You know those wonderful aromas that tickle the nose when you walk into a public market, like the bustling one at Vancouver’s Granville Island? The smell of warm bread, simmering soups, cut flowers and sweet strawberries—well, those are exactly the aromas that greet you at Fresh St. Market in Surrey, B.C.
Fresh St.’s third location is in the heart of Surrey’s fast-growing Panorama neighbourhood. Since opening in the summer of 2016, Fresh St. Market has attracted families and foodies alike. When customers come in and ask themselves, “What’s for dinner tonight?” Fresh St. staff is ready with an answer.
Gary Sorenson, H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd.’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer, has led a move to close the company’s wholesale business to concentrate on retail operations. The Fresh St. banner is his baby. Sorenson and his team began brainstorming Fresh St.’s store concept five years ago, after being inspired by a visit to the Whole Foods Market’s flagship location and Central Market in Austin, Texas.
“A traditional grocery store will have about 60% dry goods and 40% fresh, and we’ve flipped that ratio,” notes Mark McCurdy, the company’s vice-president of retail development. “We try to concentrate more on the pure food shop and try not to bring in too many items that don’t relate to food.”
At the Panorama location, the layout allows customers to see the entire store when they walk through the doors, which is a departure from its sister markets in West Vancouver and in the Fleetwood area of Surrey. “When we go into development, if we can dictate the shape of the store that includes lower-profile grocery shelving, that’s the layout we’re going for in the future,” says Sorenson.
Coming soon to Fresh St. Market at Panorama is the retail chain’s click-and-collect refrigerated locker system, a $3.99 service that allows customers to order groceries online and, once items are ready for pickup, visit the store, punch in a direct-messaged code on a locker and retrieve groceries. “That e-commerce side of the business is a growth area nobody can ignore,” Sorenson says. “We’re certainly jumping in with both feet.”
This article originally appeared in the June issue of Canadian Grocer.