Location: 2042 Daniel Stuart Sq, Woodbridge, VA
Photographed: December 2021
At this point, I've visited and photographed over 2700 current, former, and future grocery stores. I've seen a heck of a lot. And it takes a lot to impress me. But I was blown away by the Fresh World of Woodbridge. This store opened in September 2021 in a former Price Rite that was built in the 90s as a Safeway, and at a little under 53,000 square feet, it's not the largest supermarket in the world but feels gigantic. We have another nighttime tour, so we'll see the store without a lot of customers, but again every indication says this store is extremely high-volume.
Several months after opening, the store was still absolutely packed with fresh merchandise and an incredible international selection. This is one of the most truly international supermarkets I've been to, with other contenders including the Long Island City
(and a few others) Food Bazaar, and the Linden SuperFresh
Remember that this store was a Price Rite before becoming Fresh World, so we will see a little tiny bit of Price Rite left inside. But decor-wise, the interior is a festival of secondhand signage...
That's not to say it doesn't look great, though! The giant displays of fresh stuff helps for sure, though. But we do get a glimpse of some Fresh 2.0 on the wall there, probably from some nearby SuperFresh. And do you like bananas?
Because they have a banana or two here. If this fixture looks familiar, it's because this is left over from Price Rite for sure. The refrigerator cases running along the right side of the grand aisle are left over from Price Rite too, but other than those most of the fixtures appear to be new (or at least brought in from elsewhere).
The grand aisle consists of produce on the right side with bakery and seafood in an island facing that, to the left. Meat takes up the back wall with dairy and frozen on the left side of the store. In the front left corner, there's a Korean fast-food restaurant and a liquor store.
Here's an interesting shot across the front of the store, with the bakery just to the right and the floral department facing the entrance. Customer service is on the front wall, with the checkouts opposite that (behind the Christmas tree).
What an interesting combination of decor we have here. Is that a Kroger flowers arched sign in front of a Fresh 2.0 flower picture?
More on the decor shortly. For now, let's focus on the products because that's where this store really is impressive. We have a beautiful bakery taking up most of the service department island (which is new -- Price Rite didn't have any service departments here). Lots of choices of fresh baked items. A lot of international supermarkets like this don't bake in-store, but this one clearly does. And from a sample of one donut, I can tell you that they do a darn good job.
Check out those beautiful muffins for $0.99! My donut was also $0.99, but enormous. And very delicious.
Looking back out into the produce department, this area still feels a lot like a Price Rite. With a much larger selection, of course. But the Fresh 2.0 decor interests me. It definitely is the same design as the original Fresh 2.0, but it looks like a single panel that is framed on the wall. Now it's possible it's from the lower-end 2.0 remodel, but there's part of me that wonders if it's a reproduction from the same graphic -- especially since Fresh World has added these signs to all four of their stores recently. Are there really that many pristine Fresh 2.0 collages out there? They would've had to have been stored very carefully for quite a while to be looking brand new when put up now.
On the other hand, Fresh World seems to use exclusively secondhand decor. A quick Google search shows their stores featuring signage from Fresh 2.0 but also Bloom, Safeway, and Shoppers.
Here's a closer look at the signage in the seafood department. While the section might not be quite as large as the service seafood departments of some new SuperFreshes or Food Bazaars, the selection was impressive nonetheless. And the fish all looked fantastic.
As we see, there's plenty of choices here. Lots of unusual offerings you don't see regularly. And although the service counter isn't huge, there's a large island opposite it with lots of packaged seafood...
If you're more interested in other proteins, the meat department on the back wall is quite substantial too.
A note on the department sign to the right here: Fresh World doesn't have a deli, but they do have standard cold cuts and other similar items in the case under the deli sign. The meat department takes up the whole back wall of the store, with islands opposite the back wall.
And yes, those are Shoppers aisle markers. Heading into aisle 1, we find an entire wall of Asian tea.
Not bad. Now back to the meat department. We'll return to the grocery aisles soon enough...
Bulk packed meat and bulk spices abound here, but if you're looking for a custom cut, there's plenty of that too.
As we see, Fresh World might not be the most beautiful supermarket you've ever been to (although, to be clear, it's quite nice and very well taken care of -- you can see how clean and organized it is across the board), but the selections are really interesting and substantively different from even a lot of the international markets we've seen.
Lots of halal choices to the left of the service butcher, too. And from the Middle East we move on to Mexico for an aisle filled with piñatas...
But Fresh World also has a solid selection of basic grocery items, with a lot of the familiar staples taking up the middle of the store. Fresh World uses Essential Everyday and Wild Harvest items from UNFI.
As you can see in some shots like the one below, the store feels much larger than its 50,000 square feet, and I think it's because of how large each individual department is. You feel like you're looking at endless meat all the way to infinity, which makes the store overall look larger.
Dairy and frozen are on the left side of the store. Again, we see some fixtures that are clearly new (the black dairy case to the right) and some that are clearly much older (the coffin cases in the front). The coffin cases are probably left over from Price Rite.
The last two aisles are really one wide aisle with dairy on the inside and frozen in the middle and on the outside.
These freezer cases may be new, too, since they don't seem to be the same type that Price Rite uses now. More Fresh 2.0 decor here.
And in the front corner, we have a Korean restaurant and a liquor store.
A look towards the back of the store from the front-end.
Here's the other side of the floral department, with bakery on the other side of this wall here.
And here's a look across the front-end before we head out. Well, I loved this Fresh World and spent a good long time wandering around. I was with my parents, who don't really have any real interest in supermarkets, and even they
were as interested as I was. So that tells you something! Anywho, we're done with Fresh World but not with Woodbridge, so come back tomorrow for an independent grocer about half a mile north along with a former supermarket in the same strip mall over on Grocery Archaeology
Even the logo looks like a take off from and older Superfresh design (with the extra long f tail).ReplyDelete
In fact, when I first saw the photo (before reading at all), the store front looked like it could have been a Superfresh at one time, but then I see it wasn't.
Either someone likes that chain and picked up a bunch of stuff that was available, or does a good job of making things that look like what they had!
Exactly! I've seen smaller chains and coops picking up slogans and such from defunct chains (or simply chains that don't use them anymore), so why not do the same with decor and signage? America's Food Basket was for a while using the Come Share Our Values slogan, famously originated by Waldbaum's, for instance.Delete
Yep, that's definitely a Kroger flowers sign. Very cool to see all the different (and well-kept) décor in here!ReplyDelete
Isn't it an interesting store despite its haphazard decor assembly? Or perhaps because of it?Delete
I'd say both!Delete
That would be a thought, particularly for the stores in more tourist areas. Be not only a source of needed items, but a museum of former stores and chains at the same time!Delete