A new Fresh & Green’s grocery store in Hampden opened for business Saturday at the site of the old Superfresh food market on 41st Street.
“Today’s our opening day. Things are pretty hectic,” store manager Terry Collins said.
Although the switch from Superfresh to the new owner took place virtually overnight, the new store is already well-stocked with traditional grocery items, and was serving a trickle of local shoppers on its first day.
The conversion, however, is still a work in progress. For example, the old Superfresh signs have been removed, but no new Fresh & Green’s signs are in place yet.
Jon Packer, a spokesman for Fresh & Green’s, told Patch early this week that the new chain would fully convert its stores to a new format in a slow, gradual process over several months.
Some store remodeling, and the introduction of new products and marketing features, will take place over time so that service to regular customers is not be interrupted, Packer said.
In addition to traditional groceries, Fresh & Green’s plans to introduce new natural food products, prepared foods, and other specialty items and services, he said.
The Hampden store is one of eight new stores that Fresh & Green’s plans to open this month in Maryland and the District of Columbia, Packer said.
The eight stores were purchased in May during the bankruptcy proceeding of Superfresh’s parent company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), a regional grocery chain with more than 300 stores in the mid-Atlantic states.
As part of the bankruptcy, A&P is closing dozens of stores and firing thousands of people. In Maryland, A&P subsidiary Superfresh has eliminated the jobs of about 1,500 workers in recent months.
The other Superfresh/A&P locations purchased for conversion to Fresh & Green’s are in Arnold, Baltimore (Charles Plaza), Brunswick, Cambridge, Chestertown, Parkville and the District of Columbia.
The ex-Superfresh stores at Charles Plaza and in Parkville have already reopened as Fresh & Green’s. All eight stores should be open under Fresh & Green’s management within days, Packer said.
Displaced Superfresh workers at all eight locations, including Hampden, are being offered jobs with Fresh & Green’s, he added.
Further, the company intends to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with Towson-based United Food & Commercial Workers Local 27 to cover the new Fresh & Green’s employees, according to Packer.
UFCW Local 27 had represented most of the Maryland Superfresh workers who saw the their jobs eliminated in the A&P bankruptcy.
It also represents thousands of other Maryland grocery workers at leading supermarket chains such as Giant Foods, Safeway, and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.
Fresh & Green’s is a new company that is controlled by Toronto-based Natural Markets Restaurant Corp., which operates natural food stores and restaurants in Canada and the United States.
It is a privately owned corporation and does not publish annual financial statements, or other detailed market information.