San Bernardino gets fresh & easy

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Sorry, Loma Linda.

Tough luck, Rialto.

We know you have been waiting a very long time for your fresh & easy stores to open. You have our sympathy.

However, I’m glad since the San Bernardino fresh & easy opened Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. Whoo-hoo!

Tucked away in the back corner of a strip mall at the southeast corner of Highland and Del Rosa avenues, the new grocery store grew out of a space that used to be a Chinese restaurant, among other things.

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And judging from the extraordinarily long line of customers waiting for
the grand opening, I wasn’t the only one eagerly looking forward to
fresh & easy coming to town.

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Just prior to the 10 a.m. opening, the store’s manager presented a $1,000 check to the chosen charity, CSUSB’s Upward Bound program, which helps high school students from low-income families continue their education after high school.

After that, came the ribbon-cutting ceremony with 2nd Ward councilman Dennis Baxter.

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Then, the floodgates, er, sliding doors, were opened and customers started streaming in.

And streaming.

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And streaming.

For about a half hour. Seriously.

Once everyone was in the store, things got a little, shall we say, congested?
I know, 100-plus people in a 10,000 square-foot store doesn’t sound like much.
Until you actually experience it.
Things were fine until the first wave of shoppers decided it was time to check out and head home.
Eventually, the checkout line snaked around the corner from the registers, down one shopping aisle and returning back through another before heading toward the back of the store.
For a brief moment, confusion reigned. A few customers grumbled, but hey, what do you expect?
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Compared to this, the line during the Rancho Cucamonga opening was a cake walk.

Luckily, the fresh & easy folks were prepared. Every register was open and staffed.

I held onto my green basket and waited in line.
From near the back of the store, down the aisle toward the baked goods, and back again toward the front of the store, turned the corner and…hey, there’s the registers!
Total time? Less than ten minutes.
Heck, I’ve waited longer than that at other stores when I was the third person in line.
Compared to those lines, this was a cake walk.

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