Another SLO grocery store facing closure

October 22, 2015

Fresh & EasyIn addition to the possible closures of several San Luis Obispo County Haggen grocery stores, Fresh & Easy is also planning to close its Broad Street store. Fresh & Easy announced Wednesday plans to close or sell the 97 Fresh & Easy stores located in California, Nevada and Arizona.

Employees of the Fresh & Easy stores in San Luis Obispo, Orcutt and Santa Barbara recently received layoff notices. The stores are slated to begin liquidation and closures within the next few weeks.

In 2012, the San Luis Obispo County’s only Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market opened in San Luis Obispo amid much fanfare. At the time, Tesco marketed the store as having Trader Joe’s type specialty foods with Walmart prices, a claim deemed inaccurate by many.

In 2013, a San Diego County Judge ordered Tesco, the owner of Fresh & Easy grocery stores, to pay more than $800,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming the chain charged higher prices than were posted on store shelves or advertised in circulars. The Fresh & easy grocery chain has been a financial failure since it opened its first store in 2007.

The Central Coast Fresh & Easy stores are in line to be liquidated at approximately the same time Haggen stores are shutting down. Of the six San Luis Obispo County Haggen stores, Smart & Final has made offers to purchase the stores on Johnson Avenue in San Luis Obispo, Creston Road in Paso Robles and El Camino Real in Atascadero.


  1. Lilylu says:

    I would like to add that Costco really needs to open a store in North County. That would make it perfect.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  2. Lilylu says:

    Traditional grocery stores are losing ground in general. I only go to Von’s and Albertson’s to get their loss leaders for meats and poultry. I find great deals at Grocery Outlet in Atascadero
    as long as you don’t have a specific list to go by and are willing to eat what is on sale. Food 4 Less has great prices in everyday ordinary products for regular families.Certain items are cheapest and best quality at Trader Joe’s. And yes although I don’t enjoy my trips to WalMart, they often have the best prices on many staple grocery items. Not a shock at all that Haggen’s has failed and I am happy to have Smart and Final go those locations. The day of a union salary for grocery store checkers is over. However I do feel bad for those employees who have worked for Von’s for decades, Williams Brothers before that and are now going to be out if jobs. They are the ones who got the shaft.

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  3. fishing village says:

    Fortunately, there are lots of places to buy food in this County, from the Farmer’s Markets to Costco!! Not a problem, let them mess up, no one cares! Corporation giants deserve one another! .

    (-2) 14 Total Votes - 6 up - 8 down
  4. Rambunctious says:

    Another shinning example of the improving California economy. Nice work Sacramento!

    (6) 44 Total Votes - 25 up - 19 down
  5. shelworth says:

    Every Sunday I make a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco run for my week’s groceries. You have to know what and where to buy certain things to get the best price/quality. At Whole Foods I have been impressed with their 365 brand items, at Costco their Natures Domain brand dog food and fruit (berries), at Trader Joe’s their bagged salads and nuts are a bargain. And judging from the number of other shoppers none of them are going to go out of business. I’m not sure Los Osos can support another big market, but a specialty grocer/deli would be nice. And I vote for a Orcutt Burger for the old BofA bldg.

    (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
  6. Mariposa says:

    Anyone heard anything about what may open in Los Osos in Haggen’s spot? Inconvenient that throughout the upcoming busiest season of the year there will only be one grocery store (Ralphs) in Los Osos.

    (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
    • Mariposa says:

      Please excuse the post – just read the space is “tied up in the bankruptcy proceedings.” Way too bad.

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
  7. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    The common thread I see is stores that offer only organic at a HUGELY inflated price are failing. Times are tight, wages are stagnate, who can afford to eat this way? Yes not saying it isn’t good for you, just saying it gets REAL expensive and when you are trying to cut corners? So I am not surprised that a lot of these high priced stores are failing.

    (13) 29 Total Votes - 21 up - 8 down
    • r0y says:

      What do we expect? Everyone wants “livable wages” or unionized labor, but we are generally not willing to pay more than WalMart prices.

      Cannot have it both ways. Labor costs are THROUGH THE ROOF as it is…

      (17) 41 Total Votes - 29 up - 12 down
      • jimmy_me says:

        Yep… you can’t have it both ways. You can either pay the bloated management and share holders or you can pay the people who actually do the work.

        (18) 44 Total Votes - 31 up - 13 down
    • mkaney says:

      There was nothing organic about Fresh and Easy. It’s marketing was misleading. They were playing on the image of stores like Whole Foods, but the products they were offering were low quality.. they just focused on the packaging and the presentation.

      (13) 21 Total Votes - 17 up - 4 down
      • paragon says:

        I’m guessing you never actually shopped there. They carried a decent selection of items that met the USDA organic labeling standards. Sure, you could argue that the USDA standards aren’t stringent enough, but that’s a problem with the USDA and not Fresh & Easy – the same can be said of any grocery store’s organic selection, including Whole Foods.

        Personally, I thought their selection was decent, although a bit small, but that comes with the territory if you are a small neighborhood grocery store. It was a convenient place to shop if you lived downtown and it was open 24 hours a day, which was great!

        Now with Fresh and Easy AND Haggen closed downtown, there are no convenient options for downtown residents to shop. You either have to trek over to Vons by the airport, or down Madonna to Ralphs – neither are great options if you don’t have easy access to a car.

        (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
        • SloNative46 says:

          I did shop at F&E in SLO. My observations:

          >Prices were nothing to shout about.
          >You have to bag your own groceries (not a big deal, though).
          >Access to their parking lot is problematic unless one is driving north on Broad St. Otherwise you have to enter via the street next to Rabobank or come in the back way off of Santa Barbara St. Not a huge issue but an issue, nonetheless.
          >Apples and such were priced “per each,” making it a bit more difficult to determine the per pound cost for comparison to other stores.
          >Smaller store means having to make a second stop to complete a shopping trip for other necessities.

          This is not mean to slam F&E but IMO all these things played a part in making at least this location struggle.

          (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
    • hijinks says:

      What are you talking about? As mkaney points out, there was nothing organic about Fresh and Easy, nor was there about Haggens.

      Fresh and Easy decided to adopt an odd niche in the market — everything “fresh” prepackaged and a lot of prepared foods ready to heat or cook lightly, also all wrapped up in plastic, so they could have a totally mechanical store without much labor — meaning you had to scan your stuff yourself, while some employee elsewhere supposedly watched what you were doing on a monitor. It was just weird, and it didn’t work.

      Then, after Tesco gave up the ship in bankruptcy court, Burkle took over and he even stopped advertising. Now, that’s really weird. How could a business make it if it’s run by such incompetents?

      (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        Organic is how they sell themselves. Not saying if it is true or not. Politicians sell themselves as interested in your interest to. We all know the answer to that to. Don’t need to state the obvious. Comment is that prices are to high for what they are selling…………period.

        (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  8. justbeware says:

    What/who’s next???

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
  9. Rich in MB says:

    Who shops at these high priced places anyway?
    City and Country workers maybe but the real folks in SLO that pay the bills sure don’t.

    (4) 48 Total Votes - 26 up - 22 down
    • r0y says:

      There are far too many of those workers, too; hence the over-inflated sense of hype for these boutique style stores.

      (0) 18 Total Votes - 9 up - 9 down
    • hijinks says:

      It wasn’t high priced. Ever been there? But it wasn’t cheap enough to be worth a special stop.

      (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down

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