New Fresh Market
By John Sharp
The former Save-A-Lot grocery store in Longview Square Shopping Center has been replaced by Fresh Market, an 18,000 square-foot grocery store that has greatly expanded the store’s selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh meat and seafood while adding an in-house bakery.
Fresh Market (El Mercado Fresco), 6859 Longview Rd., also carries numerous food items of Mexican and Central American origin designed to appeal to Hispanic customers and plans to reopen a kitchen that once was leased to Texas Tom’s to offer carryout Mexican food around the end of May.
“We’re trying to make this a neighborhood grocery store for people of all cultures,” said Gandi Salama, a manager at the store. “We try to add any products people ask for.”
“When you’re not tied to a franchise, you can stock what you want,” said Yasser Shalabi, assistant manager. He said the store now has a much larger variety of products, including many higher quality items, than when it was a Save-A-Lot.
“You can get things here you can’t find anywhere else,” said Fiena Island, a local resident and native of Jamaica who recently was shopping at the store and noted it carries products from all over the world.
“I’ve told my mom and aunt about it. It’s clean, the food is fresh and reasonably priced, and the staff is friendly,” she said.
The word appears to be getting out about the store. Whenever this columnist has been there lately the store is busy and the parking lot contains a lot of vehicles. When the previous store occupied the space the lot often was nearly empty.
The produce section is right at the store entrance, and bins are piled high with fruits such as apples, bananas, cantaloupes, mangos, oranges, papayas, pineapples and watermelons. The produce section also has a wide variety of fresh vegetables and more kinds of hot and sweet peppers than this columnist has ever seen in one place.
The extensive meat department carries primarily fresh meat and seafood. The store packages its own fresh meat, grinds its own ground beef, makes its own chorizo and shrimp and fish ceviche, and can custom cut meat at patrons’ request.
All bakery items are made from scratch each day including bread, custom made cakes for special occasions, a wide variety of pastries and Latin American specialties.
Fresh Market is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.