The Fresh Market will open its first store in Jefferson Parish next year, taking over a former Scandinavia furniture outlet across from Dorignac’s Food Center on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie.
The store is scheduled to open in mid-2015, a company spokeswoman said, though no other details were immediately available.
The store will take the empty space on the back corner of the Wilshire Plaza Shopping Center. The center already includes an Office Depot, a Big Lots, a Rite Aid and a Gordon’s home accessories store.
The Greensboro, North Carolina-based high-end grocer, known for its smaller-footprint stores and “European-style market” aesthetic, has been expanding into the New Orleans area in recent years, opening locations on North Causeway Boulevard in Mandeville and in the former Borders bookstore on St. Charles Avenue.
The Fresh Market was founded in 1982 and has more than 100 locations in 20 states. It also has stores in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, according to the chain’s website.
In addition to Dorignac’s, a local institution in the New Orleans grocery scene for almost 50 years, Veterans also is home to a Winn-Dixie to the east and a Whole Foods Market and a Rouses Supermarket to the west.
Eddie Moreno, store manager at Dorignac’s, said competition is the nature of the grocery business, but the store known for its iconic neon sign, bakery and deep roots in the community doesn’t view the Fresh Market as a direct competitor.
“We have a very loyal clientele,” Moreno said. “We’ve had the grandmothers, the mothers and now the children shopping here.”
Moreno said that while he suspects some Dorignac’s shoppers may initially check out the Fresh Market to satisfy their curiosity, the new store will likely be more of a direct competitor for Whole Foods.
“We bring a different vibe to New Orleans than a Fresh Market,” he said. “We cater to New Orleans, and that’s what we’re all about. We are New Orleans.”
Moreno said upgrades to Dorignac’s should get underway later this month, starting with the bakery and floral departments. The work, which will include a second phase next summer, also will include landscaping improvements to the outside. The aim is to make the store look nicer and to make the shopping experience easier for customers.
“We just want to update some of the departments in the store,” he said. “We’re just going to move some things around and make it more shoppable for our customers.”
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