A North Carolina-based, European-style specialty market is eyeing Edgewood Plaza to launch its first West Coast store.
Representatives from The Fresh Market attended Monday evening's Edgewood Eats, a near-weekly public gathering of food-trucks at Edgewood organized by residents last year to create a positive attraction at the defunct neighborhood shopping center.
Hundreds of people showed up at the event, with long lines for lobster rolls, Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisine and barbecue. Two parking lots and street parking were filled to capacity, leaving hungry truck-food connoisseurs in a holding pattern for parking spaces.
An anonymous source said Fresh Market representatives were impressed. Edgewood's developer, John Tze, has not returned phone calls regarding the potential deal and a Fresh Market spokeswoman said the company could not comment on the status of any potential market at Edgewood at this time.
The Fresh Market has 101 stores in 20 states from Massachusetts to Arkansas and west to Illinois. Ten more stores will open soon, according to the company website. It offers fresh produce and meats, specialty food products, a bakery and coffee bar, among other amenities.
The company issued an IPO in November 2010 and listed fiscal-year sales increases of 13 percent, on a net income of $22.9 million, according to its Feb. 23 report.
Duveneck-St. Francis and Crescent Park neighborhoods discussed the potential market during the Edgewood Eats event.
"I often attend, but went last night on purpose to support the idea of a market. We've gotten delightful, and different, food there. I do hope the folks from the potential market were encouraged," Duveneck resident Julie Jerome said.
Trudy Andresen agreed.
"Having a market down the street will be wonderful; the fact it would be fresh health oriented food items is fantastic. To have a viable and alive shopping plaza again will be a dream come true," she said.
Crescent Park resident Amy Wardwell Kacher said she has attended all but one Edgewood Eats and loves the local community vibe.
"I really tried to spread the word about last night's Edgewood Eats because I feel that a grocery store, such as Fresh Market, would be a magnet for local shopping and would attract other retailers.
"I feel that Edgewood Plaza will have a loyal community following once redeveloped. Having life at that shopping center really ignites the spirit of the surrounding neighborhoods," she said.
Sandy Voorhees, another Duveneck neighbor, said she has heard positive reviews about Fresh Market.
"My husband and I went to Edgewood last night to partake of all the wonderful food. We also went because we feel a strong need to have a grocery store there.
"I had the email regarding the get together forwarded to the teachers at Duveneck. One of the teachers there has family on the East Coast and said that the store is wonderful and it is the only place her family will shop.
"She said it is the middle store between Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. We definitely need a grocery store there and it sounds perfect," Voorhees said.