WRITTEN BY: JULIANA VERHAGE | STAFF WRITER
A new grocery store is now replacing the former Fresh & Easy location on Catalina Boulevard.
Thanks to “Jensen’s Finest Foods,” PLNU students and local residents will again have a grocery store within walking distance after the past several months without one.
This will be Jensen’s Finest Food’s first San Diego location for its company. This family owned and operated grocer opened its first store in Lake Arrowhead in 1940. It now has four locations in San Bernardino County and four in Riverside County.
Before, CVS planed to move into the former Fresh & Easy location in a bid made to bankruptcy courts in Delaware. In response to this was much community backlash, an online petition which gained over 2,000 signatures, and even the landlord of the former Fresh
& Easy fighting with the bankruptcy courts, who dealt with the situation.
So CVS decided to drop its bid.
Local Point Loma resident, Mike Ryan, has been an active voice in the community for Fresh & Easy’s location to be filled by a grocer.
“It seems like CVS was pretty taken aback from the neighborhood outcry and that the landlord even tried to fight it,” Ryan said. “ And the other tenants of the shopping center moved in with the idea that a grocery store would be the anchor.”
In those same bankruptcy courts, Jensen’s officially acquired the former Fresh & Easy location this week.
“I’m very excited; I’m very positive,” Ryan said. “It seems like a win-win for everyone, including the other tenants.
PLNU students can now share in the excitement and ease of once more be- ing able to walk down the street to get groceries instead of having to take the shuttle or a car to a further grocery store.
“I’ve really missed having a grocery store, so I’m really stoked for those late Friday night ice cream runs to come back,” said PLNU student Annie Ebert. “It will make my life a lot easier having a grocery store I can walk to again.” Unlike Fresh & Easy’s model of mainly pre-packaged food, Jensen’s will offer more of a tradition grocery store’s selection with fresh produce and a deli.
“I didn’t care for [Fresh & Easy] my- self; I like the more traditional stores like Vons,” Ryan said. “Their style didn’t really work for established families. We want more variety.”
After CVS dropped its bid, it was unsure when the next prospective buyer would come along. Ryan had feared it would take months or years, like it had before Fresh & Easy first bought the location. Previous to that, the store had been empty for years.
“Speaking for myself, since Fresh & Easy was a different kind of a grocery store, added to the time it wasn’t even a grocery store, it’s been almost a decade since we’ve had a real grocery store,” Ryan said. “It will be so convenient.” Higher prices was also a reason some preferred traditional grocers to Fresh & Easy.
“It was super expensive there,” Ebert said about Fresh & Easy. “ I would pick up a sandwich or something small for lunch occasionally, but never all my groceries there. Maybe I will now with Jensen’s.”
Vice-President Matt Zack told the San Diego Union Tribune that it may take up to six months for the new store to open.
Despite the wait time, Ryan celebrates the new store coming to the Point Loma community.
“Everybody is atwitter,” Ryan said. “All the texting and communication going back and forth has been very positive among locals. We’re so excited.”
photo by Common.Wikimedia.org