New market at renovated Post Office property to close
FAIRFIELD — “bfresh” supermarket, which opened last year in the commercial complex renovated from the former U.S. Post Office downtown, will be closed after only six months.
“While we are pleased with the customer response to other Fresh Formats locations, it became apparent that this particular location was not suitable for the bfresh concept and the company made the difficult decision to close the store,” a message on the company’s Facebook page reads. “The company will continue to test and learn with each new store opening, with a focus on urban locations.”
The store opened in October and will close by April 30.
The company is owned by Netherlands-based Ahold, the retail giant that owns Stop & Shop. The company plans to open two new bfresh stores in the Greater Boston area.
Last October, the Fairfield bfresh was one of two nationwide chosen as a pilot for the new store. It features a large offering of organic products, and specializes in prepared foods, offering salads, pizza, sandwiches and more, all made from scratch on the premises.
It’s part of a trend of smaller, more-specialized grocery stores geared toward urban markets.
“It’s a new concept, and I’m sorry it didn’t work out for them,” said Mark Barnhart, Fairfield’s economic development director. “It does seem like a short period of time to test out a new concept, but they know better than I do what their expectations were.”
The bfresh model is targeted at walkable areas, where people might be less likely to drive to buy their groceries and with stores that don’t have the full range of offerings found in many local grocery stores.
“There are convenience factors,” bfresh spokeswoman Suzi Robinson said last year when the local store opened. “People think, ‘Do I have to go into a huge place that will take me 10 minutes to get across?’ ”
But bfresh was hurt by limited visibility, Barnhart said, since it did not front directly on the Post Road, positioned behind Plan B Burger restaurant in the complex.
There is also plenty of local grocery competition, with several Super Stop & Shop stores within a few minutes’ drive. In addition, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market at 1916 Post Road, based in Irvington, N.Y., sells organic produce.
The Pantry, which is locally owned at 1580 Post Road, combines an upscale market with a deli, salad bar and bakery, with selections of prepared food throughout the store.