The Fresh Market is all about fresh, but it’s also about innovation. Founders Ray and Beverly Berry were innovators when they opened their first store in Greensboro, North Carolina, on March 5, 1982.
Inspiration struck during a trip to Europe, where they experienced the charm and essence of the local food markets. Innovation came as they opened a small, boutique specialty grocery store in the Southeastern U.S.
The opposite of the warehouse-type supermarkets that were popular at the time, The Fresh Market was the Berrys’ dream of creating “a warm and inviting shopping experience, filled with the freshest produce, meats hand-trimmed by butchers in-store, fresh-cut flowers and the finest foods and ingredients from around the world,” according to the company’s website.
The original concept became the blueprint for additional stores as the company expanded to 159 locations in 22 states.
The Fresh Market has continued its innovative ways and, in October 2021, debuted a new concept store right where it all began. The first store, located on Lawndale Drive, has been renovated as a carry-out, fresh-made restaurant concept and exclusive, coffee-by-the-cup experience from Roasting Plant Coffee.
CEO Jason Potter and his team have created a special culinary destination for their customers.
“Our guests seek us out for our high-quality restaurant meals, so the center store concept is an extension of these fresh meals,” Potter said. “Guests can stop by and take home smoked ribs, brisket, choose from a delicious selection of side dishes or take home a stone oven pizza. Not to mention, we have just roasted, just brewed coffee from Roasting Plant Coffee.
“We worked with Doug Zeif from The Concept Gurus to design a fresh food destination within our store and will feature a similar layout in our new store that is opening in Palm Beach Gardens in April of this year.”
Potter said the company has received “very positive” commercial reactions to the new layout.
“I’m excited for what it means for the balance of our business and future stores,” he said.
On being named Innovator of the Year, Potter said he is “just so proud of our team and how we continue to improve the experience for our guests.”
Improving the guest experience is a top priority for The Fresh Market, which Potter said maintains the highest standards for quality, freshness and food safety. The company’s team members are an essential part of making that happen.
Every job is important
“We believe that every job is important, and everyone can make a difference. We strive for our guests to feel welcomed in our stores,” Potter said. “Many of our team members and guests know each other by name and that’s because we encourage our team members to be friendly, informed and provide exceptional service.”
When hiring, Potter said The Fresh Market looks for “people who are willing to provide impeccable guest service and will live out our values. Someone that is friendly with a passion and love for food and who is willing to bring their smile and winning personality to work each day.
“Service is important in how we treat our guests and each other – which we do with fairness, respect and dignity on the job in our warm, friendly, diverse and inclusive environment.”
Potter said The Fresh Market recognizes team member contributions, whether through weekly Town Hall meetings or daily communications.
“We share guest feedback of exceptional service, and the Zoom chat lights up with congratulations and supportive notes from across the company.”
Another part of The Fresh Market’s culture is to support the communities it serves, Potter said.
“Our team members are very passionate about that aspect of our company as we aim to be a force for good,” he said.
The majority of The Fresh Market’s giving is focused on food security. This past holiday season, the company’s Round Up campaign raised $653,562 for Feeding America, enough to fund 6.5 million meals for families in need.
“Our stores work closely with their local Feeding America food banks to fight food insecurity and build hunger awareness in their local communities,” Potter said. “Additionally, we help the communities where our stores are located and strive to be a force for good when natural disasters occur, like last year’s hurricane in Louisiana.”
For more information, visit thefreshmarket.com.
To view the full section on The Fresh Market from The Shelby Report, click here.