Because it’s new, and because I really want to be fair to Walmart, I headed over to the Neighborhood Market at 132/Maple today. I hoped to find lots of fresh, organic produce, a wider selection of grocery items, and maybe some meat deals. It gets mixed reviews from me.
To me, each department of this store seems smaller and the selection less varied than a regular Walmart. Maybe that’s what they were going for: compact. There is a very small personal care section, compared to standard stores, but prices are Walmart low. A very, very small paper goods section, and a similar baby aisle. Pretty much everything is on a limited scale. Produce section is not signed well, but I mentioned that to the manager, and he said they’re already working on it (awesome). Shelves are also painted black, and that trendy look makes me claustrophobic. Another thing, it’s not real easy to get in and out, and their property manager should address the potholes on the service road.
You won’t find ginormous theme displays at this store. No holiday baking center in the center aisle, no freezer islands with seventeen kinds of grill-ready brats. There’s also no big deli or bakery area. So far, it’s all standardized business layout to move ’em in and out. Moo.
Nonetheless, I found that there are much more organic vegs at the Neighborhood Market, mostly Foxy brand. Not any organic fruits that I saw, though. Packaged groceries offer more organic brands than the standard store, I found. Some brands I hadn’t heard of, and I discovered Walmart’s “World Table” line, which is not organic but positions itself with naturals and organics. Some of the healthier lines I noted: Florida Crystals organic, Back to Nature, Harvestland meats, and half an aisle devoted to whole grain flours, grains, and gluten-free (although, why put gluten-free offerings in the same aisle?). I also noted new-to-me Harvest Classic juices which did not list any kind of sugar product in the ingredients, and just $1.48 for 64 ounces! Other shelf price points:
- gallon milks more than $3.50
- yellow onions .98/#
- McCormick brown gravy .50 (got 2 for Project Hope with .55/2 coupon)
- 3# apples 3.87
- Foxy organic lettuces 1.28?
- organic garlic .98/bundle of 3 or so
- Jergens lotion 3.24
- 250-ct printed napkins 2.15
There are plenty of cashiers available, and mine was super friendly. She confirmed that the same price matching and coupon policies apply to Neighborhood Market. Another plus: no more garish blue! The color of NM is a pleasant green. Aaah.
Overall, my impression is that NM is a Walmart-ified convenience store trying to be an alternative grocery in a market where fresh and organic are gaining popularity. Kind of like a confused teenager. If you want to price match groceries and not be distracted by electronics and seasonal decor, this is the place for you! But you should become familiar with the lines offered by NM, as they don’t carry everything a WM does.
Have you been to NM yet? What did you think?