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Fresh Market in Bedford opens doors featuring organic produce

By SIMN ROS
Union Leader Correspondent

June 28. 2012 1:59PM
Fresh Market employee Chad Seul hands out peach samples on the Bedford store's opening day. (SIMON RIOS/Union Leader Correspondent)
BEDFORD - Lori Cappa is not new to Fresh Market, having shopped at the branch in Knoxville, Tenn. Now that there's a new store in Bedford, her current place of residence, Cappa said she's going to shop here weekly.

'We loved it in Knoxville,' Cappa said, rolling her cart out of the market during its grand opening Wednesday. 'It's a great place to pick up some prepared foods for a quick dinner.'

Cappa said the store here is smaller than the one she used to, but it's the perfect size for Bedford.

'I got some artesan breads, some prepared foods, some of the fresh organic produce,' Cappa said. 'The organic food costs more, but I think you get what you pay for.'

Cappa said the prices were comparable to other stores, though she'll continue to shop at supermarkets and places such as Trader Joe's.

The store was teaming with customers and staff Wednesday morning. Free coffee samples were given out in Fresh Market grocery bags to the first 1,000 customers, along with packs of jelly beans.

John King, the store manager at the new branch, said he was notified a month ago that he'd be landing the manager position at the new store. He started as a grocery assistant two years ago, and has now climbed to managing his own store.

'I was very excited,' King said. 'There's a lot of opportunity with the company.'

Asked what Fresh Market will bring to Bedford, King said, 'it's a European style market. People can get a lot of prepared foods. We offer organic products, but we don't focus on that.

'One of the things that makes the Fresh Market different is we really look for the best quality product,' King added. 'If it happens to be organic, that's what we bring in. If it happens to be conventional, it's always going to be the highest quality that we can find.'

A variety of organic produce is available, including salads. Bulk foods are another of the store's offerings, including a candy and nuts section, and a peanut butter grinding machine.

The Bedford store takes up 21,300 sqare feet, with a bakery supplying 30 baked breads and 14 types of pie. Fresh meats and seafood are amongst the offerings, in addition to more than 200 imported and domestic cheeses. The produce department offers more than 400 items.

Instead of cutting a ribbon, the new store was opened with the 'cracking of the parm,' the opening of an 82 pound wheel of aged parmesan cheese.

'We've been very pleased with our line of people waiting since we opened the doors this morning,' King said. 'People are very curious.'

The store offered a cornucopia of samples on its opening day. 'Orange juice,' King said. 'We're also going to be doing Hereford steaks, and then later today we're going to be doing crab cakes. We did French toast this morning and our house blend coffee.'

'We're a big fan of try before you but it. Let the customer taste the product.'

The market will be sampling its private brand coffee every day, in addition to other promoted items.

Fresh Market offers a variety of products under its private label. 'It's grown over the years,' King said. 'We have a lot of coffees, spices, rubs, marinades, and syrup.'

Across the country there are 119 Fresh Market stores in 21 states. The Bedford branch is the first in the Granite State.

Founded in 1981, the publically-traded company was founded in Greensboro, N.C. The other closest New England location is in Hingham, Mass.

The company employs some 8,600 people, with about 90 new jobs at each new store.

Asked what her initial impressions were of the store, Bedford resident Georgia Zissi said, 'I don't know yet, I just got through the door. I think it'll do fine.'

Zissi and her son Ted wandered into the store with a sample of hot coffee, in search of an item she was hard pressed to find elsewhere-quince preserves.

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Simon Rios may be reached at srios@newstote.com.


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