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The Fresh Grocer, a supermarket chain committed to developing new stores in communities lacking healthy and affordable food access, opened its first New Jersey location today at New Brunswick’s Wellness Plaza.
“We are here to make a difference by improving the overall quality of living in the area by making fresh, healthy and affordable food readily available in a new, modern and state-of-the-art setting,” said Patrick Burns, president and CEO of The Fresh Grocer.
The opening of the 50,000-square-foot Fresh Grocer has created over 300 new jobs in the community and is the neighborhood’s first full-service supermarket in over 20 years, bringing fresh food access to nearly 90,000 people.
“The Fresh Grocer represents the first full-service supermarket to open in an urban center in New Jersey in a generation,” said New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill. “As part of the new Wellness Plaza, The Fresh Grocer will provide New Brunswick with a convenient, affordable source of healthy produce and nutritious, fresh food items in our effort to provide a healthy lifestyle for all our residents.”
Of the approximately 315 employees hired to work at the new Fresh Grocer, over 70 percent are local New Brunswick residents with another 20 percent living between two and five miles from the store. Overall, The Fresh Grocer employs over 1,500 people and continues to grow with the opening of new stores, focusing on hiring locally.
“The opening of the new Fresh Grocer is the best thing that could happen to New Brunswick,” said Jessica Garcia, a new hire to The Fresh Grocer and resident of New Brunswick. “My new job is great, but that’s not the only way that The Fresh Grocer is impacting my life. I want to be able to eat and cook healthier for myself and my 8-year-old son. I’m lucky because my son loves fruits and vegetables, his favorite being spaghetti squash, but right now fresh ingredients are hard to find close by, especially because I don’t drive. The new Fresh Grocer will remove that barrier and help me make a better life for my family.”
Wellness Plaza, a public-private redevelopment project of New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco), is a mixed-use facility designed to improve the well-being of the community. It comprises a state-of-the-art Fresh Grocer supermarket; a 60,000-square-foot fitness center; a 1,275 space parking structure; and, eventually, an elevated walkway connected to the train station. It will provide New Brunswick residents, visitors and commuters the opportunity to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
“The opening of Fresh Grocer in New Brunswick helps address two very important priorities of the Christie
Administration: jobs for city residents and access to fresh and healthy food for local families,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “It’s hard to imagine families thriving and children doing well in school if they don’t have access to nutritious food products. While today’s opening is another important step in the ongoing revitalization of New Brunswick, it’s also a big step in ensuring the health and well-being of the city’s residents, too.”
The surrounding community has been without a full-service supermarket for over two decades and the site of the new Fresh Grocer is located less than a mile from one of the area’s largest food deserts.
Last November, The Fresh Grocer made a commitment to the Partnership for a Healthier America to increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities that are currently underserved by opening five new full-service supermarkets over the next five years. The five new Fresh Grocers will sell a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, dairy, and fresh prepared food products, serving approximately 795,000 people and creating approximately 1,000 jobs.
Among the features in the new Fresh Grocer are a garden fresh salad bar, full-service catering department, full-service meat and seafood departments, natural and organic items, an in-store bakery, artisan brick oven pizza, made-to-order sandwiches and subs, and over 400 varieties of fresh produce items.