http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/12/19/fresh--easy-walgreens-partner-at-store-location


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - December 19, 2008

Fresh & Easy, Walgreens partner at store location

Grocer and pharmacy to occupy former Albertsons site

by Geoff Gillette

As part of a major push to increase their presence in northern California, grocery chain Fresh & Easy is looking to open a new store in Danville. The small market chain, owned by Britain based Tesco PLC, is planning to share the former Albertsons grocery store location on Diablo Road with Walgreens.

Danville Principal Planner David Crompton said the plans have been in the works for more than a year, and currently the company is going through the town's Design Review Board to get signage approved for its new location.

The East Bay is targeted for more than half a dozen of the new store locations and better than two dozen in Northern California, according to Fresh & Easy's Web site.

Fresh & Easy spokesman Brendan Wonnacott said they are very excited to be coming to Danville and he is hopeful that the store will fit in well with the neighborhood.

"For us, the matter of neighborhoods is what is important. We go into different types of neighborhoods and it's just a matter of offering what the neighborhoods want," he explained.

Wonnacott said the 10,000-square-foot stores, smaller than the average chain grocery store, are designed to provide quality food at affordable prices. "They're really a 'neighborhood market' in the truest sense of the word," he said.

Because their space needs are less than what is available at the Albertsons site, the company looked for someone to share the space, which led it to Walgreens, based in Deerfield, Ill.

"We've done this in other locations as well," Wonnacott said. "For us it's important to get good locations in the neighborhoods we want to serve, even if it means getting a building with a larger footprint than we normally get and leasing it out to someone else."

Two questions remain regarding the store's arrival in Danville, the first being when it plans to open its doors. Wonnacott said the company does not have a set timetable for the opening as of yet.

One of the issues that needs to be addressed prior to the store's opening is the creation of a Northern California distribution center to handle the flow of merchandise. Once that facility is completed the store will be closer to an opening date.

The second question is in regards to the current Walgreens store on San Ramon Valley Boulevard. Will it remain open when the new store goes in, or will it be folded into the new facility?

At press time, officials with Walgreens Corp. had not responded to questions regarding the proposed new store on Diablo Road.

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