As of Wednesday, Milpas Street has a new supermarket where the old Scolari’s used to be. The Fresh Market, a specialty grocer “with a focus on freshness and quality perishables,” opened at 8 a.m.
About a quarter past the hour, store manager Jason Feria stood by the deli island in the middle of the spacious 22,700-square-foot store and thanked his 105 employees, whose customer service he said was“unparalleled,” for getting everything ready for the big day. He also expressed appreciation to the neighborhood and the Milpas Community Association for their help and support. Then, instead of the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark such an occasion, Feria cracked open an 18-inch wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, which he also described as “unparalleled.”
Feria said that The Fresh Market will be donating food from all of its in-house departments to the Santa Barbara Foodbank. And if a sample of “The King of Cheeses” isn’t enough to persuade locals to check out their new digs, The Fresh Market gave a reusable shopping bag and a sample-sized bag of coffee, absolutely free, to the first 1,000 customers on Wednesday. In addition, the store “will donate at least five percent of grand opening day sales” to Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit working to abolish childhood hunger throughout the country.
The Fresh Market is now the fifth major grocer in the area. It’s located on the corner of Montecito Street, which puts it one block away from Fresh and Easy at Gutierrez Street and three blocks away from Chapala Market on East Cota Street. Going three blocks in the other direction, toward the beach, is Trader Joe’s at Carpinteria Street and Tri-County Produce just two blocks farther south. The location is the fifth Fresh Market in California and the 151st in the nationwide chain. The company started in 1984 and is based out of Greensboro, North Carolina.