San Francisco supervisor says Fresh & Easy could have done better in her neighborhood 

click to enlarge The Fresh & Easy store on Third Street discounted merchandise Wednesday, a day after its closure was announced. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • The Fresh & Easy store on Third Street discounted merchandise Wednesday, a day after its closure was announced.

The day after it was revealed that the Fresh & Easy on Third Street in the Bayview district would shutter with the sale of the grocery chain, Supervisor Malia Cohen said the company did a poor job of making its presence felt in the neighborhood.

"I think that Fresh & Easy didn't do its due diligence in marketing and outreach to the surrounding community," said Cohen, whose district includes the grocery store. "One-third of the southeast part of The City ... is Asian, and there's a large Spanish-speaking population. If your marketing materials are only in English, you are setting yourself up for failure. I don't think they did a very good job of trying to be successful."

Cohen pledged to work on bringing in another retailer that would serve the community.

"I want a store that is committed to being successful, a store that wants to be a community partner and will participate in selling healthy food," she said.

On Wednesday, shoppers at the 5900 Third St. location were enjoying the 25 percent discount storewide. Patricia Bryant, a longtime neighborhood resident, said the only reason she was there was the discount. While Bryant said she prefers to shop at the nearby Foods Co., her son said Fresh & Easy has good prices.

Rufus Alexander thinks a WinCo would fit nicely into the neighborhood.

"We need a WinCo," Alexander said. "Last month, I spent $130 there and I had like 10 bags of groceries."

The Bayview is often referred to as a food desert for its lack of grocery options, and Cohen said she understands the efforts her constituents must make to find food.

"I'm totally empathetic," she said. "The residents have to get their food, so I'm going to be working diligently with the Mayor's Office to bring a secure retailer that will be able to serve the neighborhood."

On Tuesday, the British company Tesco sold the Fresh & Easy chain to U.S. billionaire Ron Burkle's Yucaipa investment company, marking the end of a six-year attempt to crack the U.S. market.

Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer, said Yucaipa will acquire more than 150 stores and the Riverside distribution and production facilities. Also, 4,000 Fresh & Easy employees will transfer to the new business.

Tesco said the cost of closing up to 50 stores, including the Third Street site, was not part of the deal.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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