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.
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.
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.
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.
The soup stand.
The juice bar. Fresh juices made on site. Including with wheat grass – an idea my Bears were completely perplexed by, “People eat grass?”
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.
There is also an impressive selection of baked goods and seafood in the market place.
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.
There is pretty impressive selection of cheeses on display.
The deli meats.
The specialty deli meats.
And the veggies. Very beautifully displayed. Time will tell if these pretty displays last or if they are too “pretty” and not actually practical.
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.
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.
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.