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The Fresh Market Opens Oct.14th in Westport, CT

Below is a reprint of the article announcing The Fresh Market opening at the Village Center in Westport, CT, exclusively represented by Angel Commercial.

SECTION C, BUSINESS SECTION, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2009

Merchants await Fresh Market

By Richard Lee
STAFF WRITER

The arrival of a North Carolina-based grocery chain in a space formerly occupied by a Shaw’s supermarket may boost the fortunes of other stores at the 40-year-old shopping center on the Post Road East in Westport.  Tenants have been awaiting the Oct. 14 opening of The Fresh Market store in the 22,600-square-foot anchor space at 605 Post Road E. since they learned that the chain was coming several months ago.

“We’re thrilled. They’re making the whole shopping center more upscale. We need a grocery store here. It will increase our traffic,” said Nancy Joseph, a partner in LCR Gifts, which moved to the shopping plaza from Playhouse Square in Westport in early August after learning the grocery store was coming to the center. “People are excited and can’t wait for it to open,” Joseph said, adding that her shop’s offering of china, crystal, gifts, a bridal registry and interior design services will benefit from the increased traffic.

Other recent arrivals at the plaza are Little Gym and Mike’s Pizza, leaving one vacant space, said Brett Sherman, senior vice president of Fairfield-based Angel Commercial LLC, which represents the center’s owner, Roseville Estates, an entity of Kowalsky Brothers Inc.

Shaw’s vacated the space in January, and interest in the property was nearly immediate, according to Sherman, who said Stop & Shop and Big Y expressed interest, but The Fresh Market was ideally suited for the site. “No one operates a small-box supermarket like The Fresh Market. They were searching the market,” he said, adding that the chain signed a long-term lease. Kowalsky Brothers and Fresh Market spent about $3 million to upgrade the space.  The Fresh Market will bring 90 jobs to the region.

It is fashioned after old-world European markets, said Craig Carlock, president and chief executive officer. The store will offer 30 freshly baked breads and 12 varieties of pies baked daily. It will have a full-service meat and seafood counter and offer more than 200 imported and domestic cheeses. Its produce department will have more than 400 items and a large organic selection. “The smell of freshly brewed coffee and bread right out of the oven, the sound of classical music, soft lighting with antique decor in an intimate setting, and the ability to select and taste fresh, high-quality products all work together to create the feel of several ‘fresh’ markets all under one roof,” said Carlock in a statement. Those familiar with the chain, which has 91 stores in 17 states in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States, as well as Hingham, Mass., are excited about its arrival, said Ted Hampe, senior vice president of Prudential Commercial Real Estate in Westport. Shaw’s employees were members of Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. The Fresh Market store is a non-union operation. Members of the local will be there early Oct. 14 to demonstrate their opposition to The Fresh Market employing non-union workers.
“It (The Fresh Market) is going to have a picket line in front of it because it doesn’t pay their area standard wages and benefits represented by our union,” said Local 371 President Brian Petronella, who expects picketers to demonstrate through New Year’s Day. He said the local will not try to organize the Fresh Market staff.

© 2009, Southern CT. Newspapers, Inc.