It’s been more than a year now since the Save A Lot discount grocery store in Echo Park shut down, leaving behind a large empty space next to a Walgreens drug store. Now, it looks like the Fresh & Easy grocery store chain has scooped up the space at Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street. A real estate executive with Walgreens, which handles leasing for the building, informed city officials earlier this month that Fresh & Easy had signed a lease and was preparing to file for permits with the city in anticipation of opening a store in as soon as six months, according to a person familiar with the discussion.
The Eastsider contacted the Walgreens executive as well as Fresh & Easy officials for more details. But several phone calls and emails have not been returned. Last July, a Fresh & Easy spokesman said the chain was “looking at the site but can’t confirm anything past that at this point.”
If Fresh & Easy does open a store in Echo Park, it will join Vons as the second chain supermarket to operate in Echo Park. Fresh & Easy would operate out of the same building that was once home to Pioneer Market, which closed in 2004 after more than 60 years in business.
El Segundo-based Fresh & Easy operates about 200 stores that feature prepared food and self-service check out aisles. Despite growing rapidly, the chain has failed to turn a profit for its British owner, Tesco, which has invested about $2 billion since it established Fresh & Easy about five years ago. In addition to failing to meet financial targets, Fresh & Easy has also been criticized by unions that have been trying to organize the company’s workers.