Walking into the much-anticipated Fresh Market on opening day last month was like experiencing sensory overload – in a good way. Everything is bright and fragrant, drawing you right in.
The store, located at the corner of Rt. 9 and 155 in Latham at the site of the old Blockbuster Video store is a breath of "fresh" air to the food scene in the Capital Region. While we have been well served for many years by both Price Chopper and Hannaford, the philosophy of offering the best quality perishables and distinctive foods is a terrific addition.
While traveling through the early morning reception, I kept my ear on what people’s reaction was to the beautifully-appointed store and it was unanimously positive. One very excited woman stated that she no longer has to travel to Berkshire County for "this type of quality produce and meat."
Brian Wittman, vice president of the Northern Zone, explained that based on how this store performs, the family-owned, privately-held company would consider opening additional stores in the area. Currently, they plan on opening 12-14 stores next year throughout the country.
They chose the Latham location after quite a bit of research. "We saw an opportunity here. There were no Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, who are generally our closest style competitors," he said.
All the employees that I spoke with mentioned that store openings are great and bring out many people, but it is the hard work after the hoopla that will make a great store. They expressed the need and commitment to be "very good and very consistent from this point forward."
I saw in the eyes of the newly-created staff, as well as those who are here temporarily to get the store off to a great start, that this is what their intention is as well!
The Fresh Market has more than 90 stores located in 19 states. The first store opened in 1982 by owners Ray and Beverly Berry. The Fresh Market was founded with one simple goal in mind: to bring friends, family and neighbors high-quality perishable products in a warm and friendly atmosphere with a high level of customer service.