A new store opened its doors in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday March 4th, as part of an ongoing expansion plan. The Fresh Market, a specialty grocery store, launched its new location at 8am with a ritual known as the ‘cracking of the parmesan’, replacing a more conventional ribbon cutting ceremony. The twist on tradition gives just a taste of what else to expect in the Fresh Market. The gourmet food store offers an alternative to big box commercial stores, for example playing classical music for customers while they shop, and supporting local suppliers and charities. The store prides itself on providing an individual experience for its customers, with friendly and knowledgeable staff, as well as always fresh produce and cuts of meat.
Located at 10828 Providence Road, the specialty food store is near the junction of Providence Road, Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Interstate 485. It is the fifth Fresh Market to open in Charlotte, but the 20th in North Carolina since the very first store opened over 30 years ago. Steve Schemm, regional director of operations for the Carolinas and part of Georgia, is excited about the expansion. He said, “This is a great market for us. We've been in the Charlotte area for a long time."
The new Fresh Market store in the Promenade on Providence shopping center is larger than usual, with a footprint of 27,000 square feet. By comparison, the last store to open in the Charlotte market was 25,000 square feet, at the Mallard Creek location. Earlier stores opened by the grocery chain were more in the region of 15,000 square feet, so the stores seem to be growing in size as well as number. Schemm said of the size, “This is a bigger footprint than we typically have done in the past," while marketing manager for The Fresh Market, Katie Georges, explained, “It's just part of our natural growth progress, it's fun to evolve and try new things.” Schemm says the larger footprint will make it more comfortable for customers to shop, while maintaining the same great customer service and local friendly feel of the store.
The new store benefits from two entrances and an updated layout which separates the deli area from the produce section. Light paint colors and large windows give the store a bright and airy feel, while signs and images of food are scattered around the store for inspiration. Customers will be pleased to find the addition of a gelato bar, fresh pizza bar, and coffee bar in the store, plus indoor and outdoor seating areas to enjoy the snacks and beverages.
The opening of the store has created 90 jobs in the Charlotte area, including staff for the full-service meat counter and seafood department. Staff arrived at 9pm the evening before the big opening to produce fresh baked goods and prepare fresh cut flowers.
The Fresh Market plans to continue expanding across the US, and build on its portfolio of 171 gourmet grocery stores.
Location: 10828 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC