Not another grocery store… Not something else to create more congestion to our already congested Post Road… These were my thoughts when I heard that yet another grocery store was coming to town.
At the back of the old post office on the Post Road in Fairfield, just behind Plan b, is a unique grocery store concept that will have you rethink the way you shop. bfresh (no affiliation with either Plan b or b.good) officially and quietly opened its doors on Wednesday, October 21st - the official grand opening will take place on November 6th.
As I walked through the front doors I could feel an immediatel difference. The store is small by today’s standards. At just 8,600 square feet, it feels larger, much larger thanks to the lofty ceilings. Picture, if you will, The Pantry meets Whole Foods with a small-town grocery store vibe of days past.
Directly in front you’ll notice a beautiful array of produce - over 500 items - many of which are organic and locally grown. Along the store’s perimeter you’ll see the various stations where food is prepared for you, in front of you, with the freshest of ingredients. Choose from freshly made pizzas, handmade pastas, something from the wok, fresh salads, soups, homemade breads and sandwiches to grab and go or eat in the store. I sampled a few items and they were divine. Follow the perimeter and you’ll come to the fresh sustainable seafood and the butcher where you’ll see a freshness incomparable to that of any other traditional grocery store with a large selection of organic, antibiotic-free meats. bfresh’s philosophy is that “eating fresh, healthy food is a way of life and should be accessible and affordable to everyone.” Packed, and well positioned within the store are over 10,000 items.
What's notable about bfresh is the sheer quantity of goods packed into such a small space. The aisles are narrower, and shelves, are smaller and fewer but well and fully stocked. Need mayo? You’ll find everything from organic to Hellman’s to gourmet all together in the same section. The same variety exists in the dairy section with milk, eggs and yogurt and throughout the store. You’ll see your favorite name brand products placed alongside the organic and specialty items. Shopping is easier here as a result. I loved the large selection of bulk spices, loose teas and dry goods so that customers can purchase just what they need. When was the last time you used an entire jar of cardamom? Have you ever smelled truly fresh cardamom pods? Amazing! Need diapers? Paper towels? Toilet paper? You’ll find all those there too. They even have Sharpies!
bfresh’s mission is to help customers with today’s food challenges - Finding the best, freshest food and meeting those dietary needs within tight budgets while adding to that the demands of tight schedules. The company aims to please “the foodie” - those with the most discerning palates.
Fairfield is only their second location. The first just recently opened in Allston, Massachusetts and there are no plans to open any more in 2015. Why Fairfield? I asked. The town fit their demographic. Fairfield, it seems, has it all - the combination of families, students and professionals within a community that seems to really appreciate food. The store’s location to the train station makes it ideal for commuters, wanting to pick up something on their way home already cooked, or prepared and needing only to be popped into the oven.
After my press tour I decided to do a little shopping of my own. I spent a great deal of time in the store checking out every nook and cranny. I then found myself at the deli counter where I was declared to be their very first customer! (Is there a prize or something for that?!) I picked up my Cracked Pepper Turkey and Black Forest Ham so that the kids wouldn’t go to school starving the next day. I sauntered past the wonderful looking seafood and picked up some pork chops before finding myself in front of the myriad of grains, nuts, trail mixes and other goodies - over 150 of them, as it turns out. I paused, just for a moment, in front of the organic gummi bears. My little one loves them, but I know myself too well and know they’d never even make it home. I stopped in front of the loose teas and spices, and helped myself to a few of the spices I was running low on. As I scooped them out I was immediately taken by their aroma. Never have I smelled spices so bold and so fresh. I then selected some loose tea, then to try the raw clover honey dispenser before finding myself in front of the nut butter machines. I helped myself to some of the honey roasted peanut butter, which, I must say is out of this world.
I didn’t really need anything else so I made my way to the cashier stopping first to get a baguette for dinner. All the baked goods are made on premises daily. The staff arrives at 5:00 am so that all is ready by the time the doors open at 7:00. The only exception to the baked goods rule is that the bagels come from Bagel King, which this discerning former New Yorker will tell you are the best in the state.
As formidable as the food, the display and the freshness was, I have to say that the staff was exceptional. There was an energy and an excitement for this new venue. Never have I entered a grocery store where people were quite as kind, quite as courteous or as genuinely happy as they were at bfresh. Kindness is key, if they can keep this up, they will do exceptionally well. Welcome to Fairfield bfresh, we’re awfully glad you’re here.
bfresh is located at 1262 Post Road at the back of the old Post Office.
Hours: 7:00 am to 9:00 pm Sunday - Thursday, 7:00 am - 10:00 pm Friday and Saturday.
For more information, visit their website www.bfresh.com