Things that are sad: being excited about the opening of a new grocery. What’s even sadder: Being disappointed when said grocery store isn’t the fantastic journey into Groceryland that you were hoping it would be.
On Friday, November 21, the Independent City Market (part of the Loblaws family) opened at the corner of King and Shaw, in the base of the new DNA 3 condo building. While the Metro at College isn’t too far from my place, this new grocery store is located on my usual path home, a path that is otherwise devoid of grocery-buying opportunities. Because of this, I was very excited to hear about this store’s arrival. Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the finishing touches be put on the space and my excitement level grew. The store looked so clean, shiny and filled with fun and different foods; I was really looking forward to shopping there.
Finally, this past Thursday, I had an excuse to go inside the new neighbourhood addition. Initially, I wasn’t disappointed. This is very clean, very new, and packed with fun and interesting products. However, interesting doesn’t necessarily mean useful.
When I went on Thursday, I had a list of specific items that I needed and very quickly I discovered that:
- It’s good for your basics like milk, eggs or butter;
- It’s great it you want some kind of special and different snack, condiment or single-serving beverage
- It’s not so good if you’re looking for anything else. For example, I needed a few different kinds of salts and spices (onion powder, onion salt and seasoned salt). At first I couldn’t find any spices and then a nice employee pointed me in the direction of a rack that was maybe three feet by four or five. It didn’t have what I needed though it did offer several types of vegan caviar.
As far as I can tell, this store seems to be catering to two groups of people: Those who just ran out of one of your basics items or those looking for a great hostess gift. If you’re in either of those groups, you’re covered. But if you’re not, well, be prepared to have to hit up another grocery store.
I would blame this approach on the store’s small space but Westside Markets in New York City occupy small spaces and they are still one of my favourite places to get groceries because somehow they manage to have everything you need and then some.
I always knew that this grocery store wasn’t going to all offer everything I needed. However, I did think that one of its strengths would be its hot/ready-to-go foods since the area is packed with young, busy condo-dwellers who would literally eat those items up. But this section was surprisingly small, which resulted in the options being rather limited.
When I headed over to this section, I fully expected to be overwhelmed by choice. Instead, I found myself in the opposite position: There just simply wasn’t a wide variety of food to choose from. Again, your basics are covered. The hot counter has ribs, whole roasted chickens, cooked potatoes and various salads while sandwiches, soups and a few boxes of sushi can be found in the nearby fridge. But the made-to-order sandwich-and-salad counter that I really hoped would be in the store was nowhere in sight (yes, Westside Market has one of these).
Maybe in time the selection at this grocery will improve and the ready-to-go counter will grow. In the meantime, I will still be shopping there as it is an ideal place for me to stop, grab milk and discover a new favourite lemonade (I do give this place a gold star for its wide selection of drinks).
Now if only it was legal to get off the streetcar, run into the store for a few minutes and, using the transfer I received on the 504, continue my journey on the Ossington bus.