Long-awaited Fresh Market opens in Edgewood Plaza | June 7, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 7, 2013

Long-awaited Fresh Market opens in Edgewood Plaza

After a decade of controversy, customers eagerly welcome the gourmet grocery store

by Karishma Mehrotra

On the opening day of the gourmet grocery store Fresh Market in the renovated Edgewood Plaza, there was one word on people's minds: "Finally."

After a year of watching construction and seven years after the old Albertsons closed, Karen Snow said she nearly cried walking into the store on Wednesday morning.

"We've been waiting forever for this because it's been a mess down here," said Snow, who lives nearby. "It's beautiful."

The relief makes sense, as the plaza in Palo Alto's Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood has been a hot bed of contention throughout the past decade. Fresh Market's opening marks the first phase of revitalization of the deserted plaza, after Redwood City-based Sand Hill Property Company spent years negotiating an agreement with neighborhood residents on its historical value (the plaza was Joseph Eichler's only commercial development).

Even after a plan was settled — to build 10 homes, a small park and a new grocery store — it was delayed when a contractor demolished a historical building that had been slated for preservation.

Putting all the fuss behind them, customers reveled at the much-anticipated grocery store on Wednesday morning. They sipped from sample cups of house-blended coffee while ogling a large produce section with labels for local (100 miles away) and regional (300 miles away) food. The bakery featured 30 different breads and 14 different pies, the cheese section more than 200 domestic and imported varieties all cut and packaged in the store. There was an old-fashioned candy aisle, a 40-foot-long freezer of freshly ground and cut meats, a bulk department of nuts, seeds, dried fruits and grind-your-own nutter butter, a wine and bar section and more.

Many also came in time for the market's traditional cheese-cracking ceremony, in which the store's cheese vendor cracked a 95-pound wheel of Reggiano Parmigiano cheese to celebrate opening instead of a ribbon-cutting.

The 132nd Fresh Market has hired 90 new employees, many of them stationed at the sample booths scattered throughout the 21,600-square-foot store on Wednesday, giving customers complete information about samples of steak, chutney and more.

Drewry Sackett, manager of PR and community relations for Fresh Market, said this is the type of store where, if a customer is hesitant about buying a certain bag of chips, the staff will pop open a sample bag just for them.

"It's a little bit different than a traditional supermarket," she said. "It's a little bit more of an intimate setting ... an old-world, European feel. We try to really serve as a true neighborhood market."

Sackett said the store hosts multiple specials, such as "foodie Friday" and "buy-one-get-one Tuesday," that customers can discover through the store's email newsletters.

Alissa Picker, who grew up down the street, has always thought that her neighborhood lacked a grocery store.

"We've waited a long time for this," Picker said. "It exceeds my expectations. It's visually lovely and it has a variety that will suit everyone and a friendly staff and plenty of parking."

She came to the opening with her two longtime best friends, one of whom has been ranting and raving about the Fresh Market she used to shop at in the South.

"I have known about this store coming for a long time, and I was super, super-excited to introduce my friends to Fresh Market," Amy Hsieh said. For her, the best part is the customer service; employees greet people by name.

"They want to come into a neighborhood and they want to be a part of the community," Hsieh said.

Jeff Gordon, regional director of operations for Fresh Market, has opened 50 stores in 25 years and said that he's found that this type of enthusiasm is common. Customers are drawn to Fresh Market because of the atmosphere and attention to detail and service, he said.

"We want customers to have a shopping experience here as if they were a guest in a home," he said. "We're really in the people business. We just happen to sell good food."

Customer Cecily Coetsee said she likes the store's selection, atmosphere and more, but has one qualm.

"I don't appreciate the prices. The prices are all much too expensive," she said.

Given that complaint, Coetsee still admitted that her shopping bag would end up filled with food.

Other customers, including Snow, Picker and Hsieh, said Fresh Market's prices are comparable to other grocery stores'.

As part of the celebration Wednesday morning 1,000 customers received a sample-sized bag of the market's house blend coffee and 3,000 received a free, reusable shopping bag. Sackett also said that customers who sign up for the market's newsletter will be in the running for a $100 gift card.

The North Carolina-based chain has one other California location in Roseville and will be opening two more stores in Sacramento as well as ones in Santa Barbara, Laguna Hills, Yorba Linda and Elk Grove.

Fresh Market is located at 2170 West Bayshore Road, Palo Alto. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Editorial Intern Karishma Mehrotra can be emailed at kmehrotra@paweekly.com.


Posted by Larry, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 6, 2013 at 10:15 am

Wow! Fresh Market gives you a very good feeling just walking in the door. Fresh flowers, wide aisles, very inviting arrangements.

We just dropped by for a look, gladly picked up a few things, and received a complementary shopping bag at checkout.

Terrific first impression.

Posted by Green Bean, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2013 at 10:35 am

After visiting this market that is a beautiful productive benefit to the community...I couldn't help resent the few small minded, selfish neighbors that held it up for so long!

Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2013 at 11:23 am

Still missing Miki's every day and a bit envious that you folks in that neighborhood now have a wonderful market. Congrats!

I suspect Miki's will stand vacant for a really long time since the developer snaked his way through to get what he wanted.

No incentive (or penalty that I know of) for it now being occupied with a great market... just another vacant building like we had for years before.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2013 at 11:23 am

Looking forward to doing some shopping there today. Spouse & I were so happy it's opened that we read parts of this article aloud to each other. For those of us who have good childhood memories of Draeger's, this store may be similar for us. And w/the local options, sounds like Mrs. Patmore of Downton Abbey would be thrilled!

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2013 at 11:28 am

The big question is whether it will survive or whether it will be another Mikis.

I have seen no advertising and didn't realize it was open until seeing it here. It is not in a situation I pass so I am not sure how often I may visit, but I do intend to make an effort to try it soon.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2013 at 11:40 am

I highly doubt it will go the way of Miki's. Why are people so negative about this store? They have a wonderful track record, there has been media coverage pre-opening, it's certainly in a friendlier, easier to access area than Miki's & IT IS NOT MIKI'S, for pity's sake!

Since we can only avoid the giant Safeway need to shop by hitting several stores, I'm glad that this store, Costco & TJ's are all close enough to be somewhat convenient. Yes, I'm looking forward to creating "cut-through" traffic to do some shopping. With the current gang war, I don't like going to the EPA Farmer's Market, but the Collective Roots CSA boxes are a dream. Looking forward to a fresh, tasty summer & fall.

Posted by MadamPresident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm

do they sell organic there?

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I'm so glad to see something there now in that godforsaken wasteland finally!

It would be nice if some of those from the Miki's market were able to get jobs there.

It seems a bit sad that it is only open until 9pm and 8pm on Sundays.

Can't wait to stop by and take a look. I just hope the regular band of beggars and bums don't congregate outside there and sit on the sidewalk like they used to at Lucky/Albertsons.

This is great news ... and pretty darn quick too, once they decided to get moving.

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

>>> ". . . a hot bed of contention. . ."

There's a mental picture. I think you mean "hotbed."

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm

It seems that the company is going gangbusters on NASDAQ:

Web Link

I have every good wish for the success of The Fresh Market in Palo Alto, and I will stop by soon to check it out.

When there, I will speak with the store manager about my concerns that the company proudly supports JDRF, a 501 (c) (3) that tests on animals. Hopefully, by then I will have received a response from JDRF regarding their position on animal research and the welfare and monitoring of laboratory animals. (Information request sent to JDRF just now via email. I would have copied The Fresh Market, but they keep their email addresses extremely close to the vest!)

Posted by Nearby neighbor, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Though I wasn't part of the neighborhood discussions with the developer, I would like to add that neighbors' concerns really didn't delay the re-development of the plaza -- they were part of the process that all developments follow in Palo Alto, only this developer was willing to engage in dialogue and concessions from his first set of proposals that resulted in a better project and greater satisfaction all around. That's what the planning process is supposed to enable. What caused delay was the downturn in the economy. This developer cared about his development succeeding, and found a market more likely to thrive given the demographics and geography. And yes, they do have some organic food (though I'd love to see the beautiful fish and other seafood labeled as to its coincidence with the SeafoodWatch guidelines.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Ah, the nitpicking culture of Palo Alto.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Just got back from fresh market. Overall impression-- positive. Nice selection of fresh foods-- salads, seafoods, sushi, meat etc. nice little bakery as well. Not much in the way of supplies ( paper, cleaners etc) and a small frozen section. Prices not tht bad.

Bad points-- exit from the center-- there will be issues of people trying to exit va the frontage road. Today some cars in an oeffort to enter embarcadero heading towards 101 were coming out and stopping in the lanes of embarcadero towards Univeristy and waiting for an opening. I advise taking the exit that goes on to st. Francis-- at least you will have a light at st Francis and embarcadero.

The display for the registers are way behind and to the left of the checker. I had a hard time seeing the prices as they were scanned.

I guess this is the best in the way of grocery shopping that palo alto can expect-- because of the size limitations no large chain will ever build here. So we will have to make due with these boutique- type stores.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm

One other point-- the store needs to start advertising!! If I had not read the stories in the weekly and the daily post, I would not know this store was open.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Visited this afternoon.

Entrance and exit from Embarcadero not good, will put people off who are just passing rather than those who know.

Over abundance of nuts and candy (will please kids and dentists, not parents. In house baked bread, but poor selection of wrapped bread, meat and fish looked good plus lots of fancy cakes as well as plenty of cheese. Poor selection of regular groceries. Some unusual items. Hard to read the aisle labels and checkouts have a strange configuration.

Overall it is definitely a place to stop and pick up something for dinner, but not sure it would do for a week's family groceries or if I was following a specific preplanned menu or recipe. I will use it if I need a quick stop on my way home from the highway, but can't see it being my regular grocery store.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2013 at 4:22 pm

You can sign up for the weekly e-mail specials by going to www.thefreshmarket.com.

I haven't visited yet, but the reviews seem to be generally positive. I will give it a try soon!

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I just went this afternoon.

My reaction is that is it must nicer, cleaner and newer than Lucky/Albertsons'. It looks nice and I have never seen a grocery story with tile floors. I wonder with that huge slab foundation how long it will be before the slab cracks again along with those nice tile floors? It has nice lighting. They have really cute little mini carts too.

The cashiers have no light to tell you when they are working/ready yet.

They did a funny think in putting the cooler dairy section with the milk, yogurt, etc right opposite the cleaners aisle? That seemed kind of creepy to me.

There is no place to get a sandwich or much prepared food. They had a little salad bar that seemed nice.

Most of the store is aisles and aisles of the same stuff you see everywhere at about the same prices. Nothing really special.

The have single beers ... but they make you buy a whole six pack by selecting 6 of them in a cardboard carrier. The devote a lot of space to wines ... very expensive bottles ... are there really that many people who spend $40 on a bottle of wine? I guess I would consider that if when the few times I've tried it there was no real difference between the expensive and the cheap vintages so I don't bother.

"Fresh" seems like a nice place, but the vibe I got is that unless this place is smarter and adapts and finds a niche or makes a lot of friends it is not going to be able to make it here permanently. I think the reason I felt that is that there is no one thing to draw people to the store. They have almost as much as most of the other stores around here, including to dingy dirty old Midtown Safeway, but there is no one reason why I would break my habits or loyalty to go here when I can get everything else for about the same price at the newly expanded Piazzi, Whole Foods, or one of the mega-giga-Safeways, or our own seedy little Safeway that at least is by a lot of other stores.

I think it is going to be a struggle for this place. The only real reason I would go there at this point is for convenience, and it is not that convenient for most of us to turn in there and then turn out for what we can get everywhere else - and the hours are less than every other market in town.

Don't fall in love Palo Altans.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm

> Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood,
> Ah, the nitpicking culture of Palo Alto.

Well, at least most of us are nit-picking about real things and not at everyone else. HINT - have a point about something relevant please!

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

As a 38 year resident of that end of town I'd like to see pictures of the exterior as the center is rebuilt. The interior pictures, while nice, didn't satisfy my curiosity as to how that center is going to look. They could just as well be of the store I use here. I went to several meetings about Edgewood before we moved out of state in 08.

Posted by Christine, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Everyone I know is buzzing about this new market. It is everything I had hoped for and more. Looking forward to running into my neighbors there like I did on opening day. Welcome Fresh Market!!

Posted by EPAMom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

They have hired some of the Miki's employees. I went the first day and loved it. It may not have everything I need there every week, but that's OK. I will shop there regularly.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm

What exactly is a " neighborhood market"? Is that a store that does not contain everything you would need to do all of your shopping?

Posted by Sw, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I just looked at their website, and they have a nice selection of catered items you can order online and pick up at the store. I would definitely find that useful for events and parties....much more convenient then going to Costco, although I do love Costco. I have not yet visited The Fresh Marketf, but if their parking situation is decent, I will definitely shop there. I don't like driving far for my weekly and quick pickup shopping trips, so I haven't gotten hooked on one of the big Safeways yet. But I realize I am probably in the minority on that one.

Posted by Piazza Neighbor, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 6, 2013 at 10:35 pm

When is Palo Alto going to allow a decent sized supermarket to be built so we don't have to go to Mountain View and Menlo Park to get a decent variety of groceries.

Like Piazza's this store has to put it's vegetables and fruit outside because there's no room for them inside. I watch and see people picking up fruit and just walking away with it at Piazza's. Why doesn't the City allow for bigger supermarkets so fruits and vegetables can go inside, and allow for the markets to charge for what is taken?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Litebug - I looked for online pics of the exterior to post here for you & couldn't find any, sorry.

I enjoyed perusing, sampling & shopping there today. I only picked up a sandwich, coffee & some odds & ends. I'm too cheap to buy paper towels for $3.49/roll, so skipped that. I liked the layout, the sandwich was affordable, the customer next to me bought some fancy delicious looking things. With hot weather coming, it's nice to know that we can pick up some cold food or fixings for cold food w/out going across the freeway or across town.

I saw people from my neighborhood shopping there, which I really liked. One of our neighbors even called last night to tell us it had opened & how much he liked it. One of the clerks, who lives on the east side of EPA told me how glad she was to have 2 grocery stores so close to 101.

Do they have a coffee bar?

Posted by Picky picky, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Anon says dingy dirty old Midtown Safeway, and seedy little Safeway.
What a strange reaction to a light, modern store. Not the glitziest or the biggest, but a perfectly decent supermarket. Sometimes they cant keep up restocking the shelves, because they sell so much. What's the big deal? I'm not starving, are you? It'll be there next time. It helps to be a grownup.

Posted by Derek, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2013 at 12:59 am

Unfortunately most residents still go to Mountain View and Menlo Park for the majority of shopping. Palo Alto needs to get with the times and allow some stores in certain areas to expand. Imagine the tax revenue increases and what not. But I guess Mountain View and Menlo Park are benefiting from Palo Alto's stupidity.

Posted by Adam, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 7, 2013 at 8:03 am

I'm surprised folks are reporting a lack of prepared food. I feel like that could have been this places savior. It could have generated a sizable lunch business just from all the office employees sitting across the freeway looking for a new healthy option.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 7, 2013 at 10:31 am

Could we get a Starbucks at Edgewood Plaza?

Posted by Saw lots of prepared food, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

I'm not sure how the people complaining that there aren't sandwiches or prepared food managed to miss the HUGE deli area. It's towards the back of the store but is a free-standing island. Maybe they were looking along the walls and missed it. There's cheese on one side, and lots of prepared food on the other sides. There's a counter for ordering sandwiches too.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of prepared food available. I also approve of the large meat and produce departments. There's not a lot of highly processed packaged food, which is great. Go somewhere else for your GMO-laden items.

I hope this market thrives. We need more quality food in the neighborhood.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:26 am

Crescent Park Anon is totally wrong re lack of sandwiches. I had one made & saw a crew of workers ordering sandwiches after I did. I was given samples of prepared foods, too. I think that for parties, busy days & hot days, it'll be great to shop there for prepared foods. There was also a good variety of store-made soups that looked tasty.

Posted by Doreen R, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

Stopped in today to give the store a once over, It was nice to see a couple of the old gang from Miki's there, I think only two of us made in... Thank you to those out there who remembered us! I think the meat department is very nice! They have a lot of good items to offer. The bakery department looks yummy I will find out tonight as we have purchased a few items to try, nothing will even come close to what Bella made at Miki's but like a previous post this store is no where near what Miki's was, but at least we have some where to go for a decent dessert!!. I the bulk area offers some good and fun items. We also indulged in this area as well. As I looked around in the wine area the selection seems fair, beer selection small but plentiful. The store is clean and prices are either equal or just a hint above the standard grocery corp. The hot food meats where very tasty! The produce seems to be good quality. Pre packed fruits seem too be quit pricey, I can cut up my own fruit thank you. But overall the store is really and I would like to see this one stick around even if I'm not working for them, although I applied.. hint ... hint... JK all jokes aside.. Here is my suggestion if you all want to keep this store here, You better shop there and appreciate the beautiful meat department and decent bakery that Palo Alto does not have. I will be shopping there as often as my pocket will allow me too. I wish them the best of luck and I hope Palo alto keeps this one around!! Buy the way I didn't see a huge Grand Opening sign there either... God I hope they make it... Good Luck my Fellow Miki's Employees!!!!

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

Guess I'll have to go back for a second look. I did not see any sandwich menus, or an ordering counter for ordering one ... like say Safeway, Piazzi's or Whole Foods has. I did see sushi, which seemed kind of funny as I think the sushi craze is winding down. I'll go back and try to order a sandwich and report back! ;-)

I second the motion for a coffee shop in Edgewood Plaza ... would not have to be a Starbucks, but a Starbucks would do.

Posted by Doreen R, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

P/S Sorry for all the misspelled words I was lazy to proof read and notice all the red underlines. Whoops!! :) And don't forget this is a Neighborhood Market... Not Safeway!!

Posted by 18 year resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

Too bad it isn't a Safeway--but Palo Alto blew that years ago.
What's a neighborhood market? Does that mean only people from the neighborhood are welcome or does it mean you have to shop elsewhere for much of your needs?

Posted by Casey, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Fresh Market is a nice, clean store. At that size, however, it's all about compromises in what you stock. It has some of everything.

In terms of the bakery, I agree with Doreen's comment above. The baked goods from Miki's were phenomenal. Fresh Market was o.k. If they can replicate that aspect of Miki's, then Fresh Market will be a destination for me.

Posted by Happy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Wow. I read many of the comments in this thread and I wonder how on earth could people find so many things to complain about when a really nice market just opened up in our neighborhood? While there are many positive comments, I can't understand how with all the riches we have in this city and in this wonderful new neighborhood market, the nitpickers continue to complain, complain, complain. If you can't go into that market and walk out feeling positive about what they offer instead of complaining about what they stock, the traffic or the parking lot, maybe it's time for some self reflection.

Posted by Just me, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm


The sandwich ordering is there, I saw it near the sushi area. What I did not see was an ingredients list. I have not tried there sandwiches yet, but I plan to. I was happy with what I saw there in general, This to me looks like a good destination for good quality perishables. Not as good on commodities. I'll still have to shop other places to get all the things I need, but I can deal with going to multiple markets and this one, I can walk to.

Posted by zippy, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

well they have a no egg ice cream for 10 dollrs a pint. steep, but ice cream is better without eggs,its a pure dairy product.eggs are eggs, not ice cream. egg ice cream is a slightly differen ,they use to call it ''french custard''.no stabilizers no eggs. wonder what thats like. 10 dollars pint. but thats a huge very detailed store. a virtual copy of wfm.

Posted by sufficient, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I went opening day- like virtually all the neighbors. I'm thankful there is something close. It's been frustrating having to drive a decent distance anytime I needed milk or bread. So yay. I can't say it met my expectations though. Yes, Palo Altans often have too high of expectations and can often find complaints in things, but part of the disappointment here is bc it seemed billed as a "nicer than WF" type of "European market" and a coffee bar type place. I did not find it to be either. Seemed like it had a slightly different feel than the culture around here. Almost no organic meats (spoke to the butcher) and there are a LOT of meats there. Seems out of touch. Echoing a previous poster, I'd never really be able to do an ingredient -list trip for a recipe. Also, too many fancy $2 caramels and $6 greeting cards and not enough staples. I personally was shocked and not pleased with the magnitude of the candy aisle. Very very odd to me.

Am I glad it's here and I can access it so quickly for quick fixes? Yes of course. Would I prefer WF? Yes. Do I think they kind of missed the mark on what the community would have preferred? Yes. Time will tell though.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I visited the store yesterday and was very pleased.
- Fresh sandwiches available on back side of deli, across from meat counter.
- Fresh meats, poultry, fish - staffed by real butchers. Including marinated or stuffed items. Something that TJ's does not have.
- Fresh produce.
- Bakery with their own bread and plenty of desserts.
- Plenty of cheese.
- Fresh deli meat that you get by the slice/pound.
- Ready to go chicken, ribs, etc.
- Nice selection of beers and wines. Not big, but good enough.
- Fun snack aisle.
- Plenty of pasta and sauces.

What I noted as a weakness for me, but may not bother others:
- No brand name cereals. Small cereal section.
- OJ, lemonade and grapefruit juice by the milks, but there aren't any other varieties such as mango & peach, etc. If you're looking for the organic juices, they are over by the produce display.

Notes to comments above:
- Cashiers don't have lights, true. But neither does TJ's and it works there as well.
- I would also disagree with the comment of same aisles of the same stuff you see everywhere. This store is closer to a TJ than a Safeway as far as brand variety - more of stuff you may not have seen before.
- The store will work because it is convenient to our neighborhood. You don't have to drive to the messy TJ/Paly/T&C intersection, over to Midtown or run up ECR to the MP Safeway.
- The store will work because you can run in and grab something for dinner and be home quickly. You don't necessarily have to do 5-days of shopping at another store due to the inconvenience of getting to said store.

What this store does for me is eliminate the need to go to MP Safeway very often. I refuse to go to Midtown Safeway for reasons that everybody else states. Outside of brand cereals (which I can also pick up on my Costco runs), I can see myself going to FM for daily or bi-daily dinner runs...especially for the fresh produce and butcher sections.

No traffic to and from - will always use St. Francis entrance. Easy-easy, biking distance and access is great.

Posted by roll, a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm

notice this, it will happen. at trader joe or whole foods. go trader joes, notice that every time you take food item off the shelf, a big hulking employee will come out of seemingly nowhere,. just try it. eevery single time you pick up an item you like, you have to almost immediately acknowledge an employee. as if youre a thief getting away with something. you cant shake that from happening. go to trader joes, pick your item off shelf, immediately an employee will look right at you from seemingly out of nowhere. you cannot shake that from happening. its as if they are there for ''security''. notice how intimidating they look. go ahead. see if it happens. pick your item off shelf, immediately a worker with a dolley or something will be there at the exact moment. you seemingly can't shake it. you must give a militry like ''aye aye '' to an employee. just at the precise moment you pick up the dried apricots or something. try it!!

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Crescent Park Dad - I popped in there today to do a bigger shop & have the same sentiments as you. Given this weekend's hot weather & Spare the Air days, I bought some prepared meats & cheeses, bread, fruit & veggies that won't heat up the house to prep. Um, did you notice the gelato on sale? I did! My husband's going to be a happy guy when he opens the freezer. Also bought wild-caught salmon on sale to cook when it cools off & their ground Peet's was on sale, too. I added some of the on sale nut breads & artisan breads. We rarely indulge in the former, but looking forward to them. Also like the Mrs. Meyer cleaning supplies - they always smell sublime & are good quality. They carry Happy Hips, a quality canned food for dogs - our old girl w/cancer is keeping weight on thanks to Happy Hips. It was a fun, indulgent shop & the clerk who insisted on taking my groceries to the car was very polite. Once again I saw people from my area shopping there, too.

All in all, it's not overwhelming like the giant Safeway, not as crowded as WF, & not the traffic mess to contend w/that heading to TJ's in Menlo or Palo Alto entail. It's nice to head home after garnering enough supplies for a short while & not feel beleaguered or exhausted due to traffic & fighting for parking at the end of a long week.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm

I loved it!! It's beautiful, clean, bright cheery. Driving to Safeway in Menlo Park has become a traffic nightmare to say nothing of the congestion at TJ's at Town and Country. The traffic nightmare at Paly- Embarcadero-El Camino is just that - a nightmare, and Palo Alto can't even fix that. All of that driving takes time and gasoline. I can tolerate going to Midtown Safeway for items also. But this store is a joy. And I'm going back tomorrow. But I"ll still find time to go to the beloved Milk Pail once in a while.

Posted by sertan, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

what about report of walmart robbery that daily post printed. no report on this anywhere. the 2 women with knives? are they suppressing this so no copycats? your duty to investigate this.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Just had first opportunity to visit and shop at the new Fresh Market. It was an easy walk for us to/from - a great asset for those of us in Duveneck/St. Francis to have the store open! I hope they have installed bike racks - I didn't happen to notice.
I liked the medium-sized store, it is accessible, true the layout is different from what I have seen it other local stores, and will need to explore that more in future. There are brands new to me (likely new to this region of the country - some TFM branded items).
We purchased some lunch items which we took home to eat: prepared chicken wraps were very good, good cinnamon roll, special yoghurt. The bakery and cheese selection are very appealing. There are cold drinks for takeout.
We all have different ideas for this store - it won't replace a giant Safeway or Costco, and it certainly isn't a 7-11, but there is the nice idea of a welcoming store you can make a brief visit to for some high quality items. I welcome the option, which I will use often, to walk over and get a nice lunch or etc. Some of the specialty items, like special salad dressing, will be good to try, too.
Does anyone have any idea when the next building will be completed and who the tenants will be? I agree a Starbuck's would be great.

Posted by Robert Smith, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Stands the best chance of success of anything that could have been built there.

1. The external appearance is terrific. Entrance from Embarcadero may be a bit difficult but this was best possible given the roads and the gas station. Not problematic like Miki's.
2. The layout and food seems to be what most people were asking for really: gourmet, "green (using this term advisedly)", focus on "fresh".
3. I would have preferred the Lucky store personally but no one would shop there, so there was no sense in building another standard grocery store. We are already shopping there a lot.

If this one fails like JJ&F and Miki's, I think we simply have to conclude that people are going to keep driving their SUV's to Mountain View to shop no matter what they tell the City Council.

I you want a grocery store there, then patronize it. Otherwise, don't complain when it shuts down.

Posted by Robert Smith, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Piazza Neighbor: You ask why the city doesn't allow larger stores. The reason is that residents don't want larger stores and effectively block them.

Take the Albertsons at Alma Plaza for example. Albertsons wanted to greatly increase the size of the store, but the neighbors mounted a massive campaign to keep this from happening.

In the end, the neighbors near Alma Plaza got something closer to the smaller, gourmet store that they said that they wanted, or so they told the City Council. But no one shopped there.

I think we have passed the point where we can have large grocery stores in Palo Alto. The neighbors will block any proposal, and then drive their SUV's to Mountain View for their shopping.

Posted by Robert Smith, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Derek: you mention tax revenues.

California's sales tax structure is one of the reasons we can't have grocery stores in Palo Alto. The City well understands that most items sold in a grocery are not taxed. This one of the reasons we have lost groceries.

The other reason is that neighbors object to large stores even that is what shoppers want to shop at.

If The Fresh Market fails, this will be the last new grocery we will see. It will then be a matter of attrition to keep the ones that we have. Molly Stones is already looking marginal to me, and who can say what Safeway will do with the Middlefield store now that they have the new San Antonio store.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Robert- you raise some trusting points. You are correct about alma plaza. But also piazzas was against the expansion, probably because they did not want, competition. Of course now they're at 24 k square feet-- I guess it is do as I say not as I do. You are correct about neighbors blocking large retail. But chain stores know better than to deal with PA-- just build on the border and they will come. Except for a very few items, I do most of my shopping in MV.
I was t fresh market last week. Sme nice stuff but don't see doing regular shopping there . Maybe occasional stuff for dinner etc. I love the new Safeway in MV- big, great selection, well lit, self checkout stands etc.
I think that Safeway will close the midtown store- it is dark and dingy with poor selection. There is so little room in front that when it is busy you cannot get y with all the lines for checkout.
Maybe JJ&f will take it over.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Peach Praline Pie..... Off the Hook!!! (exceptionally tasty)

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Resident - I bought one of their apple pies on sale - knowing it's offseason. Totally canned apples. The crust was tasty & the neighbor kids loved the pie. I should stick to in season pies, so thanks for the rec!

On 2nd thought, I'd prefer no coffee place at the shopping center, due to parking problems. I'd be resentful if I had a hard time parking to drop a chunk of change on groceries while some person spends $4 on a soy-no fat-caramel-decaf macchiato-w/whip-and-sprinkles & sits all day on their laptop.

Posted by my new favorite store!, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 29, 2013 at 9:05 am

Love this store! Yummy produce, delicious baked treats, great crab cakes and wonderful meats. Our whole family is enjoying it! The staff is nice, very helpful, parking is easy, using the St. Francis entrances makes it much easier to get in an out.

So glad they are part of the neighborhood!

Posted by First visit, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

First visit yesterday. It's a delightful place, overflowing with fine food attractively displayed. Prices comparable to Whole Foods.
Couldn't find anything wrong except the parking lot is designed bizarrely. No sign pointing to the exit, had to circle around, I had an anxious moment when I couldn't figure out how to get out.
Connection to the gas station is weird too, unmarked, so I just gave up on gas.

Posted by bb, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2013 at 12:57 am

This is a great place to shop - love the size and layout. I got some good deals on produce and tried not to spend too much on the extra things I don't need. The takehome food looks good. I'll be back for a fresh chicken pot pie - $10 is reasonable. Other take home food looked nice a fresh too. Great looking bakery and meat department. No, it's not Safeway (and I love my midtown Safeway employees if not the selection), but now we have upscale for fancy food and Safeway for paper towels. Please Fresh Market, stock Pavell's yogurt. Safeway got rid of it and it's a trek to Piazza's to get it. If you don't know it, it's the best yogurt in the Bay area - only unsweetened vanilla yogurt that I know of. Thank for moving here. Please advertise so you stay in business!

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