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Modern design combined with market touches in Freson Bros' new store


The new Freson Bros. Fresh Market in Stony Plain, Alberta, wants to combine the best of your local fresh market and a modern grocery store, all under one roof.

“We have everything you’d expect to get at a farmers’ market,” said Mandi Fawcett, director of advertising services, of the 43,000 sq. ft. store, which opened to the public on March 1. “We’ve got the butchers who actually cut the meat and service the customer at the counter. The bakers are at the counter. It’s that fresh market feeling. We just happen to have groceries as well.”

In a nod to the chain’s largely rural clientele, the facade of the Fresh Market is shaped like the distinctive Alberta grain elevators.

Inside, one corner of the produce section has been converted into an artificial root cellar, which is temperature controlled and darker than the rest of the store.

This is also a familiar sight to the store’s owners.

“Where we grew up, we didn’t really have refrigeration,” said Mike Lovsin, president of Freson Market and one of three brothers who oversees the chain. “That’s the truth. Every farm had a root cellar where they kept their potatoes and onions.”

Freson Bros. maintains 15 stores across Alberta, and the Lovsins are in the process of updating all of them from the old IGA brand.

The Stony Plain location is the first to be expanded into a Fresh Market, which includes added features like the Healthy Choices section, the interactive Baker’s Shop, an 83-ingredient Fresh Kitchen Salad Bar, and a 70-seat, buffet-style restaurant complete with gas fireplace.

All of the Fresh Market’s meat, including beef, chicken, pork, and turkey, comes from local Alberta farms.

“We’re taking a stand,” Lovsin said. “We’re not going to bring anything in from out of country, or out of province.”

They also do all of their butchering and preparation on-site. Next to a red door marked “Banj’s Smoke House,” you can watch through a window as sausages get ground and cased. If a packaged cut of meat is too large, take it to the counter and they’ll pare it down to your specifications.

The Fresh Market carries plenty of other products from smaller Alberta communities, too: pickles from the hamlet of Tomahawk, milk and yogurt from Lacombe.

Many of those farmers are also Freson Bros. regulars.

“What we talk about in this store is family, community, and heritage,” said Ken Lovsin, VP of information  technology. “We want our customers to be part of the family. So if we can source products from our customers, that comes in line with our thinking.”

See the photos from the new store:

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