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An exciting new store concept aims to lift college students out of their stereotypical ramen rut by boosting the availability of fresh food, including meat, produce and organic products.
Fresh City Market opened this week at 720 Northwestern Ave., on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. A joint venture between grocer Jeff Maurer and Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash, the 21,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly, fresh-focused grocery store features farm-fresh meats, pork and poultry; expansive organic, vegan and Asian product offerings, including made-to-order sushi; grab-and-go healthy food options; local and Indiana-made products, a cooking school/event room; and a Caribou Coffee outlet with free public Wi-Fi. The store will employ 110 people, with 80 percent of employees associated with Purdue University.
“Our goal is to provide area residents as well as Purdue students, faculty and university employees, a convenient place to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and other food staples,” said Fresh City Market co-owner Jeff Maurer, who launched a similar venture at the University of Wisconsin, Fresh Madison Market, in 2010. “We will have a deli, as well as a daily hot food bar, featuring homemade soups and a salad bar. We will also provide catering, online shopping and free home delivery.”
Feeding and Educating
This week's grand opening (another ceremony is planned after classes begin for the fall semester) included store tours, food demonstrations and sampling, an introduction to cooking school classes, catering options, and facility rental options for events, plus an overview of Fresh City Market’s partnership with Purdue University’s College of Agriculture Meat Science and Research Education Center to supply fresh beef and pork at below-market prices. On the second floor of Fresh City Market, guests will find a cooking school fully equipped with audio and visual technology. The room can also be used by the public for events such as business meetings, parties and special events. There is no charge for using the room as long as Fresh City Market provides catering.
The store expects to carry some 20,000 items, most of which will be available for order online and can be delivered to a customer’s home or office or can be picked up at the shopper’s convenience. Gift baskets and gift cards can be ordered online.
A central goal for Maurer and SpartanNash is sustainability as well as energy efficiency for Fresh City Market along with SpartanNash’s 166 retail stores serving nine states. Ninety percent of the lights in the new store are Energy Star LED lights. While the upfront cost is more, these lights use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lighting and last 30 to 50 times longer. Shoppers will also notice fewer “open” cases; only three cases will be open while the rest will have doors to contain the cold and save energy.