Tag Archives: Grocery shopping

Burquitlam Safeway Grand Opening

Friday was the grand opening of the Burquitlam location of the newest Safeway in Metro Vancouver and I have to admit, I was quite impressed with the design and layout of the new store.

Burquitlam Safeway

You enter the new store at ground level where there is a sort of market section; there are bulk boxes of fruits and veggies and a floral department.

I suppose they needed to do something with the ground floor because it is the level where people enter from but it is not the main part of the store. Perhaps this area will be sub-leased once the Burquitlam area becomes more fully developed.

Burquitlam Safeway

Then when you come upstairs into the main floor of the store there is a real “market like” feel. It is almost like many small market stalls inside one store. There is a Starbucks, a Bento Box/Sushi place, a thin crust, made fresh on site pizza place, a sandwich store, a fresh juice stall, and more.

Burquitlam Safeway

The feeling that I got from this new location of Safeway is a combination of Whole Foods and Thrifty’s Food. It has a warm and welcoming feel to the store with lower light levels than the typical surgical room brightness that so many stores still use.

Yes, the “main” part of the store, where the shelves of canned and preserved foods are on display is still brightly lit, but they got the lighting right in the market place.

I have to admit, I spent most of my time wandering around what I call the “market place” where all the ready to take and eat foods and the fresh fruits and veggies are on display.

Burquitlam Safeway

The soup stand.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

The juice bar. Fresh juices made on site. Including with wheat grass – an idea my Bears were completely perplexed by, “People eat grass?”

Burquitlam Safeway

As I said, there is a clear focus on convenience foods in the Burquitlam Safeway. Food s you can take away and quickly re-heat or take away already hot. I assume the designers of the store are counting on the residents of the surrounding residential towers being frequent shoppers.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

There is also an impressive selection of baked goods and seafood in the market place.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

Seafood display including an aquarium of doom. My Bears wanted me to buy all the lobsters and crabs on display and free them. However, they also wanted me to buy some of the scallops that were on display and take them home to cook and eat.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

There is pretty impressive selection of cheeses on display.

Burquitlam Safeway

The deli meats.

Burquitlam Safeway

The specialty deli meats.

Burquitlam Safeway

And the veggies. Very beautifully displayed. Time will tell if these pretty displays last or if they are too “pretty” and not actually practical.

Burquitlam Safeway

The prices, at first glance they seem competitive…although I was not really paying attention to the prices. I was focused on the design and layout of the store.

Burquitlam Safeway

More produce on display.
Burquitlam Safeway

There is also a large of selection of bulk foods in the Burquitlam Safeway. I have to admit that this is basically as far into the main part of the store that I ventured. I will explore more of the store on my next visit – including finding how Safeway has managed to build a liquor store into this location.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

One more thing I did notice; the check-out counters are thoughtfully designed. While there are some “self checkout” counters, there are also checkout counters that are staffed.

The checkouts are far enough apart that people with strollers, wheelchairs, or buggies full of goods are not being squeezed through a chute like cattle. Thoughtful.

My first impressions of the store are quite positive. On my next visit I will be sure to more closely check prices, find the liquor in the store, and get into the main part of the store.

 

Urban Fare Suburban Style – Price Smart Foods

My dear friend and fellow blogger, Leeanne Ekland was tweeting and Facebooking (is that actually a verb now?) about the new Urban Fare False Creek store that opened in the Olympic Village this week and that got me to thinking about the differences between and urban and a suburban life.

You know Urban Fare? The store that sells coffee beans that some bird has eaten and then excreted, get collected up and turned into a gourmet coffee for urbanites everywhere? Or bread baked in France, flown overnight express to our city and sold by the slice as fresh bread (even though technically it is day old by the time it hits the store shelves).

Admittedly the photo of Leeanne Ekland’s grocery basket didn’t contain any coffee or day old bread, but it did contain organically grown raspberries, rice cakes and other delicious, healthy treats.

She also had a picture of a grinning Jimmy Pattison welcoming customers to his newest store.

Contrast that with the Pattison store in my neighbourhood…

Price Smart Foods
Price Smart Foods

 

The suburban stores are really nifty. Blindingly bright fluorescent lights that are on from early in the morning until long after midnight when the store on North Road near Lougheed Mall closes. Really sets the mood.

Inside the store you have a handful of young people jamming boxes of canned goods onto shelves and bread products that have been made in a factory in another part of Canada, trucked in and warmed right here in the store. Not quite as glamourous as flying bread in from France.

I did find a “specialty item” in the poultry section at Price Smart that I bet you cannot find at any Urban Fare – “fowl”.

Yep, “fowl”. A fresh bird that looks sort of like a large bony pigeon. When I asked an employee what “fowl” actually is, he told me that it is a chicken that was a layer-hen who met an early demise. He added that they are not good for roasting, really only good for making soup stock.

I have to admit, they are creepy looking birds. I do not recommend them. Even though the bird-poop coffee has made its way through the digestive system of another bird or monkey or something, it just seems easier on the eyes.

At any rate, when you want to leave Price Smart, well, you are on your own. Literally.

In the morning there are only self-checkout stands. There are no cashiers. Remember the good old days when you had someone ring in your grocery purchases and then ask if you wanted paper or plastic bags? And then they packed them in the bag of your choice?

Not here. Nope, in their quest for lower prices, Price Smart Foods has dispensed with cashiers. DIY-extreme grocery shopping.

The good thing is, there is a young lady standing nearby filing her finger nails and if you are like me and you make the computer system fail, she will stop filing her nails for a moment and will come sauntering over to tell you that you need to enter the code that is on the sticker on the bananas.

It is interesting how young people can find a voice of such disdain for us old-timers who are so uninformed (in their world view).

When I replied that there was in fact no sticker with a secret price code stencilled on it, she replied that the code was **** as if it was beyond ridiculous that I did not know this code.

And as you leave the store, the doors automatically open, a blast of hot air blasts into your face pushing all but the most extreme gel coated hair straight back and possibly out of your scalp. It sort of feels like you are being sanitized as you leave the store.

Yep, welcome to the suburban-style Urban Fare. A store where lower prices are paid for with the service that you can only dream about.