Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Snapshot: Super C - 147 Atwater, Montreal, QC

Today is the last post of May, and also the last post of Montreal. If you want to catch up on any of the previous posts you haven't read yet, you can see them by selecting Group: Montreal from the menu on the right.

Today's Snapshot isn't a great photo, but I wanted to include it anyway.
This store is a Super C discount supermarket at 147 Atwater Ave in Montreal, directly across from the Marché Atwater. It's owned by the Metro chain of supermarkets. What struck me is how ridiculously similar their logo was to our old friend C-Town! Check out this picture from C-Town's website, then try and tell me they don't look almost identical. I don't know which big yellow C came first, but they're awfully close. And anyway, C-Town is a good transition back to New Jersey, where we'll see a former A&P on Friday! Plus, we're back to our normal schedule with a tour on Monday.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Look Inside: Supermarché PA - 1420 Rue du Fort, Montreal, QC

Happy Memorial Day!

Montreal's supermarkets have been very, very different from what I'm used to. I guess that's to be expected, but even the Nova Scotia stores were closer to what I'm used to in the US. This store was not an exception, but it was also probably the coolest of all the stores I visited.
Apologies for the finger in the photo. This store, known as Supermarché PA, is part of a three-store chain that seems to be a trendy, not-quite-discount grocery store. I just happened upon it, and I wish I had gone in knowing more about it. In fact, from the outside, I initially thought it was an Asian store (based on absolutely nothing). It is a great building. This is one of those stores that isn't wide but goes way back.
And if you're worried that the ceiling looks pretty low on the first floor, you might be right. But you wouldn't know because they've opened up the whole store to two levels...
Looking from the amazing (and amazingly cheap) produce department towards the front wall. What I didn't realize at the time was that the second-floor balcony contains the butcher, the deli/bakery, and a seating area!
In fact, I didn't take many photos inside here because a lot of people were standing on the second floor, looking out onto the first floor (watching me, presumably). I thought they were all employees and managers, but they were just customers looking out over the store! If I had known that, I would have gone up to the second floor myself.
The store also featured a large selection of groceries, some discounted and some not.
Fresh meats towards the front of the store on the far side.
I wish I had known more about PA before visiting because I would have really gone in-depth in my coverage here. Unfortunately, I have only these few pictures. If you want to find out more, the store is located at 1420 Rue du Fort in Montreal.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Snapshot: Unidentified IGA near Montreal

Driving near Montreal, I grabbed a quick picture of this IGA. Can anyone identify it or give a location?
This is much larger and nicer than the IGA on Wellington, yet it's not designated an "IGA Extra". Of course, their naming restrictions could be like Key Food--basically put up whatever sign you like.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Snapshot: Marché Jasmin - Montreal, QC

Another ethnic market along Wellington is the Marché Jasmin. This particular store specializes in Halal meats.
It also has a selection of groceries and produce and is just down the street from Marché Inter Asia. These two stores pretty well sum up the immigrant populations in Verdun; Eastern Asian and Middle Eastern.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Snapshot: Metro - 349 Rue de l'Eglise, Montreal, QC

Metro is another major, family-owned supermarket in the Verdun area, just about two blocks off of Wellington on Rue de l'Eglise--Street of the Church, or basically Church Street. I had hoped to return to this store to get a full tour, but unfortunately, I didn't.
Metro is much larger than IGA as you can tell. Like IGA, it's franchised through a chain, so the sign for Bellemare represents the owner of this store. And apparently, the sign on the corner here (which, by the way, faces towards Wellington) has been missing its -tro for a while. Personally, I didn't like Metro very much. It does actually have decor, but it feels cheap and corny in person, and about 20 years outdated. As a matter of fact, there are plans (English translation) to replace this Metro with (surprise!) a multi-story residential building with a new Metro on the ground floor, which has (surprise!) sparked conflict in the neighborhood. However, more recently, Metro Bellemare posted on its Facebook page that it would not be financially viable to go through with the originally proposed project.

As an interesting aside, Metro was founded in 1947 in Verdun! Today, the company runs roughly 700 stores and is the third largest grocery retailer in Canada, behind Loblaw Companies and Sobeys (which runs the IGA store). Among their banners is Super C (which we'll see a little more of shortly) and Food Basics Canada, purchased from A&P.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Look Inside: Marché Inter Asia - Montreal, QC

Heading directly across the street from Branche d'Olivier and Vert Pomme to this Asian food store, which is very similar to Asian food stores in New Jersey and the area, such as Xi House Market in Parsippany (here's an interior photo). It's at 4335 Wellington.
It appears there's a large Asian population in the Verdun area, as there are several Asian grocery stores.
This store has a small selection of just about everything--produce, fish, meat, grocery, home goods!
Although the store is small, the produce department is fairly substantial. And most of the signs are in Chinese and French. 0 for 2, for me!
Le Boucher is more like le poissonnerie, again thanks to my friend Google Translate. These cases all held fresh fish on ice, and packaged meats were stocked in the case to my left here.
The market really packs in the groceries! Even though the store is so small, there's a pretty comprehensive selection of foods. IGA doesn't even pretend to have an international section, so this fills a need in the area.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Look Inside: Chez Robin Marché Local - Montreal, QC

At the north end of the Wellington corridor in Verdun (3819 Wellington) is a small gourmet market called Chez Robin Marché Local. According to my French-speaking friend Google Translate, this roughly translates to At Robin's Local Market, like "Robin's Place" Local Market. I think. Anyone else speak French?
It's a beautiful store with some really unusual and interesting products. Looks like it had just opened when I visited over the summer of 2017. And let's just say we can politely direct the bargain shoppers to IGA down the street.
The glass storefront is really cool, letting in a lot of light. The store offers produce, a deli (I think) and grocery items, including HABA.
Reminds me of one of those super-upscale places in Manhattan or Brooklyn or something. This photo isn't great, but it gives you an idea. If you want a better look inside, however, check out this Google Maps 360-degree view...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Hudson County Music Video!

Because I have way too much free time, I'm proud to introduce The Market Report's first...

MUSIC VIDEO!

If you couldn't get enough of our Hudson County group, then you're in luck! Now, you can see random photos from the group in no particular order compiled in a music video for no reason other than... "why not?"

Seriously, though -- I hope this is at least a little fun, because I think I might make some more going forward. Thoughts?

TOUR: IGA - 4500 Wellington, Montreal, QC

The one major supermarket along the Wellington corridor in Verdun is an IGA. US-based IGA operates many international locations--almost 5,000 stores worldwide--but in this area of Canada, they are run through Sobeys, a major supermarket chain. Sobeys then franchises the individual locations to independent operators. I guess it works or they wouldn't be doing it, but doesn't that seem like a convoluted way to run independent stores? What's wrong with a plain old cooperative? I'm surprised IGA even lets Sobeys run the stores under their corporate supervision. In the US, the IGA subgroups (such as Retail Marketing Group) are not separately supermarket chains.
The IGA's corporate-looking, kind of cheesy facade doesn't quite match the rest of the neighborhood.
As you can see with this poster in the window, this IGA is run by the Champagne group. Like many urban supermarkets in this area, the store offers free delivery and I saw the Champagne IGA van driving around the neighborhood several times. There is also a private parking lot in the back, but only one entrance!
At least the store's exterior is clean and well-maintained. You enter on the right to produce along the right-side wall, deli/bakery in an island in the first aisle, meat/dairy along the back wall, and frozen foods in the last aisle to the left.
Let's head in and check out the interior...
Now hang on to your hats, folks, and take in that beautiful decor. I don't know which is more exciting, the blank white walls, the white vinyl floors, or the beige ceiling.
The decor (or lack thereof) notwithstanding, the store actually was great. It had an excellent selection of produce, including a large organic section (here, biologique), fresh breads, and all the grocery staples for pretty reasonable prices.
Wine lines the front half of the produce aisle, with deli/bakery behind me here.
Nice bakery selections for a small store. It looks like they do bake in-store. And some color (barely) on the floor!
This area (behind the bread) is a prep space, with cheese lining the right side case, prepared foods facing the back wall, and a small deli facing into the first grocery aisle. Quite obviously, delis are not the priority in Montreal supermarkets that they are here!
Overview of produce. The cases are actually very high, so it's hard to see over them.
Even that one column of exposed brick is painted white. Come on!
Unlike most US supermarkets, it appears that managers' offices are actually in the rear of the store on the second floor, rather than the front. Cheese/deli runs along this island to the left. Great cheese selection, too.
Unfortunately, this deli is not so impressive, more of an afterthought, it looks like. The meat department is behind me here, along the back wall. That last case at the end is a tiny hot food counter.
A look along the exciting back aisle. These refrigerator cases are quite old, and although they were well-stocked, they were not particularly cold. Interesting.
And of course, bagged milk is a staple. Not something we're used to seeing!
 The grocery aisles are pretty much the same as any other supermarket anywhere else. Some familiar brands, like Kashi here, and some we never see back in the US. In fact, this store does not sell the famous IGA storebrand, but instead Sobeys' Compliments brand.
In the last aisle, looking towards the back corner. Two things that this store does have that are really nice are the high ceilings and plenty of windows.
In the last aisle, we get a glimpse of what the store used to look like...
Well, we know there used to be a smaller gray tile floor. But we also know now that there's a concrete subfloor. So why not just scrape it all up and leave a concrete floor? Anyway, additional wine and beer fill up this corner of the front-end, possibly in front of more managers' offices. The checkouts are past wine and beer...
Past the first checkout is a desk, either courtesy or security (or both). No one was at it anyway, any of the times I went into this store.
Although many Montreal residents speak limited English, the cashiers and customer service employees here at IGA were all (in my experience) fluent in both English and French. And they were all very friendly. That's the key--as much as I can make fun of the store's decor, fixtures, or anything else, it was a great store because it had a good selection of products, the prices were reasonable, the people were friendly, and it was clean. Believe me, I've been in some strange supermarkets, but mostly, I just came out of this store scratching my head over more than a few things!

IGA

4500 Rue Wellington, Verdun, Montreal, QC
Open Daily 8AM-10PM
http://www.iga.net
+1 514-766-7540 (Canada number)
My Rating:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Snapshot: SuperFresh Irvington!

I did my food shopping this afternoon at SuperFresh Irvington. It's a really great store with a surprisingly wide selection of products (but no Sun Chips, for whatever reason!). Here's a few random cool things I found...
  1. Store-baked chocolate chip cookies. They look amazing - 2/$2.00.
  2. Roasted Korean seaweed snacks whose ingredients are seaweed, canola oil, sesame oil, and salt - $1.49.
  3. A ready-to-eat dinner for two--or so it says--of palak paneer (an Indian dish that includes cheese cubes in a spinach sauce) with no preservatives but that was actually made in India - $4.19.
  4. A jumbo yam (which is actually different from just a big regular yam, apparently) - $0.59/lb.
Plus, the manager is fantastic. I'm not entirely sure if the guy I saw today is manager/owner James Lee, but he was a young Korean man -- extremely nice, to both customers and employees, and very actively involved in running the store. There was absolutely none of the usual tension between the primarily Korean management and primarily African-American employees and customer base, as described in the book I'm reading right now! I wish them luck!