The Fresh Market’s Jessi East had a unique role to play in the remodel of the company’s original location on Lawndale Drive into its new concept store. As store manager, she had to navigate the challenges of keeping the store open as construction was under way.
Having started with The Fresh Market 15 years ago, East worked her way up from assistant guest service manager to her current role. She has been at the Greensboro, North Carolina, location for about 12 years.
East’s enthusiasm for the new concept is apparent, as her first word to describe it was “amazing.”
“We basically have breakfast, lunch, dinner options – which is something very new for The Fresh Market – and pretty much everything in between,” she said. “It’s geared toward convenient meal solutions, giving our guests an opportunity to come in and get something quick for themselves or their entire family.
“It’s restaurant quality, and we’re doing most everything in house, which is very unique to a grocery store. It’s basically like having a restaurant inside of a grocery store, which is pretty amazing,” she said.
The remodel occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting some challenges for East and her team. Construction delays, equipment and supply chain issues were among the biggest obstacles, she said.
Having the store open during the construction also was a bit challenging for guests, but East said she and her team “tried to make it as seamless as possible.” The store was cleaned of dust and debris every morning, as most of the work occurred overnight. That helped greatly, East said, as guests could shop and not have to listen to construction noise.
After 10 months of renovations, the store celebrated its new concept design in October 2021. The response from guests to The Square and the Roasting Plant Coffee station has been positive. The most popular item in the new Square is “definitely the barbecue,” East said. “Yes, that’s a huge draw. The barbecue station is a huge hit. And biscuits have been pretty huge.”
The deli case continues to be a guest favorite and the Made to Order Station has been “quite popular,” East said. “Guests being able to make their own salads or sandwiches as a convenient meal solution for a quick lunch or dinner has been a good one, as well.”
East said she is “very passionate” about The Fresh Market.
“I love the people that I work with, the team. We get to collaborate with many different levels across the organization at this store in particular, which is amazing,” she said. “There’s something different going on every day, which I really enjoy.
“I love our guests. They’re very loyal. They love the store, they come in sometimes just to say, ‘hey,’ and check on us. They ask us about our families, and we ask about theirs. It’s really just a very collaborative environment, very family oriented.”
For more information, visit thefreshmarket.com.
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