TORONTO — All of the eight former Super Fresh stores acquired by Canadian operator Natural Market Restaurant Group have reopened under a new banner — Fresh & Green's — and a developing profile.
Natural Market, based here, completed the reopenings of the stores — seven in Maryland and one in Washington, D.C. — last week, saying the company felt it was important to minimize the time stores were closed so they could continue to serve their communities. Most were closed for about three days between the transfer from Super Fresh operator A&P to Natural Market, which bought them at a bankruptcy auction in May.
Jon Packer, a spokesman for Fresh & Green's, said the company focused on making sure equipment was functioning properly and that stores were clean and restocked during the transition period, but that further changes were ahead. Some stores had removed the Super Fresh banner but had yet to fly the new logo other than on posted notices in the stores. Those notes informed customers that new products were still arriving and that stores would see further renovation in the months to come.
“One of the things we'd known since the start was that these stores were a real lifeline to the community, so the goal was to get them open as quickly as possible,” Packer, told SN last week. “They were inherited as is, they need work done to them, and that will be done, but the key to us was to get them open again quickly.”
Packer said Fresh & Green's would continue to carry traditional grocery products, but would begin to distribute more natural and organic brands and prepared foods in the weeks and months ahead. Packer said this could broaden the appeal of the store by retaining its current shopper base while providing items that shoppers might otherwise make another trip to buy.
“The positioning of the stores is to be able to offer traditional foods and healthier options. And today they go hand-in-hand,” Packer said. “It's not one or the other. We're not a health food store, but we hope to broaden the offering.”
Packer said Super Fresh's former employees were offered jobs at the store, although a published report last week said at least some workers were offered reductions in salary.
Village Super Market, the Springfield, N.J.-based ShopRite operator that bought two Maryland Super Fresh sites in the same auction, has yet to reopen the acquired stores. Village previously said it hoped to have the stores open this summer.