Founded in 1982, The Fresh Market, Inc. is a specialty grocery retailer focused on providing high-quality products in a unique and inviting atmosphere with a high level of customer service. The company operates 107 stores in 21 states, located in the Southeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. A recent press release from Craig Carlock, CEO, The Fresh Market highlights the chain's customer value proposition and its expansion goals: "We look forward to introducing The Fresh Market's concept of quality perishables, excellent customer service and a unique atmosphere to an expanded customer base, and we look forward to offering neighboring communities a rewarding new food shopping experience."
In the release, Carlock compared the store's feel to older European markets and indicates that the store environment is designed to deliver a sensory-friendly environment. "Our customers enjoy shopping in an environment that appeals to all the senses," he said. "The smell of freshly brewed coffee and bread right out of the oven, the sound of classical music, soft lighting with antique décor in an intimate setting, and the ability to select and taste fresh, high-quality products all work together to create surroundings where customers are encouraged to experience the food."
Why is The Fresh Market the "new" Whole Foods?
Pricing is practical. Comparing apples to apples (or, in this case, gourmet cheese to gourmet cheese), The Fresh Market's offerings seem to be priced in line with conventional supermarkets. The market offers a refreshing change vs. "Whole Paychecks" higher-priced cheese, meat, seafood, etc.
Good things come in small packages. The smaller store footprint means that the parking lot, store, and registers are easier to navigate – even on a busy weekend afternoon.
Delight and dazzle drives loyal customers. Whole Foods' mission of "Satisfy and Delight" might be trumped by The Fresh Market as TFM's warm ambiance, warmer customer service, and hot-yet-free coffee ensures customers leave with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.
Customers should be looking forward to The Fresh Market's continued goal of enhancing the grocery shopping experience.
AnnaMaria Turano is a partner of MCAworks, a strategic marketing consulting firm based in Westport, CT. She develops insight-driven customer value propositions and strategic marketing plans for companies such as MasterCard, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Subway and Verizon. She is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at NYU’s Sterns School of Business, and is co-author of "StopWatch Marketing."