Well, after a long wait, The Fresh Market has finally opened near here. We waited a long time in the hopes for a Wild Oats or Whole Foods. I am not as familiar with TFM, but my take is that it's similar in concept to Whole Foods but smaller. We do have a few smaller organic/natural markets in town (a respectful nod to Rollin' Oats, Natures and Richard's). But it's about time we got a full-on green supermarket.
I went in today for the first time since they opened this past Wednesday. It was still a mad house! The produce was great, and the prices seemed comparable to Publix. So far so good. My only complaint is that the layout of the floor is horrible. Everything is at an angle, which looks cool, and I suppose separates them from every other market, but there's a reason why the others have aisles in a normal straight line. With the crowds, it was ridiculously difficult to get around. If there was more than one person with a cart in the aisle, it was nearly impossible to get around. I assume that once the customer flow settles into the norm, it might not be so bad, but I would think that they would plan for the best possible scenario with as many customers as they could hope for.
Years ago I worked with a retailer who remodeled all their stores and moved the aisles to a 45 degree angle to the exterior walls. It was a pretty radical change, and it wasn't too long before I think they realized the error of their ways. I'm not sure if the new place will come to the same conclusion or not, but I'm still happy they're here and will still shop there once in a while.