GLEN ELLYN – The opening of the city’s new The Fresh Market grocery store was made official, not by a ribbon-cutting, but by the cracking of a block of cheese.
The new location opened its doors Wednesday morning at 285 Roosevelt Road, and some shoppers even got in the store before the 9 a.m. start time for the opening ceremonies.
“We’re always looking for areas where people like really good food,” New Store Operations Coordinator Joe Duncan said. “Glen Ellyn had been on our radar for quite some time. We’re excited to be here.”
The 34,200-square-foot location offers a more intimate, old world feel than a standard supermarket, Duncan said, and includes more than 400 produce items, a butcher shop featuring unpackaged meats, a bakery, a deli and a cheese department with 200 cheeses from all over the world.
Among these is the signature and celebratory Parmigiano Reggiano, which was cracked as part of a new store tradition, he said.
The store’s hallmark is its customer service, Duncan said.
“Our motto is ‘experience the food,’ and that’s going to happen every single day,” he said. “If you have a customer who doesn’t know what chip to buy, I expect you to open that bag and have them taste it and taste it with them.”
As new staff settle in, the store may expand its offerings to include wine tasting and cooking classes, and to partner with local nonprofits, Duncan said.
The Fresh Market fills a void, not only in the wake of the recent closing of Dominick’s locations throughout the region, said Glen Ellyn Village Manager Mark Franz, but also in the area directly surrounding the new store.
“Anything that can improve that property and the corridor ... is good for Roosevelt,” he said. “I think it’s great to finally see it come to fruition.”
The village gave the store’s developers, The Opus Group, a sales tax incentive to move to the property. Glen Ellyn receives the first 10 percent of the sales tax, then Opus receives 40 percent of what’s left, up to $1 million or 10 years, whichever comes first. It also reimbursed the developer for extending Taft Avenue behind the complex that houses the store.
Nonetheless, Franz said, The Fresh Market is anticipated to generate money for the village, especially considering the property was vacant for several years after a car dealership moved out.
“Development spawns more development,” said trustee Pete Ladesic, who was on the Village Board several years ago when The Fresh Market location scouts came to Glen Ellyn. “The deal was well-thought out, and I hate to say ‘no-brainer,’ but it was one of those things that was a worthwhile investment that will come back 10-fold.”
Ladesic said he applauded not only village staff and elected officials for getting the deal done, but also the city of Wheaton. The Fresh Market’s parking lot reaches onto Wheaton’s property line, Duncan said.
Manuevering this property division required a lot of communication between the two municipalities, Ladesic said.
“It’s just a prime example of cooperation between two respective communities,” he said. “I’m really excited about it opening and can’t wait to shop there.”
The Fresh Market Facts
What: The Fresh Market is a European-style market, with an emphasis on fresh food and customer interaction.
Where: 285 Roosevelt Road
When: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Sunday
Note to Readers: A version of this story containing an error previously ran in print and online. The name of the developers of The Fresh Market project was misstated. The correct name is The Opus Group. The article has been corrected to reflect this information.