Nine months after Penn's initial announcement that Fresh Grocer was to evacuate its location at 4001 Walnut St., the supermarket is still open 24 hours a day.
“It’s business as usual,” Fresh Grocer store manager Dawn Goldstein said. “We’re here forever as long as we’re concerned.”
In early December 2016, Penn (Fresh Grocer’s landlord) argued that the supermarket was too late to renew its lease and called for the store to leave its space by March 31, 2017. The University officially announced in April that the store would be replaced by a new Acme supermarket.
But Fresh Grocer has fought the claim, entering into a legal battle with the University that isn't likely to end anytime soon.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas website lists April 2, 2018 as the “projected settlement date” for the ongoing lawsuit. May 7, 2018 is the “projected pre-trial confirmation date” and June 4, 2018 is the “projected trial date.”
Goldstein said any information regarding Fresh Grocer's departure is “hearsay," because the decision is in the court’s hands. Heidi Wunder of Facilities and Residential Services echoed this, stating in an email that there isn't news of a transition until the legal proceedings end.
Fresh Grocer employees say they aren't too concerned about the suit.
Terry Cooper has been working at the location at 40th and Walnut streets for the past seven years. He lauded Fresh Grocer's fight to save its location and added that he enjoys his job. Cooper said even if this Fresh Grocer closes, he remains employed — he has the option of working for Acme or relocating to another Fresh Grocer, likely at the supermarket's location at 69th Street.
Maureen Gillespie of Wakefern Food Corporation, which owns Fresh Grocer, agreed with Cooper.
"We are heartened by the community’s support as we continue to operate our Walnut Street store and provide healthy foods and a first class grocery store experience,” she said in an emailed statement.