Wednesday, September 1, 2010
A visit to new Natural Grocers on Preston & Forest in Dallas
Checking out the scene on opening day.
DALLAS The second Dallas-area branch of Natural Grocers, the Colorado-based independent grocery chain, opened at Preston & Forest on Tuesday, in part of what was once the Whole Foods store, which has since moved across the street. (The first branch opened in Richardson in 2008.)
Those seeking a prepared dinner to-go or an opulent produce section -- the current standards by which grocery stores are usually judged -- will come away disappointed, but that's not what Natural Grocers is about. The chain specializes in:
1. natural and organic products
2. selling those natural and organic products at a cheaper price than the other natural-food stores and
Vitamins vitamins vitamins. Where a normal 2010-era grocery store might devote a quarter of its square footage to a rustic bountiful produce display, Natural Grocers' produce section is instead a mere one aisle, although all of that produce is organic (and on Day One, looked to be in good shape). This place instead devotes that floor space to vitamins and supplements.
The store had organic and lean meat, Amy's Pizzas at a pretty cheap price, and oodles & oodles of packaged nuts and grains. It also had many more natural and allergy-free cleaners than the much bigger Whole Foods across the street, and an easier parking lot situation. If you wanted to run in and get a few things and didn't feel like dealing with the logistical nightmare of Whole Foods, you'd do fine.
That said, if you want to get through the check-out line in a timely manner, fuhgeddaboutit. They're very heavy on the "nice" here, almost passive-aggressively so, while none of the cashiers seemed to be trained on pricing, operation of a machine, or the word "expeditious." On the other hand, they were hippie-casual about photos being taken, unlike the slightly-uptight Whole Foods and heavily militaristic Central Market, who will practically eject you from the store if you're holding a camera, as if what they're doing is copyrightable.
But big points for not giving out bags. You bring your own. On this first day, they were giving away recyclable shopping bags for free.
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