Fresh & Easy market opens on Broad Street in SLO

The doors are open at one retailer new to San Luis Obispo County and soon will open for another.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market celebrated its grand opening today at 2238 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo. The 10,000-square-foot market is part of a larger, mixed-use commercial development at South and Broad streets.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is set to open early next month at Prefumo Creek Commons. It’s one of the final tenants at the shopping center off Los Osos Valley Road.

About 30 people — ranging from entry-level customer assistants to the store manager — were hired to staff Fresh & Easy. Entry-level pay starts at $10 an hour, said spokesman Brendan Wonacott. Employees in positions that require more experience are paid accordingly, he said. In addition, employees are entitled to benefits, including medical, dental and vision, a 401(k) and a quarterly bonus.

The San Luis Obispo location, which features an in-store bakery and a full line of California wines, including those from the Central Coast, is the El Segundo-based market’s 181st store.

Another market, in Torrance, also opened today.

As part of the opening ceremony in San Luis Obispo, a check for $1,000 was presented to local Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Wonacott said.

“It was nominated by the neighborhood and chosen by the store employees,” he said of the donation.

The parent company of the Fresh & Easy store chain, Tesco, is based in the United Kingdom. Tesco pledged in 2006 to invest $2 billion over five years in the U.S. So far, Fresh & Easy has opened 25 stores this year in California and Nevada.

Fresh & Easy touts its healthy food alternatives, selling products that contain no artificial colors or flavors, high fructose corn syrup or added trans fats.

National chain Dick’s Sporting Goods is scheduled to open March 14, said Clint Pearce of Madonna Enterprises, developer of the shopping center across the street from Irish Hills Plaza. Company representatives for Dick’s Sporting Goods could not be reached to comment.

Prefumo Creek Commons already has a Target, Mac Superstore and AT&T Wireless store. An Olive Garden is expected to open in mid-April, if not earlier, Pearce said.