The Burbank store, one of the company’s first in Los Angeles County, is filled with a selection of natural and organic foods that resemble what customers might find if they merged a Trader Joe’s with a Whole Foods Market, Della Bitta said.
“We’re kind of a mixture of both of those stores,” she said.
The 27,000-square foot market at 1011 N. San Fernando Road, adjacent to CVS/Pharmacy, was an exciting change for shoppers who said they were ready for a change from the conventional offerings at a Ralphs across the street.
Still, most customers Wednesday, including the most eager visitors who were among the first in line, said they had never heard of Henry’s and were drawn to the store by the promise of free groceries.
“When you don’t have any income coming in, $75, that’ll feed for two weeks,” said Burbank resident Steve Roe, who has been out of work for a year.
Roe was laid off from an auto-parts dealer after eight years on the job and, like many in line, was looking for any way to save money.
“Plus it was an experience,” he said. “We sat out here with sleeping bags, got out the laptop and watched Twilight.”
Shoppers inside the store crowded aisles with shopping carts as they weaved between sample tables featuring bacon, chips and salsa and fresh meat and produce.
The new store will be a major and unique addition to an area north of downtown, City Manager Mike Flad said.
It will also create an economic infusion as it adds about 90 jobs to the area, with most employees from Burbank, store manager John Gibson said.
“In this economy, any time you’re getting a world-class business that’s opening their doors, we’re excited about it,” Flad said.
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