Easy” starting soft openings in LA Metro

logofe.gif Soft openings have started in the LA Metro area. Soft as in no publicity, no ribbon cutting, just opening the doors and see what happens before the official announced start. From there things can be fine tuned before they start amping up production. Do recall that the Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Markets are all about fresh ready to heat ‘n eat meals so this is more than just tossing up the packaged goods.

My mole with in Fresh and Easy has been working incredibly long hours. He said Hemet opened up almost 2 weeks ago and without any publicity the sales have exceeded expectations. He said that they were told of 5 more soft openings in the next few days. At least one for certain LA proper, one each in Arizona and Nevada. He did opine that the way things have been amped up it could be 10 stores getting soft openings in the next few days. It’s really top secret on what stores are getting the soft opening and he doesn’t even know for certain specific locations. He’s working on it for me right now.

A bit more after the jump.

Simon Uwins the local head running the show has a blog HERE. It’s a nice way to get an idea on how this company is being run. Rumor has it he writes the posts himself, not a PR flunky. I like what I see.

I had heard a bit prior about the benefits for even part timers and better than prevailing wages. That was nice to hear given the companies that still try to skimp where they can. This bit directly from Simon’s blog post on October 19,: “We were thrilled with the response we’ve had to recruiting around our first 6 stores. We filled all our positions, and it’s enabled us to demonstrate that we deliver on our promises. Over 50% of our recruits come from the local neighborhoods, and everybody is working at least 20 hours and are eligible for full-time benefits (check it out).”.

Keep your eyes open and let me know if you spot one with the doors open. I’m watching Arcadia and can’t wait to get in and see if its as good as what I have seen on the sly courtesy of my mole.

11/3 Clarification, Mr Uwins is the head of PR, its his own words, not a flunky.

23 Replies to ““Fresh and Easy” starting soft openings in LA Metro”

  1. My parents are really excited about this–the Lakewood location is opening right near them.

    It’s going to be at the corner of Del Amo and Paramount.

  2. I’m fairly close to the forthcoming Arcadia location. My understanding is that fresh & easy is actively trying to recruit employees away from the nearby Whole Foods (so the employees of Whole Foods have informed me). If they are also actively going into direct competition with Whole Foods for the same customer base–as I’ve been told–I think this can’t do anything but good.

    Everyone is already aware that it’s really just Tesco under a different name, right?

  3. Tesco is the parent company nothing new about that. I believe my first post here made that clear. http://blogging.la/archives/2007/06/more_than_a_little_brit_differ.phtml

    I’m near Arcadia too and know that the employees from the displaced Vons that wound up at Pavilions in Monrovia were beating the door down to F&E when the application process started.

    Recruiting is nothing new. I did it in Retail. I did it in Insurance. I think once word got out F&E didn’t have to do much recruiting as so many are ready to jump for higher starting wages and benefits.

    I’ve been to a variety of Tesco stores in the UK. I got what I expected and they were pretty decent if not outright convenient. Tesco is huge no doubt, and if they can beat out Walmart and still treat employees and customers right they’ll deserve the success they get.

    The proof as always will be on what they do once they open. What I see so far I think they will do well by being different.

  4. The wife and I drove past the Glassell Park F&E on Eagle Rock Boulevard Saturday night, still locked up tight. Looking forward to checking it out when it does open.

  5. I hope they come a bit further west. I LOVED going to the F&E equivalent in London. Perfect when you are there on business and staying at a hotel. Come west, F&E, come west!

  6. If you are a person that has no problem with Wal Mart, please disregard my following statements.

    Fresh and Easy is part of a store that is simply Walmart with a British accent. The reason for the soft openings, because if people got a chance to think about it, they wouldn’t want a Tesco anymore than they would want a WalMart.

    Again if you have no problem with WalMart, don’t even worry about my statements, but if you do I suggest you do some research on Tesco. You might have some slight issues with the store.

    I have a problem with super rich companies that litter the cities with stores that pay people ten dollars per hour and then suck out even more for benefits.

    When I was 16 I made 7.50 per hour as a hostess at an eatery, that was 14 years ago. This ten dollar per hour silliness w/o benefits.

    (Some easy math: 1,600 a month before taxes, before health benefits, full time hours, that’s nothing but exploitation. In LA, any job that has a 40 hour a week option should equal a livable wage at the end of the month. That’s the formula that should be used for minimum wage.)

    I go to Gelson’s, it’s union. The people make a livable wage, and they have a nice selection of Vodka. Screw saving 50 bucks if it contributes to a person not being able to feed their kid.

    Browne

  7. Well browne I prefer not to pass judgement until they open their doors. I am privy to more than most, which isn’t much but so far they are not about litter or cheating anyone. I have friends there who are amazed at the lengths they have gone to be green. They are about better wages and benefits than the competition from what I have seen first hand.

    Have you ever been to the Tesco stores? They may be big, but they are crap holes piled higher and deeper filled with the dregs like Walmart.

    What the Fresh & Easy stores aren’t is Walmart with a British Accent. This won’t be a mass merchandising

    I am waiting to see if they live up to the hype. I suspect they will come very close. I am amazed that people are willing to just make an opinion without even seeing whats there. What I have seen first hand I am impressed with. After my years in retail I don’t impress easy.

  8. Your mole was incorrect…the Hemet store did not open until today, November 1st…plus every register was Self Checkout…have fun with that one union folks.

  9. “I am waiting to see if they live up to the hype. I suspect they will come very close. I am amazed that people are willing to just make an opinion without even seeing whats there.”

    It’s not necessarily about what the stores are like on the inside, but Tesco’s track record in Britain that most of the people going to F&E won’t know about.

  10. Exactly Evan.

    It’s not Walmart’s cheesy wrongness I have a problem with it is how they do business.

    I think companies know the Walmart model doesn’t work now, so now they are packaging that model in a new and hip way, but underneath it’s still the same exploiting bs. Everyone doesn’t have a problem with that and I am open to all lines of thoughts, but if you were one of those people who went on about WalMart, are on the writer’s side in regards to the strike going on now, you talk about how unfair it is that China treats its people so wrong…you should really have an issue with very rich companies paying out a barely livable wage.

    If you’re Gordon Gekko, then I’m not even talking to you. That would be a pointless conversation, but I will accept a dinner invitation.

    Browne

  11. Went to the Fresh & Easy in Hemet. Checkout is all self-service with conveyor belts. Also they sell heavy duty plastic bags for 20 cents that if the bag wears out they will replace for life. Prepared food section is huge and appealing I would guess about 10-15 times larger than Trader Joe’s. The the fresh chicken bowls including curry (red or green priced at $3.99 for 17oz) and mango chicken looked great. I usually won’t eat prepared sushi but tried some spicy tuna rolls $3.99 for 8oz. I actually liked the sushi and the included expanding chopsticks were neat. The prices seem reasonable and are around the same or less than at TJ’s. In frozen section some Amy’s products along with private label goods. I will go back and think that their competition is about to be outclassed since the food really does look really fresh and is at a reasonable price. If you have not been to a similar European supermarket I think you will be surprised about the quality and appearance of pre-prepared ready to cook fresh items.

  12. An official video of inside a store has been posted. Notice their version of 2 Buck Chuck wine. I tried a F&E southwest salad today $3.60 for 12 oz. it was very fresh tasting with a folding spork and napkin in the lid under the label. It came with a ranch dressing though not the least bit spicy with ranch dressing, jicama, red peppers, corn, and what tasted like unprocessed chicken. Also the oatmeal raisin cookies are very tasty they were $3.49 for a pkg of 8.
    Video at F&E Blog http://www.freshandeasy.com/blog/

  13. Can someone please give me an acutal address, or intersection of one of the openings scheduled for 11/8? Lakewood, LA or the one on Eagle Rock Blvd would be great. This is like a national secret to try to find out exactly where they are located. I would much appreciate it. Thanks

  14. The Eagle Rock location opens on 11/8 and is at 4211 Eagle Rock Blvd. The Lakewood store opens at the end of Nov.

  15. The Eagle Rock location opens on 11/8 and is at 4211 Eagle Rock Blvd. The Lakewood store opens at the end of Nov.

  16. I am curious if anyone who has been inside a store and has seen the produce section. I was told that they would sell per pound produce in stacked wooden barrels. I hope this is true, I just can’t stand TJ’s pre-packaged produce from Mexico.
    Waiting in Long Beach.

  17. I couldn’t to look to close. It was a mix, some pre packaged. Some bulk out of baskets, not barrels.

  18. Anyone who’s actually been to a Tesco or Tesco Express wouldn’t make the comparison with Walmart. Tesco may be a huge company, still that doesn’t make them the Walmart of the UK. Walmart piles it high and sells it cheap, there’s no emphasis on high quality for a reasonable price. $10 an hour may not be great money, but it’s a nice starting wage. They are also offering bonuses and benefits for workers doing at least 20 hrs per week – I work for a large insurance company and anyone working part time doesn’t get benefits or bonuses. Before a snap judgement, how about we actually see how they do business and what products they offer?

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