Friday, July 16, 2010

Yet Another Note on Fresh Fanatic

I've spent a lot of time documenting my anticipation, excitement, and eventual disappointment with Fresh Fanatic over the last year or so.  When I last visited, I got so fed up with poor service, inadequate selection, and the incomprehensible organization that I just gave up and stopped going.  The other day I stopped in again, though, and they're starting to win me back.

The selection of goods seems to be better now, for one.  I've been back a couple of times in the last week and have yet to not be able to find something I'm looking for.  This is a good thing, because if I have to make a trip to another grocer to complete my shopping, I'm not going to bother with FF to begin with.

The service seems better - much closer to what it was when they first opened.  Everyone I've interacted with recently has been friendly and helpful.  I no longer feel ignored or as if my very presence is a burden.  This is also a good thing.

The prices and organization still leave a lot to be desired, though.  The prices I can understand to some extent - they're going for high-quality organic ingredients, and them's not cheap.  But every single item they sell seems to be priced at close to the maximum they can get away with, so shopping there does end up feeling like an extravagance.  Since they only stock a single brand of most items, it's not like you have a choice, either.  Don't want to pay $4.99 for half a gallon of milk?  Tough nuts, cowboy.  That same half-gallon is $3.79 at the Park Slope Key Food, by the way.

Still also not a fan of how the produce is divided - sometimes you're looking at organic ($$) stuff, while other times you're not, and there's no good way to figure out if they have a cheaper version somewhere around a corner that you're not noticing.  This problem is somewhat solved by the store being relatively small, but it's still annoying and it took me 15 minutes to find granola today.

So all that is still annoying, but a lot has changed.  They have reorganized things a bit, so it doesn't feel like there's much wasted space.  The selection of products seems to have stopped changing so rapidly, and everything is there, (I think).  Oh, they also have beer finally.  They have a pretty good selection but it's all predictably priced at the high end.  $9.99 for a sixer of Amstel Light?  $10.99 for Sam Adams?  The Associated on Myrtle is still a better bet for your boozing needs.  They do carry Stumptown coffee now, though.  Good Times.

So, I guess I'm back to recommending Fresh Fanatic again.  There are still a few caveats and it's still too expensive, but prices aside, I'm not sure there's a nicer grocery store to walk through in the neighborhood, and I'll be heading back somewhat regularly, even if I won't be doing my regular shopping there.

Until they piss me off again.

1 comment:

justin said...

Coffee and beer. The Stumptown beans are not always super fresh, but sometimes they are, and they're either $9.99 or $11.99 (they do weekend specials sometimes) a bag, which is as cheap as anywhere. The beer prices may be more than Associated, but still beat bodega beer pricing (where a six pack of Sam Adams is pushing $12 around here). Otherwise I pretty much only use them for stuff I forgot to get/ran out of from Trader Joe's or the Greenmarkets, if I can't get it at Mr. Coco on Myrtle, which is generally cheaper. I also have no complaints about the Myrtle Associated as far as general interest supermarkets go and buy dry goods and oils and such there. So, yeah, I guess I'm still just resigned to using five or six different places depending on what I need. I hardly ever cook meat because I'm broke, but I suppose I'd end up walking down to Provisions if I did. Can't get decent coffee anywhere else though, though I noticed the General Greene grocery store now sells Counter Culture beans for $12 a bag.