Fry's to Open New Hispanic Format

TOLLESON, Ariz. -- Kroger-owned Fry's Saturday will open a new concept store in Phoenix that is designed to serve both the growing Hispanic population in Arizona as well as non-Hispanics who enjoy authentic Mexican and Latin American foods.

Called Mercado, the concept will be the new prototype for all new Fry's stores. "With 115 stores in the Phoenix area, we want to provide special service and quality products to our Hispanic customers," said Maria Fernandez, manager of the new store. All employees will be bilingual or will speak Spanish, she said.

The 66,284-square-foot store is designed to offer Mexican shoppers products they grew up with, and other shoppers new foods presented with preparation ideas by a friendly, well-trained staff. The butcher shop showcases items used in traditional cooking, from marinated and seasoned meats to family packs for those who wish to buy larger quantities for extra savings. The produce department features popular Hispanic items, and the center of the store offers traditional grocery products as well as spices and seasonings required for home-style Mexican cooking. A party center is also available, and features the assistance of a party consultant.

Departments have Hispanic names: "La Fresca Cosecha" (The Fresh Harvest) is the produce department, while "La Pesca del Dia" is the name of the seafood counter.

The new prototype also helps local Hispanic merchants sell their wares. A mini-market lining the west wall of the building, called the "Avenida de los Arcos," features seven shops operated by independent merchants. The stores offer men's and women's clothing, shoes, boots, hats, western wear, jewelry, bridal wear, and accessories. The area also includes a barbershop, and music store.

Mercado will also offer sit-down dining -- both inside and outside the store. Inside is "Mi Cocina Favorita" (My Favorite Kitchen), a signature restaurant serving traditional Mexican foods for dining in or carry out. Dos Fuentes, which will open after the store's grand opening, will provide an outside dining experience that features charcoal roasted chicken. In addition, Mercado will have a tortilla factory and bakery with all products baked from scratch on premises.

A complete Farmacia de Fry's (pharmacy) is adjacent to the spot reserved for the Clinica, which will open in coming months to offer medical services. The Farmacia participates in the Fry's Prescription Advantage Program, which assures the lowest price on prescriptions for those without insurance. The front of the store also offers a free check cashing center, "Cajero de Cheques."
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