Best Market Prepares for Feb. 17 Opening

Workers are busy hanging signs, erecting shelves, and readying the store.

With ten days left to go before the grand opening, workers on Tuesday were busily preparing the huge Best Market store for its first day of business. "We plan to open February 17," said Jonathan Sender, the marketing and advertising director.

Located in the former Top Tomato supermarket in the Holmdel Commons off Route 35, Best Market will try to compete for attention on a corridor already well-stocked with supermarkets like A&P Fresh, Aldi, Costco, and Pathmark. (Foodtown of Hazlet said it will close Feb. 25.)

Their store's image already has a distinctive feel, thanks to the retro-style signage featuring evoking the 1950s housewife and farming life. On Feb. 7, slick posters were laid out on a table, waiting to be hung. The big idea, explained designer Raanan Gabriel, is to evoke the nostalgia for the days of plentitude and pure, wholesome food. "We are trying to bring positive vibrations into the store," he said.

On one wall, a young woman is shown in deep thought beneath the question, "Looking for that perfect spice?" Shoppers approaching the checkout registers see a happy lady with a perfectly coiffed bouffant zipping off in a little red BMW coupe. Alone.

Visitors to the store will recognize some of the unique aspects of the former Top Tomato store were retained, like the pseudo storefronts accented with replica red tile roofs to give the vast space a more intimate feeling with a vaguely European accent.

The refrigerated dairy section will be located in the back of the store where some dry goods have already been set up in a few aisles. Along the perimeter is the meat department, fish, and bakery sections. The deli and cheese stand is taking shape near the center. Best Market will have a spot to sit down for coffee for fresh juice, near the front of the store. On the opposite side, a "Wall of Savings" will feature advertised specials and browsable displays.

The store will not be dominated by shelving and hard-to-figure pricing. "We want there to be easy access, easy shopping, clarity and simplicity," said Gabriel. Prices in the circular will be mirrored in the store in its stylish, contemporary font.  "We want to reflect transparency."

Sender said the store has been impressed by the qualified workers who have applied for the 70 available jobs being offered. On Tuesday, a man came through the doors and asked about work. He was directed to apply online. "We're still looking at applicants," said Sender. 


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