Happy first day of March Madness, everyone. Today’s news and notes section includes the plight of Fresh & Easy– the neighborhood grocery store that was slated to open in Stockton, San Joaquin County’s 2013 health rankings, and Pacific’s return to the big dance.
Fresh & Easy in trouble: The Los Angeles Times has a story today about the demise of the neighborhood grocery chain Fresh & Easy, which in 2009 planned to open “five or six” stores in Stockton, including a location at Grupe’s University Park. Those stores never opened and probably never will (though there is one in Modesto) as the Times reports that Fresh & Easy has taken a loss of $2 billion since entering the US market in 2007. The company, owned by British supermarket firm Tesco, has been unable to retain a loyal customer base, according to the Times. Moreover, industry observers note that Fresh & Easy’s business model is flawed, expanding too rapidly and failing to restock popular items, among other things. One expert in the Times article said that the company’s failure ranks among the worst ever for a supermarket. This week, Fresh & Easy customers received an email saying that they were unsure if Tesco would continue to run the stores.
When I last checked with Grupe back in the fall, they conceded that they did not know when– or if– Fresh & Easy would fulfill their pledge to open a location at University Park. In light of recent events, it looks unlikely that Stockton will ever see the grocer come to town.
San Joaquin ranks 42nd out of 57 counties for health: Yesterday, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps came out with their county health rankings for 2013. The rankings are designed to help counties determine what factors are contributing to the health of its residents, and what areas need improvement. San Joaquin County (as well as all Central Valley counties) ranks towards the bottom, with the state’s more affluent areas near the top. Moreover, San Joaquin dropped from 37th last year to 42nd this year. Since 2010, the county has slipped or remained the same in several of the study’s categories, such as the prevalence of smoking, obesity, and uninsured individuals.
Go Tigers!: Lastly, UOP returns to the NCAA Tournament on Friday for the first time since 2006. Seeded 15th in their region, the Tigers are set to take on the number two seeded Miami Hurricanes, the champs of the Atlantic Coast Conference. While the Hurricanes certainly present the biggest challenge the team has faced all year, some experts have pegged UOP as a potential dark horse, noting that teams who shoot well from beyond the arc are capable of pulling off big upsets. The Tigers rank 16th in the nation in three-point percentage, with pretty much every player on the floor capable of connecting from long range. Hopefully, the team can extend Coach Bob Thomason’s last season for a couple more days and give Stocktonians something to cheer about.