Fresh St. Market has opened its doors in downtown Vancouver.
The grocer’s latest store is located in Vancouver House, a new retail, residential and workspace development in the Beach District. This is Fresh St. Market’s fifth location in B.C. (there are two in Surrey, one in Whistler and one in West Vancouver) and the first in Vancouver proper.
Billed by the grocer as a “new-concept store,” the 15,000-sq.-ft. location features Fresh St. Market’s first restaurant: Fork Lift Kitchen & Bar. The licensed 50-seat establishment focuses on fresh, local food and beverage options, with dishes such as fried pickles, Fresh St. beef burgers, vegetarian burgers and fried chicken, as well as local craft beers, ciders, wines and kombucha.
Fresh and local is also the highlight of the grocery store, with a selection that includes Two Rivers Meats from North Vancouver, One Arrow Bacon from Vancouver, Meats from Lepp Farms in Abbotsford, Oyama Meat Co. from Granville Island, and Spice Mantra Curries from Surrey, as well as coffee beans from Lion’s Bay Coffee Company.
“The idea for Fresh St. Market was to really focus on the fresh aspect of a grocery shop,” says Mark McCurdy, vice-president of retail operations & brand strategy at Georgia Main Food Group, the food division of H.Y. Louie that owns Fresh St. Market. “[The new store] is very narrow so it was difficult to work with, but we still found a way to have our customers walk into our fresh departments first. That’s been our credo right from the very beginning.”
McCurdy says many downtown residents are excited about the new store, as they previously had to venture farther afield to get groceries. “We also believe that people need a place to gather and restaurants do that,” he says. “As more and more grocery stores are realizing that, we felt that it was a great location to put a restaurant.”
First opened in 2013, the Fresh St. Market concept was inspired by public markets, with departments made to look like different vendor destinations. Each area is categorized with names like “Howe Sound Seafood,” “Pacific Street Deli” and “The Chop House.” Some destinations are tailored to the local areas as well. For example, the produce section at the new Vancouver store is called “Welcome to our Garden in the City” and at the Whistler store, it’s named “Welcome to the Garden in the Mountains.”
In terms of clientele, McCurdy says it’s mainly one- or two-person households, as the location is surrounded by apartment buildings. “We’re probably leaning to a younger audience… But our belief is everybody loves food and everybody deserves to have a great environment when they shop.”
The store opening is being promoted by a campaign that includes transit shelter ads, radio ads, digital and social media, and PR including a broadcast on CTV Morning Live.