Freson Bros. has opened its first store in Edmonton, bringing the Alberta-based grocer’s store count to 15. The 42,000-sq.-ft. store is located in the new Rabbit Hill Crossing shopping centre in the city’s south end.
Founded in 1955 as a family-owned butcher shop, Freson Bros. is now the largest family-owned independent grocer in Alberta. The retailer, which prides itself on Alberta products, has focused on smaller communities in the province.
Freson Bros. has two locations in the Metro Edmonton area—Stony Plain, which launched the new Fresh Market concept in 2013, and Fort Saskatchewan, which opened a Fresh Market in 2018.
“We’ve enjoyed being in the suburban communities outside of Edmonton and people really enjoy the brand, so now was the time to move into Edmonton,” says Doug Lovsin, president of Freson Bros.
The new store’s offerings include the Market Garden produce department, which emphasizes Alberta-grown produce; Mother Dough Bread Co., which makes breads using Freson Bros.’ famous handmade sourdough; and the Father Dough pizza station, which serves up wood-fired pizzas made with the sourdough.
Lovsin notes that Freson Bros.’ sourdough is in the world’s only sourdough library, located in Brussels, Belgium. “They keep it, we send them Alberta flour and they feed the Mother Dough every day,” he says. “Mother Dough sourdough has clean ingredients: there’s only flour, water and salt, and we make all of our artisan breads in house.”
The new store also features made-in-store smokehouse sausage, pepperoni and beef jerky; and a selection of made-in-store cheeses.
Meal destinations at the new store include Butcher’s Cookhouse, which makes hot meals centred on Alberta beef, pork and chicken; and the Fresh off the Grill concept whose menu features Smashburger, steak sandwich and tartine. The store also features a 120-seat fully licensed restaurant.
“We have three core values: we believe that really great food matters, we believe in the value of human connection, and we believe in the craft,” says Lovsin. “The craft is the skill of our people. We have carcass butchers, sausage makers, Red Seal bakers, Red Seal chefs and cheesemakers in our stores. We are really focused on the development of skill on our team and you can see the pride in the product.”