There has been much discussion in Echo Park about a possible Fresh & Easy opening in the Sunset Boulevard space left vacant by the closure of Save A Lot market earlier this year. But while residents debate the pros and cons of a Fresh & Easy, and some hold out for a Trader Joe’s, it looks like a new grocery store has already opened up in Echo Park – inside the Walgreens drug store. After a recent renovation, the Walgreens next to the vacant Save A Lot store expanded the aisles devoted to packaged food and fresh produce under signage that resembles Fresh & Easy’s green and clean look. What’s going on? Like Target discount stores, Walgreens, the nation’s largest drug store chain, is devoted more floor space to food to help boost and sales and profits.
A recent story in the Oakland Tribune describes how Walgreens has established 500-square-foot, fresh-food sections in an effort to attract grocery store customers:
Walgreen Co. wants to feed a growing appetite for healthy foods and also serve some areas that the retailer believes are underserved by existing supermarkets. “We’re going to be offering fruits and vegetables, meats, prepared salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups and other on-the-go options,” said Walgreen spokesman Jim Cohn.
Some of the Walgreens are even selling sushi and other prepared foods. You won’t find sushi in the Echo Park Walgreens, however. Instead expect mangoes, tomatoes, limes and fresh flowers in the produce stand.