A U.S. based private investment firm has agreed to purchase the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain from the U.K. based Tesco with plans to continue operating the stores “with some changes…[to] make it even more relevant to today’s consumer” and plans “to build Fresh & Easy into a ‘next-generation convenience retail experience,’ providing busy consumers with more local and healthy access for their daily needs.”

As part of the purchase agreement, however, a number of the stores will be shuttered, including San Francisco’s Bayview location which will close on September 20.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by OMN

    What about the store that was approved for South Van Ness between 23rd and 24th? I assume they’ll sell that location off?

  2. Posted by Willow

    That’s really bad news for the Bayview community that have virtually no close by access to fresh produce.

  3. Posted by SVN_man

    @OMN I’ve been wondering about that too. What a waste of real estate. We need a grocery store there! Whole Foods! TJs!?

  4. Posted by Greg

    While it’s sad that the space on S VanNess has been sitting vacant all this time, I highly recommend trying out Casa Lucas on 24th St. (btwn Harrison and Bryant). It’s a pretty great local supermarket and it’s easy to get in and out quickly (unlike Safeway or TJ’s).

  5. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    If there was a market for that type of food in the Bayview, then the existing retail operation would remain open.
    The market has spoken… and the answer is no.

  6. Posted by inclinejj

    Sacramento stores are closing. The one on Watt Avenue is for sure closing.
    One of the big problems are stores that signed leases did all the tenant improvments moved in shelving and carts and the stores have not opened.

  7. Posted by curmudgeon

    Greg, I love Casa San Lucas and shop there multiple times a week (I live only a block from it), but it’s seriously deficient in the kind of things a full service grocery would supply. It’s great for produce and Mexican staples, but try finding a decent loaf of bread (for instance). They’ve been gradually widening their selection to account for population changes in the ‘hood, but there is still a lot of stuff that I want that I need to go elsewhere for. I’m really looking forward to the opening of Mission Local Market, in hopes that we’ll soon have our own “Bi-Rite” substitute. But even better would be a Fresh N Easy type of operation on South Van Ness.

  8. Posted by OMN

    We need a supermarket. Casa San Lucas is pretty good but limited (as curmudgeon said), and Mission Local Market looks like a joke to me, TBH. It’s going to cost a fortune to shop there for “artisan, farm-to-table, locally sourced cheeses” and such.
    I guess this dichotomy is just further proof to what the Mission is becoming: you’re either Hispanic working class or very wealthy, out-of-touch, and at a loss about what to do with your newfound disposable income.
    Trader Joe’s would be perfect for me, but I wonder if that’s actually true for others in the neighborhood.

  9. Posted by Dan

    Any word today whether Yucaipa/Burkle will maintain the stores as Fresh & Easy, or convert them to the Wild Oats?
    A natural foods store with reasonable prices would do well at 23rd and S. Van Ness.

  10. Posted by Dan

    According to Bloomberg, no comment from Yucaipa today on whether or not Fresh & Easy will be rebranded as Wild Oats.

  11. Posted by 49yo hipster

    OMN- I agree, a TJ would be perfect there for the working-class-yuppie.
    That mission “local” market is exactly as you describe. That guy yaron is a total balljacker. I dig most of the new restaurants on lower 24th but pass on his two. Micro portions, no thank you.
    And Casa Lucas is limited, although it has made some changes over the last several years to account for the WPF (white people factor.) Still, fresh corn for 25c per ear? Priceless!

  12. Posted by 49yo hipster

    Also, I’m really surprised about that fresh n easy in the bayview closing. Anybody here shop there? Was it not getting enough business, or were there other issues? With no grocery store in that area at all, I know residents in the past complained about that. So I’d expect locals to flock there and for that store to be full of people.

  13. Posted by curmudgeon

    For the record, in no way am I planning to do all my shopping at Mission Local Market…I’m just looking forward to having a little more diversity in the way of food. And I wouldn’t mind picking up an artisanal loaf of bread from time to time. (hipster..I confess I’m a huge fan of both Local Mission Eatery and Local’s Corner….delicious inventive food well worth an occasional splurge). Working class yuppie is exactly what I am (OK, not so young).
    But if there were a trader joes or any kind of supermarket on SVN I’d be overjoyed, and I’m sure I’d be there multiple times per week.

  14. Posted by MissionPerson

    I’m surprised they’re shuttering the Bayview location. I only went in there a few times, but it was always clean, well-run, and had a steady supply of customers.

  15. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    From the Los Angeles Times yesterday, Fresh & Easy files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection:

    Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court less than a month after being promised to Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle.

    The grocery chain, in the process of trading hands from British supermarket giant Tesco to Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos., cited debt of $500 million to $1 billion in its Monday court filing in Delaware.

    The filing allows Tesco to back out of leases before they conclude and auction off the brand’s assets, which are worth $100 million to $500 million.…“Many of Fresh & Easy’s leases are substantially above market relative to its competitors,” the company’s financial chief, James Dibbo, said in an affidavit. “Given Fresh & Easy’s geographic focus on California, Nevada and Arizona, the effect of the real estate market correction was especially pronounced.”

    Analysts said some landlords had already accepted offers from Fresh & Easy for the chain to pay a lump sum to terminate the leases early. Those who refused are being left “high and dry,” said Garrick Brown, director of research at commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley.

    “I’m surprised that everyone didn’t take the deal,” he said. “It’s better to get something than nothing. Fresh & Easy is going to be able to just walk away from those leases.”

    Let that be a lesson to all the small-time commercial landlords in S.F. who think that holding out for a national chain tenant is a way to avoid adjusting their “wishing rent” downward.
    Btw, It doesn’t surprise me that the new owner is planning to close down the Bayview location even though it’s doing fair business, private equity guys do all kinds of things in an acquisition that don’t make sense on the face of it.

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