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Fresh & Easy to Open in Northern Calif.

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San Francisco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced on Wednesday that it will open 18 stores in Northern California starting in 2009. Eleven of the 18 locations will be in the greater East Bay area.

It will be the second wave of stores opened by Fresh & Easy, which has already debuted dozens of stores in Southern California, as well as in the Las Vegas and Phoenix metropolitan areas.

In the greater East Bay, the chain will open two stores each in Antioch and Hayward, as well as one each in Oakland, Walnut Creek, Concord, Danville, Oakley, Vallejo and Fairfield. In other parts of the Bay Area, the chain will open two stores each in San Francisco and San Jose, as well as individual stores in Napa, Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

The stores are distinguished by their medium-size layout of about 10,000 sq. ft. and their emphasis on fresh produce and prepared foods.

The company has said it wants to build stores in both affluent communities and lower-income socioeconomic neighborhoods that typically lack large supermarkets.

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