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Fresh and Easy opening

New grocery store provides more meal options
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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March 14 will be when Lincoln’s Fresh and Easy opens its doors and neighboring businesses look forward to a possible increase in their own customers. Neighboring businesses are Lowe’s and Red Robin Restaurant, near the intersection of Sterling and Joiner parkways. Construction of the 10,000-square-foot grocery store began late last summer, according to previous News Messenger reports. Lincoln’s Fresh and Easy store is one of the first five stores in the Sacramento region, according to Fresh and Easy spokesperson Brendan Wonnacott. There are 180 stores in the chain, in California, Arizona and Nevada, according to Wonnacott. Fresh and Easy is headquartered in El Segundo and is an offshoot of the British supermarket Tesco. The Lincoln store will employ 30 permanent part-time and full-time employees, Wonnacott said, and all employees have already been hired. At the store’s grand opening, a $1,000 check will be given to a local nonprofit organization, Wonnacott said. “For each new store opening, Fresh and Easy invites neighbors to nominate a local, nonprofit organization to receive a $1,000 donation,” Wonnacott said. Residents can nominate charities at freshandeasy.com/nominategroup, Wonnacott said. “As part of Fresh and Easy’s commitment to offer great food customers can trust, the company’s team of chefs has focused on making meals and products that are less processed and more convenient for busy families,” Wonnacott said. “All of Fresh and Easy’s products, including ready-to-cook meals, are made with the highest quality ingredients and contain no artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup or added trans fats.” The store will offer baked goods, meats, produce and “favorite national brand products and household items, all at great low prices,” according to Wonnacutt. Some popular prepared-food items include lasagna, burritos and “family-size meals that can feed a family of four for $8,” Wonnacutt said. The meals can be heated in the oven or microwave and, Wonnacutt said, and store microwaves can be used to heat the meals. There will not be an area in the store for customers to sit and eat. The News Messenger asked if Fresh and Easy will be cheaper than area grocery stores, such as Raley’s and Safeway. Wonnacott answered, “We aim to be the cheapest in the market.” The News Messenger asked Lincoln City Manager Jim Estep how Fresh and Easy will benefit the city. “It will be another shopping opportunity, especially for fresh produce and grocery needs,” Estep said. “It will provide jobs. Will it be a huge sales tax booster? No, because most of it is nontaxable.” But, Estep said, the new grocery store could encourage residents to shop in Lincoln, which “keeps all of our local tax money local.” “It encourages people to stay in town to shop as there are more places to shop,” Estep said. Mike Obeso, Lowe’s store manager, said his store’s customers “are very eager for the store to open.” “Associates at our store are excited about it opening up, and I think it will continue to draw traffic into the area,” Obeso said. “Having new businesses coming into Lincoln is always exciting and we look forward to it opening.” Phil Coakley, general manager of Lincoln’s Red Robin, said the restaurant gets questions from customers “from the day they broke ground up until today” about the new store. “It’s a next-door neighbor for us and we’re hoping it will be good for our business as much as it is for them,” Coakley said. “I’m hoping it will draw more people into the general area that will help capture guests for us.”