The new Fresh Market on Union Avenue features spacious aisles, local vendors, and an in-store bakery that makes 30 different varieties of bread every day.
The third Fresh Market in Memphis opens Wednesday in the former Ike’s location on Union Avenue, bringing its signature bakery, fresh produce, and full-service meat and seafood to grocery-starved Midtown.
On Tuesday, some of the store’s 92 new employees plus corporate managers were busy with stocking and final preparations. Everyone was pumped.
“We have felt an incredibly warm welcome ever since we announced this store,” said marketing manager Katie Georges, in town from the company’s headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., to help with the opening. “We are always looking for communities that appreciate great food and customer service, and Memphis is that kind of place.”
Grand opening activities at the store kick off at 8 a.m. when a 90-pound wheel of Parmesan will be cracked open for sampling in lieu of a more traditional ribbon-cutting.
“Not all retailers crack their Parmesan in-house and sell it the way we do,” Georges said. “The tools we use to crack the cheese are centuries old and help maintain Parmesan’s wonderful crystalized texture.”
Along with opening ceremonies, two chefs will make crème brulee French toast and bacon for breakfast from about 8 to 9 a.m., and demonstrations and sampling of additional recipes will continue throughout the day. Additionally, the first 1,000 customers will receive reusable shopping bags and sample-size bags of Fresh Market coffee.
“Many of our local vendors also will be sampling their products,” Georges said. “It is a really fun day of eating, so bring your appetite if you come.”
Opening promotions, including sampling and two-for-one sales, will continue through the weekend at the store managed by Tony Owen. Offering 23,400 square feet, the largest Fresh Market in Memphis is spacious but inviting, with burnished brown wood flooring and large color photos of orange slices, mushroom caps, and a big fat tomato sprinkled with rain.
The larger store size will accommodate more local and regional vendors (look for the Local 100 and Local 300 signs on produce and non-perishables) as well as an extensive fresh salad and antipasti bar. The bakery (which turns out between 14 and 17 different kinds of pie every day, among other things), the deli and cheese department, and the full-service meat and seafood counters will duplicate services now offered in existing locations.
The Fresh Market, 2145 Union Avenue
Baker Suzanne Gregor boxes up wild berry strudels in preparation for The Fresh Market’s grand opening. The store also sells strudels filled with apple and strawberry and cream cheese, but wild berry are Gregor’s favorites.