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Somerville’s Davis Square welcomes third bfresh market in Greater Boston area

Bfresh market, an organic supermarket, opens in Davis Square, Somerville, bringing nutritional options to the community. PHOTO BY ABIGAIL FREEMAN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Bfresh market officially launched its third branch in Davis Square, Somerville on Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and special discounts for customers who came on that day.

The ceremony, which took place at 9 a.m., started with a welcome from Somerville Ward 6 alderman Lance Davis as several people awaited the store’s opening. By 8:50 a.m., a long line had already formed outside the store, and everyone who was waiting in the line received a free bunch of bananas.

Davis addressed the crowd and talked about how the community had been waiting for a grocery store in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. He also said that before bfresh arrived, the building had been a sore spot for everyone’s eyes due to its dilapidated state since a Dunkin’ Donuts had shut down. Finally, he cut the ribbon and the crowd surged into the store.

As the third bfresh market in Boston, the company has made changes to complement the neighborhood. These include a larger assortment of organic products and an emphasis on affordability, said Saskia de Jongh, the designer of the store and vice president of marketing, format and store development at Fresh Formats, LLC.

Jean Tepaske, 71, of Somerville, said she had been eagerly waiting for the opening of the store.

“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in the grocery store,” Tepaske said. “It’s so airy and happy, and I’m just going back to tell my friends about it now.”

De Jongh said bfresh focuses on providing groceries to people with special food needs, emphasizing the wide range of vegan, gluten-free, organic and health foods available in the store.

“We’ve found that people nowadays are really focused on health, and we really want to be able to provide them with the options they need to be able to meet these dietary needs” she said.

The location of the store was also a very important aspect of its appeal, Davis said. With no grocery stores in the neighborhood, the residents of the area had a longstanding complaint about how difficult it was to meet their basic grocery needs, which drew bfresh to the new location.

“We’ve been eyeing this place for quite a while,” said de Jongh. “This was one of the first locations that we realized ‘here is our target customer.’ We really want to focus on urban city dwellers, people who live in small apartments and shop multiple times a week, and this was the perfect place for that.”

De Jongh said she designed the layout of the store based on the availability of the different types of fresh products.

“When one first walks into the store, they can see the fresh produce, which is one of our most important focuses, and we have a lot of organic options as well for nearly everything,” she said. “We find that our customers really value the availability of organic produce here.”

Next thing customers see is the Little Kitchen area, she said, which prepares hot, ready-to-eat meals. There is also an elaborate salad bar that offers a wide range of options.

This was followed by a section of ready-to-cook foods, including marinated meats and recipe packs as an attempt to ensure easy and affordable shopping, de Jongh said.

“We do a lot of in-store, scratch-made foods,” Ali Demadis, research and development chef of the Little Kitchen, said after the opening. “One of our specialty items is the meal kit.”

Demadis said the store’s signature meal kits are eight different dishes of pre-packaged and pre-measured food, which include protein, vegetables, sides, sauces and more.

Toward the end of the store, there are regular items that customers can find in any grocery store. Bfresh market had also teamed up with several local bakeries to provide a wide range of artisan breads to help promote local businesses, de Jongh said.

Jude Shabry, 43, of Cambridge, said although she technically lives in Cambridge, this bfresh store would still be the closest grocery store to her.

“I live in a nearby neighborhood, so I’m here all the time, and today I saw this shop and I was really happy to see it,” Shabry said.

She emphasized its convenience in the neighborhood.

“I was around on the day that the façade of Dunkin’ Donuts fell down, and we’ve been waiting for something like this to happen ever since,” Shabry said. “This is my first time in here, and I’m very impressed. The prices actually look pretty good, and the vegan selection is great.”

One Comment

  1. No grocery stores in the neighborhood? What about Pemberton Market, a neighborhood stalwart, 4 blocks away?