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Fresh & Easy Opens in South L.A.

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A project five years in the making finally became reality this morning when the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market opened its doors to the public for the first time at the corner of Central and Adams in South Los Angeles. On hand to cut the ribbon and speak about the significance of the neighborhood having access to fresh and affordable food were City Councilmember Jan Perry, Vice President & General Counsel for Fresh & Easy Mary Kaspar, Store Manager Aaron Davis, and a number of local officials and professionals.

Perry spoke first of the vibrant history of the neighborhood as the city's Jazz scene, and of the hard work that went into getting this store off the ground--work she's been doing to get grocery options into the area for a very long time.

The new store, she said, "brings the fresh, wholesome, food at affordable prices that people deserve," in an under-served region of the city that has seen its residents have to travel miles out of the area just to get groceries. Additionally, Perry has strived to have affordable housing in the neighborhood, and with Fresh & Easy serving as a key tenant in this mixed-use location first identified for development by the British-based company two years ago, South L.A. is continuing to make improvements towards revitalization.

A long line of eager patrons snaked along the sidewalk alongside the storefront's tall windows, and once the ribbon was cut they began to file into the store and to fill their baskets and carts. The store is similar in design, philosophy, and layout as the others in the chain, so patrons will find there the company's typical wider aisles, focus on savings without compromising quality, and a staff of about twenty employees--many of whom are bilingual as well as local. While the items are the same, shoppers will appreciate that the quantity of certain items, for example a staple such as hominy, will be greater in this store in order to better serve the Hispanic population.

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As a neighborhood store, this new Fresh & Easy hopes to become a part of the neighborhood itself, and will continue to focus their marketing efforts on building their customer base from the immediate surrounding area. Having broken ground on the location in July 2008, residents have been waiting for the store to open eagerly, and while just recently a Superior market opened up a few blocks away, there remains an obvious need for grocery stores to serve the local population.

Families with infants dozing in strollers, elderly ladies and gentlemen, local business owners, and many locals reflected the spirit and diversity of the area as they trickled down the new aisles and sampled items being served at the built-in station called the Kitchen Table. Employees helped shoppers use the self-checkout lanes, and many people were leaving with new canvas bags--hopefully to return to fill them again with groceries soon.

A Fresh & Easy opened today in Whittier, and four more stores are scheduled to open up in April.

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