Edgewood market holds soft opening

Full-service grocery store provides services residents have long missed

Jessie Trujillo, also known as "the cheese lady," offers samples and recommendations to customers at The Market at Edgewood on the store's opening day, Dec. 1, 2017. Photo by Veronica Weber.

The new and long-awaited grocery store at Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center in Palo Alto finally opened on Friday afternoon, to the joy of shoppers and nearby residents.

Called The Market at Edgewood, the new store fills a nearly three-year void left after The Fresh Market, the anchor store at the renovated shopping center at 2080 Channing Ave. abruptly closed in March 2015.

In June, the Mutlu family, owners of Crystal Springs Produce in San Mateo, signed on as a new grocer, with developer Sand Hill Property Company putting up $300,000 in financing to seal the deal.

The new store held a soft opening at 2 p.m., and by 4:30 p.m. its aisles were filled with neighbors who were hugging one another and filling their shopping carts with fresh produce, meat and deli items.

Shannon Murphy and Gus Alcazar exited with two brimming grocery bags.

"We love it," Murphy said, adding they moved to the neighborhood two-and-a-half years ago when The Fresh Market was already closed. The new market stocks a good selection of organic, vegetarian and gluten-free products, she said.

Inside, large bins of fresh fruit and vegetables have replaced the many bins of candy and dried snacks that greeted customers in The Fresh Market. Mustafa Mutlu, one of the owners, said in June that the store would offer the kind of produce the family is known for at its Crystal Springs store.

On Friday, he realized that promise with five kinds of eggplant, bins of potatoes, tomatoes, Asian and Indian greens and squash, a variety of pears, apples, grapes, mushrooms and specialty produce, from Buddha's hand fingered citron to cherimoya.

There's also an olive bar, full-service deli, bakery and meat and fish departments.

"It's beautiful. I can’t imagine putting this all together," said shopper Micki Cardelli. She said the prices seem reasonable.

Palo Alto resident Sea Reddy said he gives the store "a 10." He found the staff friendly, and he is glad they hired Isabella Cosentino, of the family that used to run Cosentino's Market in San Jose, to manage the deli and bakery.

Some customers said they were concerned when they heard the store would not have low prices like a Trader Joe’s. But they said Friday they were pleasantly surprised to see that many prices are in line with other places where they shop.

"It’s very exciting to see. The prices are better than I thought they would be," Colleen Nielsen said.

David Markowitz and Eric Nielsen agreed that the new owners took a page from The Fresh Market, offering many of the same specialty and high-quality items.

"It's clear this was an operation model that made sense," Nielsen said.

He and Markowitz noted that The Fresh Market pulled out because the company decided to focus on its East Coast stores, although the Edgewood store was profitable.

"It's clear that the last owner helped them to understand the customer base here," Nielsen added.

He said he spent a lot of money at The Fresh Market every week.

Priya Rao and her mother, Nirmala Keshwain, were pleased by the selection of South Indian produce, including a long, pale green squash they call white pumpkin, bitter gourd, fresh fenugreek leaves and a long, bean-like vegetable called "drumsticks" that is prepared with lentils. Rao said the drumsticks are rare in American markets.

Aydin Kyazim, one of the grocery store's owners, said he is pleased with the response.

"It's been coming along pretty good so far. We've already got our first five-star review on Yelp," he said.

Emel Mutlu, another co-owner, said the store would now concentrate on working out the kinks. A grand opening is planned for January.

"The biggest feedback we have gotten is the quality of the produce, its freshness and the prices," she said. Other thumbs-ups have been given to the meat section and bakery. About 75 percent of the deli items are made on site, as well as nearly all of the bakery items, she added.

The store also stocks a selection of beer, wine and spirits; dairy, pastas and grains; canned goods and condiments; and home products such as soaps and detergents.

"We're going for a grocery that strikes a balance between international brands and things that people express they want,” she said.

There are not a lot of conventional brands, but the owners say they are listening to customers. Some people want items such as Pepsi, Coke and Cheetos.

"We are hearing a bit about that. We are hearing, and we will try it and see if it works," she said.


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5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2017 at 8:41 am

I am pleased that this place is now open and look forward to trying it sometime when I am in the area.

[Portion removed.]

7 people like this
Posted by cvvhrn
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

cvvhrn is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Edgewood Fan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 2, 2017 at 10:49 am

[Post removed.]

16 people like this
Posted by Ted
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2017 at 10:53 am

Let’s see how the market is doing in 6 months after the “newness” wears off. For me, Safeway in Menlo Park has everything I need.

33 people like this
Posted by Tod
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 2, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Talk about a useless comparison. The two stores are miles apart and there's very thick traffic in between. For the rest of the world that's not near that Safeway, alternatives are important.

10 people like this
Posted by Summer
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 2, 2017 at 1:48 pm

To Tod, where did Ted say he was comparing the two stores!? He just stated that Safeway was better for his needs. Oh, there is a Safeway in Mt View too.

21 people like this
Posted by Jeff Cashdollar
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Let's not get all caught up in negative "press". This is a new store, a new beginning, no need to compare it to other stores who came and went. I have been a long time customer of Isabella Cosentino, at her parents famous Cosentino store in Campbell. I am so thrilled that The Market at Edgewood brought her onto their team...we are all so very lucky to have her on their team. You will not find a better baker in town. You will not find the quality of her baked items at Safeway, Lucky's, Wholefoods, etc. When I went to the store today, the bakery stand was crowded with well wishers, new customers, old time customers and trying free samples, and picking up all kind of goodies. Today I picked up Isabella's famous German Chocolate Cake, Turtle Cake, Apple Kuchen, Peacan Pie Bars, Honey Butter....her stuff is that good. She should have gone onto one of those baking reality shows...she would win hands down. The store is beautiful, well lighted, and walking through the fruit section you could smell all of the different smells from the freshest fruit. The cheese counter was filled to the brim with wonderful samples. I will need to take the time to explore the store when I go back next week, even though I always seem to head straight to the cake counter first.

6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Jessie Trujillo's face is familiar. Where did she work before?

So glad to have the grocery store again, and glad that they will sell some mainstream items too.

The bins of candy at The Fresh Market took valuable real estate and Palo Altans are not high on candy. Kids at Duveneck scoff at junk food. I gave my daughter a huge, soft pretzel for lunch (yeah, nothing else in the house) and some fruit and some girls told her it was junk food. It's tough being a Palo Alto parent, for a variety of reasons. I laughed when a mom emailed a class group chat, "We are looking for a parent to bring a healthy snack for the class Halloween celebration" and another mom replied, "Does it really have to be healthy? I'd love to bring in cookies or something fun, but I don't do healthy :) "

I am disorganized so it's nice to see that I can run nearby to one-stop shopping for dinner. This is great news!

15 people like this
Posted by Ken
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 2, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Prices have to be along the lines of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods or it will go out of business just like the last store...

21 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 2, 2017 at 9:35 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Ken - What does that even mean? Whole Foods is the most expensive market in town (or near it), and TJs is one of the cheapest. It's like saying car needs to be priced like a BMW, or a Kia.

8 people like this
Posted by Cheech
a resident of Triple El
on Dec 2, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Glad to see a new market!

11 people like this
Posted by Commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 3, 2017 at 2:52 am

Here we go again highfalutin Palo Alto crowd sipping Silicon from paper cups looking for Trader Joe pricing ! you people are so predictable... you forced the developer to open a grocery as part of this site approval for the project but then won’t shop there unless they subsidize your family’s budget with low prices .

15 people like this
Posted by cheeseguy
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 3, 2017 at 8:29 am

I took a look last night and I was reasonably impressed. In fact, on day 2 (still in soft opening phase) it's better than the market it replaced. Thankfully, we no longer have to encounter aisles of candy. The produce section is superb, with a wide selection of fruit and vegetables that are fresh and well displayed. Many of the apples were available for sampling and the prices were quite good (under $2 a pound for Honeycrisp apples, that price competes with Costco and undercuts everything else in town). A nice employee was giving out samples of Poke that were quite good and the meat department looked solid.
Ok, it's only day 2, but on day 2 I can say that the cheese department (nothing artisanal in sight) cannot compete with Piazza's in terms of quality. It would be nice if they carried Barilla or DeCecco pasta, though the Rummo brand they sell is a fine alternative.
Anyhow, it may actually be a destination market for produce and fruit, which is more than you can say for any other market in this town. Good luck to them!

9 people like this
Posted by Sea Redfy
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm

It's a great place.

I score as an A+ or 1 to 10 scale a 10.

Nice products nice owners nice employees all together.

It's done well.

The Edgewood shopping center is refreshing. The Starbucks has great ergonomic seating;the chase bank; Chinese food bagels gas station etc.

Great job sandhill properties City Hall and the new owners neighborhood​ Al a refreshing change.

We have it good. Let's nurture it.


11 people like this
Posted by Andy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 3, 2017 at 3:55 pm

So happy to have the Market. Fabulous selection of produce, beautifully displayed (and some unusual items you can not get at TJs. Fresh fish and meat that all looks perfect. Amazing cheese department, with free sampling. Fresh sushi that's cheaper than take out. And mouth watering bakery.
Oh, let's not forget how service oriented the staff is.
I wold gladly pay a premium for this... and it's cheaper that Whole Foods, with wider aisles.

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Stopped in today around 5:00 and it was busy. Surprised that it's just like Fresh Market with the same floor plan but no candy bins and they still have the floral section up front. The produce and meat were fresh. So glad it's open!

Like this comment
Posted by Julia Chernykh
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2017 at 6:52 am

This is good news! But I continue to follow the idea that e-commerce marketplace is a future of business! I have recently read this article and I recommend that everyone read it:Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2017 at 7:30 am

Oh dang ... I've seen the lights on and the windows cleared of the
brown paper, but I guess I missed the opening. I am glad to hear
this though. It's been forever. Good luck Market at Edgewood, I
will be there to support you.

> He and Markowitz noted that The Fresh Market pulled out because
> the company decided to focus on its East Coast stores, although
> the Edgewood store was profitable.

I guess I am a little cynical these days, but did anyone actually have
to prove that the Fresh Market was profitable and that this was not
just claim that would bring other well meaning companies in to help
Sand Hill Properties? I'd want to see the numbers and maybe tax
returns before I put so much at risk.

> We've already got our first five-star review on Yelp

Thus the problem with Yelp and online reviews. People are so emotional
and personal. You cannot review a review a business that is not even
fully open that you went to one time. How is that fair to anyone? Fresh
Market was considerably different on its first and last days ... remember?

I'll get my hopes up and wish for the best I am so glad that something
has worked out and opened here. Can't wait to check it out!

What happens with Sand Hill Properties and their responsibility toward this
building, shopping center and the neighborhood?

5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2017 at 7:40 am

>> Safeway in Menlo Park has everything I need.

But have you ever had to use the restrooms in Safeway?
All the local Safeway stores have the worst restrooms in
the whole area, and no matter the number of complaints
they never get any better. From Mountain View to Redwood
City Safeway is the least hygienic supermarket I've ever
been in.

One really nice thing about Fresh Market was the restrooms
if the need arose were always clean and functional.

Maybe if we all complain en masse about Safeway they will
actually do something ... I hope someone is reading this.

8 people like this
Posted by easong
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2017 at 7:55 am

This store is in a great location for us commuters, way better than the WF downtown. Looking forward to trying it out, hopefully it's better staffed at rush hour than Fresh Market was which ended up being a deal breaker for me -- I might overpay for that onion but not if you make me wait in line 10 mins to pay for it.

5 people like this
Posted by allen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2017 at 11:45 am

Fresh Market made money. One of the few of their expansion stores to do so. They left because their expansion to the west coast failed, not because the Palo Alto store failed. It is a good location and I look forward to stopping there on my way home some day -- right off 101. For people who live near it, you have to value your time very low to drive to Safeway and save a couple of dollars, assuming this store has everything you need. I live probably midway between the two safeways and this new store. TJs is closer but you just can't compare TJ to the others.

That said, I look forward to the day when our city council looks after the interest of the residents and not the developers and these "community benefit" projects stop. We seldom see the benefit but always suffer the consequences.

18 people like this
Posted by I like TJs, but ...
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm

I love TJs and it's my main place to shop, but i have to admit -- i prefer to see and get my produce fresh and whole, not chopped up in bags, so i also go to other stores for certain veggies and fruits.

7 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Just stopped in ... I'm a happy camper. Yes, the set up is similar to FM --- but that makes total sense it that they probably purchased all of the displays for pennies on the dollar, if not for free.

Besides the wonder produce on display, the deli foods (prepared dishes) and the butcher counter were fantastic.

I'm looking forward to re-patronizing the Edgewood grocery again!

PS: I was there at 11:30 and found plenty of parking available. The store had 3 registers open and about 7 customers in line with at least dozen more around the store. Not bad for a store that hasn't officially opened yet.

4 people like this
Posted by Duveneck Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Love the store!

I don't think I will ever go to Safeway again. Well, maybe once a month or two for a few items I may need.

1 person likes this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2017 at 4:28 pm

We've been waiting for this and happy that it has finally become a reality. However still concerned that lack of parking can do it in. Perhaps a consideration of converting the frontage road section between Embarcadero and Channing into additional parking. Removing the roadway and extending parking over that entire area might make it all more viable.

4 people like this
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm

@allen and others:

"Fresh Market made money. One of the few of their expansion stores to do so."

We have heard this but I am not sure how complete a picture that is. I often had the experience of going to Fresh Market, not finding everything I needed, and then going over to Safeway. I found myself leaving FM with few patrons in the store, and then entering a very packed Safeway.

This is important for two reasons:

1. The Market at Edgewood needs to think about its stocks and prices very carefully. Customers will not form the habit of going if they find that their needs are not met and they have to make extra trips elsewhere.
2. The residents cannot assume that the success of this market is taken for granted. We have many examples of neighborhood markets that failed. If we want the new market to succeed, we have to patronize it fully and enthusiastically.

Thanks for listening!

3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2017 at 5:10 pm

So glad for you people and little envious . College Terrace Market isn't struggling, it is in death throughs. It was almost willfully mismanaged. Well, was kind of predictable.

4 people like this
Posted by allen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm

My understanding was that Fresh Market did a huge lunch business. But I read they were not closed because they were not doing well. As I recall, Fresh Market left the west coast in two stages and Palo Alto survived the first cut of non profitable stores. They clearly didn't know the customer base what with that famous candy isle is such a tiny store.

I just got back from the market. We bought Susi and it was wonderful. God some of the fresh produce and it was reasonable. Grapes were cheaper than Safeway, Peppers more expensive but twice the size. But beer at $17 a six pack, OMG -- thank goodness for Costco.

6 people like this
Posted by Happy neighbor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Just left a 5-Star Yelp review for The Market are Edgewood. Hope others do the same!

5 people like this
Posted by Jack O
a resident of Triple El
on Dec 4, 2017 at 7:05 pm

We checked it out Monday around dinner time, looking for a hot entree. The produce was certainly good, and we did buy meat balls for dinner.

Overall, I think we will patronize it mostly when we don't want to cook dinner, so a wider selection of hot main dishes would encourage us to shop there. Once we're there for the dinner selection we would generally, as tonight, also shop for other items.

3 people like this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2017 at 10:19 pm

Regarding parking, many, many commuters use the parking lot as a park-and-ride for car pooling. Easy access to 101. Probably plenty of parking after commute time, but I’ve had trouble going there day time. I love the bagel place, and the Shanghai Chinese food is tops. Wish I lived closer.

4 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 5, 2017 at 4:28 am

I just tried this market today for the first time. It is very nice. Very decent prices,
that I think are introductory prices and not going to last long. The fruit and
produce looked nice. I did not see as many juices as Fresh Market had, and
the bread selection was small, but they are just setting up. Friendly staff and
checkers. Very nice.

They solved the parking problem by putting 30 minute limits on at least the ones
that are along the right side of the market. The only problem I had was on the
way out a car was just sitting there in the middle of the parking lot waiting for a
space not letting anyone else get in or out.

Looking forward to shopping regularly here for certain things. I think they said
their real opening was going to be January 10th.

2 people like this
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 6, 2017 at 7:30 am

Price check: the least expensive gallon of regular milk: $6.79, one dozen organic eggs: $8.79, One pound Challenge butter: $5.25, six pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: $11.99 + tax. The list goes on.

2 people like this
Posted by Lynne
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm

I am glad to see that others were pleased with the store. Although I don't share their opinion, I will shop there as I live 2 blocks away. I am glad to see any grocery store finally opened. I did not like Fresh Market. There never seemed to be many shoppers, thus meat and fish sat there too long for me to risk buying. They wasted lots of space on candy and flowers. The deli was horrible.
The new store seems to have greatly improved the deli! However, wine selection is very small and horribly overpriced. A bottle of Edna Valley Chardonnay sells for 9 to 10 dollars at Safeway. At this market it was $15.00.

I hope for the best but it seems to have replicated a lot of the same problems as Fresh Market with their product selections. Perhaps they are buying from the same sources?

4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm

If they had a good hot food selection (like Piazza's but cheaper) so people could pick up dinner, that would be helpful. I will go there for meal items, not regular shopping. They should focus on meals instead of having so much wine, paper goods, cleaning supplies and one-stop shopping. It cannot compete with a large Safeway or Target, so why try? It's should be a niche market.

4 people like this
Posted by Resident of Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm

I stopped by after getting off 101 on my way home. I generally liked what I saw. Bought some produce, meat, a few staples, smoked fish. The selection of fresh produce was excellent. Some of the fish looked a little tired but this is a problem in stores around here, even the really high end ones. There is no perfect market; each has its good points and downsides. Depending on what I want I shop at Piazzas, Whole Foods, Sigonas, Safeway, Draegers, occassionally Trader Joes but not a big fan, and Costco. I would definitely shop here again.

4 people like this
Posted by Michal
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 6, 2017 at 4:36 pm

I'm so happy to have the option of avoiding downtown traffic and parking issues. Today I stopped by Whole foods on my way home from the Stanford area around 1:30 pm and found parking so difficult that I decided to head all the way over to this market for the first time instead. I was pleased at what I saw and plan to shop there often. To Ken who said this will go out of business like the last one, you don't know the story. Fresh Market was doing well in that location but not in other parts of California. Being an East Coast operation it decided to close down all it's stores in California since only that one was making a profit.

3 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@ Michal - "Fresh Market was doing well in that location"

Anyone who ever shopped there knows that isn't true. It was largely empty most of the time. You have eager neighborhood advocates making the claim, which has been repeated and re-posted so many times it seems to have been transmogrified into fact. Fresh Market has NEVER publicly said it was profitable, and there is no reason to think it could have been. The most we got was that it was meeting expectations, but we don't know what those were (profitable in 5 yrs?).

5 people like this
Posted by Chong
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2017 at 9:34 pm

What’s wrong with candy bro?

3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

^ Ask Rocket Fizz.

3 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 7, 2017 at 11:07 am

I think the prices are generally good. It is unreasonable to think a regional store will have the lowest price on everything. Walmart doesn't even have that. I doubt they are targeting the buy in bulk wine folk. Instead, if you are running to a friend's for dinner or need to grab a bottle of wine, of course you are going to pay a couple of bucks more.

I think it is a great option and plan to shop there regularly. There were a few items I need to go to other stores, but I think that is expected.

2 people like this
Posted by Pam
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Haven't had a chance to visit The Market but I can't wait! The last two times I went to Safeway in Menlo Park I was hugely disappointed. I wanted to make split pea or bean soup. Not only did they not have any ham hocks, there were NO dried beans or split peas to be found anywhere. When I went to complain, there was no manager on site. Safeway in Menlo Park needs to pick up its game! Piazza's is my favorite store so far...The Market sounds wonderful, and it's much closer to my house.

5 people like this
Posted by Hoping for Improvements
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm

I've visited this market three times now, and while I understand it's still in soft-launch mode, it needs vast improvement to become my regular store. If I need to go to Piazza at all, then there's no point coming here unless I need a carton of milk or a bottle of wine for dinner.

Produce section is definitely very fresh, which is expected since the market just opened. Lots of variety, and very impressive.

I agree with a previous poster that the cheese selection needs to be revamped. The offerings are more akin to what you'd find in Safeway, not a higher end store. Suggest The Market look at the offerings at Whole Foods, Draeger's and Piazza for ideas.

Meat section is mixed. The NY strips we got were great, but the pre-marinated skewers not so much. Many of the pieces turned out to be fatty and chewy.

Prices in general seem on par with Piazza.

2 people like this
Posted by Lynne
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2017 at 12:27 pm

I'm still glad it is there, but it appears to have replicated some of the same product selection issues as Fresh Market. For example, I was making hamburgers for dinner. Guess what? No hamburger buns or any type of rolls that could be used for this purpose. While they prepared many fresh, unusual breads, they ignored baking the obvious. Do I want to then drive to Safeway for a roll?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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