Getting Fresh Easily in the Valley

November 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
More than two decades have passed since a grocery store has been available to residents in the heart of Downtown Fresno. In two months one will finally open.Fresh and Easy just started accepting job applications online. Inside there is nothing on the shelves or in the fridges just yet ... come January that will change.

"I'm actually going to give this to you. It's got our website which is FreshandEasy.com" said an employee to Coppins Carew.

Carew needs a job. He's been looking for work for several months now. "The bills and stuff are popping up and we're kind of in debt," he said.

Friday, the new Fresh and Easy grocery store in Downtown Fresno caught his eye.

Carew said, "I saw the sign and thought, 'Oh I have to stop.'"

Like the name suggests, the store offers fresh food- no preservatives or artificial flavors- all at reasonable prices. Construction on this location began August last year. It is still not open, but council members Lee Brand and Cynthia Sterling received the full tour.

"This is on a level where you wouldn't normally get this in an inner city. So this is great," said Sterling.

Four stores are opening in the Valley ... the first in Lemoore.

Resident Michael Brown said, "We've been waiting for it to open up for the longest. We've heard a lot about it. We've heard a lot of people talk about it."

Clovis will have one and Fresno will have two.

"With these stores we are proud that we will be able to create 125 good paying quality jobs in these neighborhoods," said C.E.O. Tim Mason.

Mason said each store hires at least 20 employees. The recession slowed construction on these neighborhood markets but developers and city leaders hope now that they are complete they can feed the local economy.

Councilmember Lee Brand said, "There's no silver bullet out there. Nothing in and of it's self is going to change it. It's a collection, a cumulative long term effort, a focused effort, to eventually put it together."

Lemoore store opens December 2nd. Clovis and Fresno stores open January 13th. Around Christmas owners will announce the locations for three more new stores in the Valley.

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