Fresh & Easy moves closer to opening

DOWNEY - It's been more than a year since the Fresh & Easy grocery chain announced plans to open a new location in Downey, but the British-based market appears to be finaly making progress towards an opening. The Downey City Council on Tuesday approved a parking agreement with Fresh & Easy, permitting the store to use a city-owned parking lot on Firestone Boulevard. Fresh & Easy plans to move into the former Albertson's building at 8320 Firestone Blvd. Fresh & Easy will occupy 15,000 sq. ft. of the 32,000 sq. ft. structure, city officials said. Fresh & Easy will sublease the remaining space. Under the agreement, the city agreed not to build any structures on the lot and not to reduce the number of available parking spaces. Fresh & Easy will clean and re-stripe the lot, and will install five trees, tree wells and an irrigation system. Fresh & Easy opened its first Southern California stores in late 2007, and announced plans for 122 more openings in California, Phoenix and Las Vegas. But amid reports of poor sales, the company took a three-month "time-out" and temporarely halted store openings. Fresh & Easy markets are typically smaller than average grocery stores, and offer natural or organic foods at budget prices. Last week, Fresh & Easy unveiled a new line of fully-prepared family meals - designed to feed a family of four - that cost $8 each.********** Published: March 27, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 49