Fresh Market: Upscale grocer wants Circuit City spot

Just two weeks after the artery-clogging opening of Cook-Out, word comes that another Greensboro-based food company plans to shake up Charlottesville.

Fresh Market, a fast-growing grocer that specializes in hard-to-find foods, plans to open in the dormant spot occupied for about a decade by Circuit City, which closed its store in the Albemarle Square Shopping Center on the eve of the bankruptcy, which eventually dissolved the electronics discounter.

While a Charlottesville location is not listed at the company's online list of 13 impending stores, the news came from a presentation to a local board with the power to review external building changes in certain high-profile areas. On Monday, April 2, the Fresh Market presentation was made to the Albemarle County Architectural Review Board, according to a person present.

If Fresh Market follows through with its plans for Central Virginia, which also include a store on Parham Road in Richmond (with another one planned for the Fan district), the move will mark a return of groceries to Albemarle Square which has, as of late, struggled with an unusually high percentage of open storefronts. Home to both the Northside Library and a large outpost of ACAC, the Atlantic Coast Athletic Club, Albemarle Square had a Safeway grocery store until the mid-1990s.

Monday's presentation was by Mark Ethun of Greensboro-based TFF Architects.  A telephone message left with a representative of Fresh Market was returned by an individual who said that the company would have no comment until it has officially announced the store. In all, the company lists 128 stores open or announced stores across the Eastern half of the country.

–last updated 9:55am, Tuesday, April 3

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Hard to find foods, what exactly might that be ? From the link provided :

"The Fresh Market specializes in offering fresh, unique, and hard to find products. Each store features a meat and seafood counter, full service deli, extensive cheese counter, bakery, florist/gift shop, a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits, as well as groceries, frozen foods, dairy products, coffee, candy, bulk foods, and produce. "

How is this any different from the many other specialty food stores in our area : Foods, Whole Foods, Feast Galleria ( featuring specialty cheeses and meats ( Feast) , flowers ( Hedge) , seafood market, and butcher shop , and there are others.... ?

What is exciting for the south side of Charlottesville, serviced currently by Food Lion is that a Wegman's is coming.

Wegmans in Cville? Is this confirmed? The NoVa transformation is almost complete!

Based on the Fresh Market I went to in Sarasota this winter, there's nothing you won't find already at Harris Teeter - or soon at Trader Joe's - and the prices are nothing great.
I'm not sure that C'ville can really support 2 HTs, Trader Joe, Whole Foods AND this in addition to the Giants and Krogers

Come on Andy... Seriously? Didn't you know that Cville is actually just like NoVa?
Just kidding, of course. I wonder when the fact the Cville metro, while dense, is not really that populous will begin to be seen by site planners.

Does anyone think we're in a restaurant/food store bubble ?

I heard about Wegman's on the Coy Barefoot show - he said their arrival is the word on the street - but which street ?

I'm sure these chains do market studies to find out how viable this venture might be. One things for sure, there's plenty of parking.

The Fresh Market has the best butcher shop, seafood selection and deli of any chain grocery.

The cuts of meat are of a quality equal to or surpassing the Carriage House at Barracks Road. Seafood will be more expensive because, well, it's Charlottesville. They also have a great bakery that will give Chandler's (a few doors down from the old Circuit City property) a competitive run for their money. If Chandler's expects to continue selling cannoli at their current prices, they had better raise their game if Fresh Market moves in next door.

Above all, the store offers a genuinely pleasant shopping experience unlike anything you'll find at Harris Teeter, Kroger, Giant, ad nauseaum. For one thing, there's no stadium-like lighting overhead. And no Wal-Mart shoppers will be found at a Fresh Market wearing their lime-green one-size-fits-all stretch-o pants.

But the Fresh Market is no doubt the most expensive of the chains. Still, there is value in the quality of the food. You can pay too much at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods for seafood and steaks, or you can buy from the Fresh Market for the same price or a little more and taste the superior difference.

Of couse, for people who've been shopping at Food Dawg all their lives, walking into a Fresh Market is going to seem like a trip to an exotic foodista Heaven.

ProTip: you'll get better deals on wine elsewhere. The Fresh Market is not the place to buy wine. Nor imported beers. They make a huge margin on those.

".. no Wal-Mart shoppers will be found at a Fresh Market wearing their lime-green one-size-fits-all stretch-o pants"

Who said I wouldn't be there?

Whoo-man - note that Whole Foods counts as a chain store and beats Fresh Market in the meat/seafood categories, as well as pretty much everything else
And I for one found the lighting in Fresh Market to be disconcerting since they're trying to give the impression of a farmers' market, but it's really kind of dark.

Wegman's to the long rumored 5th St development between 5th and Avon Ext.

I think this is a good idea. All the health snobs from ACAC and elderly library people can wander in to the Fresh Market. I wish them luck and hope this gives Albemarle Square the boost it needs.

This is a great store. I can't believe they want to put it up in that crappy spot. We used to go to the Fresh Market in the Thruway shopping center in Winston-Salem and loved it. I think it has since moved to an even more upscale shopping center.

@ Nancy Drew

Indeed. The people of Cville sure are food obsessed. For a town this size to be host to the number of restaurants, grocery stores and specialty markets that it is, is a bit surprising. I've lived in big metro areas that didn't have this many foodie-related businesses.

Trader Joe's, Wegman's, and Fresh Market are ALL coming?-

Whole Foods best enjoy it's high prices and crappy parking lot while it can

The arrival of Trader Joe's has been happily anticipated by many in this town. After all people were actually writing letters years back imploring them to open here. I doubt anyone's eagerly awaiting the arrival of another "Whole Paycheck" supermarket.
It would be a really jaded individual who couldn't get anything he needs between Trader Joe's and Reids....
If you're an incurable narcissist who wants to feel she's so special that only the purest and best ingredients pass the golden gate of her mouth, then go ahead and indulge in that feeling. You probably won't live any longer than your identical twin who shops at Food Lion and you won't have any more fun either, but you'll help enrich some fat cat corporate nabob who's probably a tea bagger like some of the others mentioned here.

Hopefully it will drive down the prices at Whole Paycheck. Anyone else notice since they have their new location, their sale prices and sales have been very limited. One good buy a week and perhaps a few items on "sale" but that is about it...

@Nancy Drew - many in C'ville want their own business and they get the hairbrained idea to open a restaurant - thus the many food establishments. Few luck out and have something that lasts. (Or they buy those that have lasted and either drive them down into the ground or realize it isn't what they wanted and re-sell. Example - The Virginian.)

" Also in the initial stages of coming to Albemarle County is Wegmans, a regional supermarket chain that in 2007 was recognized by Food Network with the Best Grocery Store Award.

The store would be part of the currently unnamed retail shopping center at 5th Street and Avon Street Extended, next to the Willoughby subdivision. River Bend Management, a real estate development firm owned by Coran Capshaw, is in charge of the project. The 470,000-square-foot shopping center will sit on approximately 70 acres. Construction is slated to begin next year."

Above from Newsplex

My sister and brother in law owned a printing place here in Cville for years. There was only one customer who were asked to pay upfront for their printing needs. Guess who? Restaurateurs. Her today gone tomorrow.

Fresh Market is pricey, no doubt, but nice things cost money. I haven't been to the C-ville Whole Foods in awhile, but last time I checked their prices were well and above Fresh Market on comparable items. If Whole Foods seafood and etc. is as good as some here claim, perhaps that justifies the higher price, perhaps not. I think in terms of quality relative to price.

To my mind, there is a quantum leap in quality from Kroger and Harris Teeeter to Fresh Market, just as there is a profound difference between Carlo Rossi jug wine and a Stag's Leap '07 Cabernet Sauvignon. The difference in quality is of greater proportion than the higher price, but at a certain point quality starts to level off even if the price continues to climb.

If Whole Foods quality is superior, it is only by a matter of degrees, or maybe just personal preference. Yet the price difference is significant compared to the Fresh Market.

By this, I mean that Whole Foods may very well get its groceries shipped directly from Heaven, but I am not going to Hell in order to finance a purchase there.

Trader Joe's ROCKS!

@perspective: You forgot to mention politicians as those from whom you got a 100% deposit on printing.
As for some of the other classically pretentious posts here (Whoo-Man in particular makes my emesis ascend)...
1. I was in Target in Waynesboro one time and met a client of mine who owns a well established advertising agency and a huge home in one of the western areas of the county
2. I was in Wal-Mart in Chville one time with my wife and who stands behind us in line: a co-worker of my wife who are both private-sector medical researchers with PhDs.

I find it amazing that people have multiple, lengthy posts about a supermarket chain coming to town. And worse, about the lighting and ambience of a supermarket. More confirmation that this is a little town with a big superiority complex. Erik's post was spot on: narcissistic little people who love to spout on about "lime green sweatsuits" and the "quantum leap in quality between MadDog 20/20 and Chateau LaPoopiePants '07 Cabriolet Sauvignon."

R.I.P.: Phil Hartman

Fresh Market has a yummy pimiento cheese spread. Put it on a bagel in the toaster oven, let it get bubbly, and instant deliciousness ensues.

@ Liberalace:

Yawn. Is that your best troll? The things people say here about you are evidently true. LOL.

I'd love to see a quality grocery store on the South side of town, especially a Wegmann's. I would also really like to see a Home Depot.

I could care less about the Fresh Market.

And why you gotta hate on Cook-Out? That place is sweet.

I will never 'get' Virginia's obsession with Wegman's. I guess because I grew up in Syracuse that it's really no big deal to me. They used to be special in Syracuse because they used to have competetive sales. But those days are gone, and they are the highest price grocery store in Central New Yrok.

And all of their stores do not look like the ones in Woodbridge or Fredricksburg...I'll show you a real good one on Pond Street on the north side of Syracuse. They have a full time Syracuse cop stationed there.

Whole Paychecks gallon milk is consistantly lower than even Food Kitty. (And none of the added goo in it.) As for the quality of things - paying more - grow you own buy from a local farm you will greatly reduce what you spend and get quality goods and help the local people. I will go to Walmart or even Target for name brand stuff.

@Liberalace - I am a meat snob - I don't want pink slime, I don't want antibiotics and I want the animals to be free-range or farm raised, not packed in a paddock knee deep in manure. I also have found since not getting my meat randomly from just any grocery store, my family has less colds through the winter. So, I am choosing to eat better for health. BTW - current corporate slaughter houses make Upton Sinclaire's the Jungle good, real good. And if you come back at me about that "Pink Slime" being safe and just fine - keep eating it bud...

The south side of town is the other side of the tracks , as far as retail goes...