SURREY — Following a summer of store-reconstruction work, the second Fresh St. Market location in Surrey will open on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
The food store, operated by longtime B.C. retailer H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd., will do business at Panorama Village shopping mall.
It’s located on the northwest corner of 152nd Street and Highway 10, near Tong Louie Family YMCA.
The 23,000-square-foot space was previously occupied by a franchised IGA store, which closed last February.
A Fresh St. Market store opened in the Fleetwood area in December of 2013, a year after the opening of the retailer’s flagship store in West Vancouver.
At Panorama Village, the Now was given a tour of the store on Friday (Sept. 23), less than two weeks before opening day.
The look and feel of the store is more in line with a public market than a traditional grocery store, with greater emphasis on fresh foods than dry goods.
(PICTURED: Empty bins in the produce area. Photo: Tom Zillich)
“This store is slightly larger than our Fleetwood store but similar in concept, of course,” said Mark McCurdy, the company’s general manager of marketing and brand development.
“What we want is to have all our fresh products together, which includes the produce, the bakery, the meat, deli, seafood, a grill, soups, a sandwich bar, sushi counter, cheeses – all that near each other,” he added.
The sign above the store’s Highway 10 Deli reflects the company’s desire to name its delis after a nearby street, McCurdy said.
“That allows for a bit more of a public-market feel, where people feel like they’re going to a store within a store. Also, the staff take ownership of that location, that part of the store, and they feel pride in taking care of that location.”
The Fresh Cup Coffee shop is operated by a partner merchant, he explained.
(PICTURED: Signs for peppers to be sold. Photo: Tom Zillich)
“We’ve partnered together so he has a little footprint here, in a store-within-a-store concept,” McCurdy said. “There’s that, and the sushi is operated by a sushi company, actually, and we’re also looking at some other future partnerships, other concepts we’re working on, with other partners coming in, to be able to offer customers something a little different than they’d find elsewhere.”
The store’s “icon piece,” he said, will be a farm windmill positioned above the grill area, in the middle of everything.
“We want to use that for all of our stores to sort of connect us back to the origin of food, the farm,” McCurdy said. “And of course here in Surrey, we’re really close to those farms.”
The opening of the store was delayed by about six weeks, to allow for reconstruction of the parking lot.
“The landlord was kind enough to extend the parking and build it out, on a level surface, so we could have more available parking for our customers,” McCurdy said. “They’re redeveloping this area of the mall, including new roofs. They’re investing in the mall itself.”
(PICTURED: The sandwich shop, with chops and seafood counters in the background. Photo: Tom Zillich)
The store is managed by Grace MacInnes, a high-level curler who previously worked at the company’s Fleetwood store.
“Around here,” she said, “people are really excited, just talking to them in the shops, and they just want us to open. Some of them have seen Fresh St. in Fleetwood, so a lot of them are familiar with the Fresh concept, and we’re unique in this community.”
The retail chain’s “Click & Collect” refrigerated locker system, which allows customers to order groceries online and have them stored for pickup, will be coming to Panorama store over the next month or two, McCurdy said.
Customers who use the system are sent a text with a code to their smartphone, once the order is ready for pickup. The customer punches in the code at the locker, the locker opens and the customer collects their pre-ordered items. The cost to rent a locker is $3.99.
McCurdy said the company loves the Highway 10 location as a home for its third Fresh St. Market store, located in a Bentall Kennedy-managed mall owned by Investors Group.
“It’s a great opportunIty for us, taking advantage of a location on the Highway 10 corridor, and it’s not that far of a drive here from Morgan Creek and Cloverdale,” he said. “It’s a combination of being a neighbourhood store and also a destination store for this area. We feel the same about the store in Fleetwood, where customers will drive along 160th Street from Fraser Heights to shop there.”
(PICTURED: Fresh Cup Coffee shop and produce area. Photo: Tom Zillich)