Interesting chain of events over the past 24 hours including some inside information.
Since Fresh & Easy opened in Nevada, over the years I became a big fan. Granted Sprouts gets the lions share of my grocery money, Fresh and Easy is next with Trader Joe’s third. Fresh n Easy is just down the street from me. They have branded products I like. I love their bread section and I go crazy for their mark downs. I have become friends to a number of their employees and it has been a friendly neighborhood market.
Last night after work I stopped by my local store and was a bit taken back. They were almost out of meat. They were out of their branded bread and there was no organic cows milk, nor cream, nor half and half. I asked a couple of crew members what the deal was and I was told, “We are going with new suppliers and should be back up to stock by Thursday the 22nd.” I went with that but it seemed fishy(even though there was only one piece of fish in the case).
Today, I was sent an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, written by Shan Li titled, “Fresh & Easy begins closing down stores”. Not just a few stores, but literally the whole brand. Hmmmm. I wonder what the actual deal is?
Tonight, 24 hours later, I stopped at the same store to call them out on this excuse. This is where it gets interesting. There was additional meat in the cold case but it was non-branded OEM meat. Completely different label. It did not state the meat was hormone free. It was just generic meat.
I pointed this out to three employees and they looked puzzled and had no answers. They were also blown away when I told them they were most likely closing down. They were unaware of this news.
Here is the curve ball. Two of them alleged that Fresh & Easy was not paying it bills. They were allegedly told this by a couple of vendors that service their location. They were told by another individual the non-payment of bills was also responsible for the lack of inventory.
Lastly, because the store was out of cream for the coffee bar, the manager had to go to another store and buy some.
This is really sad. What I was initially told about the inventory was only what they had been told by their management, who I am sure was briefed by corporate via their District or Area Manager. I feel bad for the Fresh & Easy store employees. They are good people and uninformed.