Fresh Market preparing for Wednesday kickoff

Tom Sanders, store manager for Fresh Market in Winchester, stands beside a stocked aisle in the new store on Pleasant Valley Road. The store is scheduled to open on Wednesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER – Crews are working to get the Fresh Market at 1671 S. Pleasant Valley Road up and running for its grand opening at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Several events and promotions are scheduled, said store manager Todd Sanders.

“The first 100 customers that come in, we’re going to be giving out gift bags with $50 worth of Fresh Market items,” Sanders said. “In addition to that, we’re going to have 2,000 reusable bags as the next 2,000 guests come through. We’re going to be doing all kinds of sampling. We’ll be sampling our gourmet burgers. Those are incredible. We’ll have grills and stuff set up out front.”

Sanders, who managed the Fresh Market in Alexandria before moving to the Winchester location, said the store will also hold a ceremony that he said is unique to the Fresh Market.

“At our grand openings, a thing that’s a little different about us, we crack a 75-pound Parmesan wheel as part of our grand opening,” Sanders said. “We actually go over there and score it and crack it open.”

Victoria Hatcher, the bakery manager at Fresh Market, stocks products on the shelves in preparation for Wednesday's grand opening. Rich Cooley/Daily

Winchester will also be well represented at the opening, with performances from a local high school.

“John Handley High School’s band will be playing and the cheerleaders will be out here,” Sanders said.

The store hired about 90 full-time and part-time employees out of a sizable applicant pool.

“(The mix of full-time and part-time) is pretty close to half and half,” Sanders said. “We received over 300 applicants. We got that down to about 90 that we brought in the door. We’re pleased with the quality of people that we got as well. In fact, some of my bosses were talking about how excited they were about some of the staff that we picked up.”

Sanders said that most of those hired were from Winchester, with a handful coming from surrounding towns and counties.

The interior of the building, which used to be part of Kmart, is nearly ready, with non-perishable and frozen items already filling the shelves. Sanders said items with shorter shelf lives like produce and meats will be brought in a few days prior to the grand opening. “Certified Trainers,” as they’re called within the organization, have been present to train employees.

The heart of Fresh Market’s prepared food section – state of the art ovens, prep rooms and refrigeration are all in place and are awaiting products to fill them.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com