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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Echo Park may not get a Fresh & Easy store after all

Former Save A Lot store in Echo Park

In fact, the fate of the entire 199-store  grocery chain is up in the air after the company’s British owner, Tesco, said it is considering shutting down the money-losing business. “It’s likely, but not certain, that our presence in America will come to an end,” Tesco CEO Phillip Clarke told the Wall Street Journal at Fresh & Easy’s El Segundo headquarters.  Earlier this year,  contractors working for Fresh & Easy began pulling permits to begin the process of converting the former Save A Lot store in Echo Park into a new market.

A spokesman for Fresh & Easy on Tuesday said he had no updates about the Echo Park outlet, which would operate next to a Walgreens on Sunset Boulevard.

The British company’s decision to look at possibly shutting down or getting rid of its U.S. operation also threatens the future of the Fresh & Easy store in Glassell Park, one of the chain’s first outlets to open in the Los Angeles area.

49 comments

  1. This is so disappointing. I don’t like many chains but this is one I truly enjoy.

  2. so sad, I really like their stores. I didn’t even know they were owned by Tesco which makes so much sense! They remind me of Europe and NY. Ah well. Let’s cross our fingers for a Trader Joes.

  3. Not Another Neighbor

    Cant trust the British to do anything right

  4. This sucks. I was looking forward to it!

  5. nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  6. so sad – i was looking forward to F & E. lets keep our fingers crossed

  7. I would like to see something original come back,like the old pioneer and bring some revenue to the working class americans around here.

  8. pioneer is never coming back, hope something will get built soon.

  9. Just give us some grocery store of some kind there puhleazzzze

  10. there was an NPR story a year and a half ago that they were losing money. They closed a whole bunch of them at the time.

  11. Everyone needs to shop fervently, frequently at Fresh and Easy to avoid the closure of this chain. Buy beer, too!

  12. Big JT, I think it is already too late. That’s really too bad, I like their model and the easiness of shopping there. The Eagle Rock store is always packed, where as the Alhambra one is always empty. They just opened too many stores, too fast.

    • They recently opened a store on Foothill in Tujunga, and it’s a large, very clean, well-lit, well-stocked location with a huge parking lot. But most of the times that I’ve shopped there, it’s been nearly empty – maybe 10-15 other customers – and I usually visit around 5:00-5:30 P.M. It would truly be a shame if they shut down, but I’m not surprised to hear that they’re losing money. It’s really going to suck for the folks who live in South-Central if they shut down the location on Central and Adams.

  13. Is Trader Joe’s so out of the loop that they haven’t done their market research???? A Trader Joes would THRIVE in that space, but they refuse to look at Echo Park. It makes me want to boycott them.

  14. They should put a “Sprouts” there.

    • damn I was thinking the same thing..are there any in LA?? I just moved to San Diego and its on of the best discoveries I’ve made down here. SD has Fresh n Easys and yes, they seem way to empty whenever I visit. really sad. I was livivng in echo park and was looking forward to that F n E coming to EP. and sucks for Glassell Park too, they lose the Luckys/Albertsons , get pampered with F n E and now soon will be gone. …OH they have Lucky’s here in San Diego for any people who grew up with that chain.

      • There is one in Burbank that I have been to and love. I will actually schlep all the way out there every once in a while to patronize it. Looking at their site there are more but none anywhere near here. Such a great store w/ lots of affordable and healthy items and decently priced organic produce. Meat dept., deli, bulk bins, etc.
        Would be so great for the neighborhood…

    • A Sprouts market in EP would be amazing, but they’ll never go for that Save-A-Lot space. It’s too small. All their stores are probably three times that size, usually former Circuit City’s or other big box stores. That’s why there aren’t any locations in the older, more densely developed parts of LA.

      TJs DID do their market research on the Save-A-Lot in 2010 and decided that Echo Park residents aren’t their clientele. We don’t have the high rate of “educational attainment” they look for in a neighborhood. I’d rather have a locally-owned market that cares about serving the unique interests of our community, than beg Trader Joe’s to change their mind.

  15. The Hermon neighborhood near Highland Park was hoping for a Fresh and Easy a year ago. They got Fresco Community Produce instead which has exceeded everyone’s expectations so far and in my opinion blows away Fresh & Easy. Don’t fret Echo Park, you might get something better.

    • My friends who live in Hermon have nothing but good things to say about Fresco. They really love it.

    • I shop at Fresco from time to time because I like their store and their concept, but it’s just too damn expensive! Many of their goods are priced higher than a Vons, and significantly higher than Trader Joe’s. I want to shop their more often but it’s hard to justify.

      • I agree. I think it’s why the place is always empty. It is the closest market to my house and I go there when I need something last minute but could not afford to shop there regularly. Once the owner rang up my groceries and asked for feedback on the store and when I mentioned the prices, he claimed that they were lower than other grocery stores. Mom who has grocery shopping on a budget down to a science with a price book and everything says… no. For example, regular o.j. for 4.79? You can get it elsewhere for $3 something; organic for $3.99 at Whole Foods.

        The customer service is inconsistent. It goes from way too overly friendly and helpful to indifferent ( like when the cashier watches me put items on the belt and then tells me that’s not open and to move them to another register) or inappropriate (like reaching over the counter to touch my pregnant belly).

  16. Put a wall around echo sparks.Charge to watch the show…

  17. Self check-out SUCKS! I hope other chains learn from Fresh & Easy’s likely demise.

    • I love self check-out. First, if nobody’s behind me in line, I get rid of all my pennies, nickels and dimes in their machines. Second, I avoid interactions such as this:
      Cashier: “Do you have your Club card?”
      Me: “No, it’s okay.”
      Cashier: “How about your phone number?”
      Me: “No, I don’t have a Club card.”
      Cashier: “Oh, are you from out of town?”
      Me: “No, I live down the street.”
      Cashier: “So why don’t you get a card?”
      Me: “Because I disagree with club cards. I don’t need anyone tracking every grocery item that I buy.”
      Cashier (looking at me as if I were Ayman Al-Zawahiri): “Okay, suit yourself. But you would have saved $1.53 today.”

      • James, I have a club card, though I checked the box that means they don’t send me any mailers or email. But I think your post is hilarious.

      • You don’t have to give up any (true) personal information to get a Club card and using it increases the likely-hood that the store will have what you want in stock when you go there. Why is that so bad?

        • When I purchase an item at the supermarket, it shows in their inventory system that someone bought it, so why do they need to attach my name, age, income, and address to that piece of information? Nothing is free, and I value my privacy more than I value saving a few bucks. In my opinion, we already cede enough power and control to corporate interests; it’s simply none of their damn business what brand of cornflakes or condoms I buy.

      • Speaking of UK grocers, I wish Pret a Manger would find it’s way over to the west coast.

      • Something everyone might like to know:

        Remember that one hit wonder from the eighties? “867 – 5309″ I think it was johnny two tones… anyway, if you input that number with ANY Los Angeles area code first, viola! No cards no personal phone numbers. Your welcome!

  18. I just heard on Marketplace (on 89.3 KPCC) that Wal-Mart might buy the American Fresh and Easy markets. Does that mean that I have to start boycotting them, too?

  19. Was great in the beginning but then they raised the prices considerably. Produce and bread prices are still good though and I like being able to buy the few British food and candies they carry. Just hope they can hang in there, would hate to see them all go altogether.

  20. Bad news…. I was looking forward to having F&E in the neighborhood. Does this mean the space is going to sit vacant and ugly for another year?

    • You should have been boycotting F&E all along anyway. They’re very anti-union and have bullied the employees who have tried to organize.

      • That’s why I would SUPPORT them! Unions are a scourge on this country (especially public sector unions). I only shop at non-union grocery stores like TJ’s, and Costco.

  21. ??? The F&E on Eagle Rock Blvd is always crowded.

    Aesthetically it is pretty ugly n dreary (British?), but they have increasingly been getting more n more organic produce n product. They also sell these items at a lower $ than most stores: cheese, Amy’s organic frozen products, organic tortilla chips, fair trade organic coffee, organic crackers, org trail mix, organic coconut, almond, and soy milk, and awesome price on chilled Piper-Sonoma champagne.

    I hate to see the F&E close on Eagle Rock Blvd. BUT… I hope/expect that another neighborhood-friendly market will open up in the future……plus it’s a gold mine location!

  22. Yes , so the Pioneer is never coming back .
    Such memories (pre-parking lot in front )

    If you want a Trader Joe’s you can be PROACTIVE .
    Go to the Trader Joe’s website .
    Click on Contact@the bottom of page.
    In “Customers Questions and Feedback “, choose ” Location Requests”
    Click “show me the form”

    Fill it out and write why Echo Park would be a great location etc.. so on and so forth .
    Have your friends neighbors, Facebook friends , twitter , whatever and BOMBARD Trader Joe’s with requests for an Echo Park location .

    They will send you back some e-mail about how they will forward it to their real estate people , but whatever its worth a shot !
    Lets BOMBARD them with requests , again its worth a shot .

  23. Trader Joe’s, you guys are funny…Good place to panhandle, we will bombard the place with our finest panhandlers’. You know everyone that shops at Trander Joe’s, has major money, but then again are they so kind to help out these poor people? That’s not for me, I will roll down to the food for less on 6th and bonnie brae…And when I get back I will post up at the coffee shop at the original Montana track!

    • Trader Joe’s is actually a lot cheaper than regular grocery stores for many items. not sure why I keep reading how fancy and expensive it is (i’m assuming that these people have probably never actually been inside of one). We hit about 3 different stores when doing grocery shopping and Trader Joe’s is just one of them.

  24. Pioneer chicken…

  25. I was just in Philadelphia for a bit and stumbled into a Wawa. They are amazing “upscale” convenience stores that would do well to make some headway here in Los Angeles. I’d love to see one where the Fresh and Easy won’t be: http://www.wawa.com/WawaWeb/

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