Lineups form at Mercato Fresh both inside and out

Mercato Fresh on Grand Avenue West in Chatham. February 13, 2020. (Photo by Natalia Vega)

The newest grocery store to open its doors in Chatham has been so well received, it’s leaving some in amazement.

Mercato Fresh, located at the corner of Keil Drive North and Grand Avenue West, opened its doors to customers for the first time on Thursday.

Murad Erzinclioglu, marketing director for Mercato Fresh, said there were people waiting for employees to unlock the doors when they opened at 8 a.m. During the first few hours of its opening, he also said there were constant line-ups at the check-outs.

“I don’t know if we expected it to be this busy but we did expect there to be a lot of interest,” he said. “The Chatham community is so enthusiastic about us coming, the response we have seen online — as well as now in the store is completely overwhelming and we are so honoured.”

Mercato Fresh has maintained a powerful online presence through its website and social media pages. Erzinclioglu said the online response was actually “so powerful” that the website crashed on Wednesday night.

“When we announced our first flyer of the week, so many people clicked on it at the same time that it actually crashed the site. Our webserver called us and said you don’t have the bandwidth to handle this,'” said Erzinclioglu. “So we had to expand the bandwidth and now we shouldn’t see that issue again.”

Mercato Fresh will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday morning.

“I’ve been working in marketing for years now and I have never seen a response like this to any business or project that I’ve worked on,” he said.

In addition to offering fresh products at an affordable price, Erzinclioglu said they are aiming to work with as many local producers as possible. One local supplier includes Summer’s Gold Honey Company, based out of Merlin.

“We are connecting with various local growers and farmers. It is our goal to keep this as local as we can,” he said. “Of course, there are some items that aren’t grown in the area that we’ll have to go outside of the region for but we are very adamant about supporting the local community.”

Erzinclioglu mentioned the store will be offering recipe ideas and tips through their website and social media platforms for customers who would like ideas on how to use their purchased products.