More than 75 shoppers waited in line this morning for the grand opening of the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market at the Pedro Point Shopping Center.
Among 13 Fresh & Easy stores scheduled to open in the Bay Area this year, the Pacifica branch features 10,000 square feet of groceries and prepared meals.
The company celebrated the grand opening with a $1,000 donation to the . Store employees selected the society based on nominations from the community. The funding will contribute to the Pacifica Historical Society’s project to restore the Little Brown Church and create a community museum within it.
“Every dollar helps,” society board member Clorinda Campagna said. “This building [the Little Brown Church] belongs to all of us, and we’re just the stewards.”
Some shoppers arrived at the store as early as 8am (two hours before the store opened) in anticipation of long lines, coupons and special deals. They all received complimentary canvas bags for the grand opening.
Fern Marchfield arrived around 9 am. She already had several reusable bags in her hands and a book.
“It’s always nice to have a new place to shop,” she said. “I like places that you don’t have to be a member.”
Sandy Riordan said she was impressed by the prices and fresh varieties after navigating the crowded store and pushing her cart to her car on the other side of the shopping center.
“It’s a great addition to Pacifica; they have great buys,” she said.
Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers and a couple Fresh & Easy employees from Los Angeles picketed in front, talking to shoppers about their .
“Don’t get me wrong—This is one of the better companies out there,” said Joe Montiel, who has worked at Fresh & Easy since 2007. “But there are issues that need to be addressed, especially how they treat their workers.”
In turn, two Fresh & Easy employees handed fliers to customers outside to inform them of the union presence and the company’s efforts to take good care of its employees, customers and communities.
Erika Rigling is a retired teacher and union member who shopped at Fresh & Easy for the first time today.
“I don’t want to cross picket lines so please do something about your employees,” she said. “This is a union town.”
Those who choose to go elsewhere might miss out on Fresh & Easy’s unique products. Store manager Joey Santamaria recommends the beef stroganoff and bangers and mash.