At Urban Fare, freshness is pinnacle, closely followed by our desire to bring you world-class gourmet foods and provide you with an exceptional shopping experience. After all, everyone needs a little gourmet everyday.
I love that last line.
It is the line that really compelled me to go visit the new Urban Fare store that opened in Kelowna, BC. I saw the flyers in our paper and had driven past the signage for the store before it had opened, both of which caused me to be curious about it. When I looked around their website to get a better idea of what to expect, I found that quote on their job site and decided to take some time to explore the store.
Quick background: Urban Fare is operated by Overwaitea Food Group, who also own the Save-On Foods and Cooper Foods brands, amongst others. Urban Fare is a more specialized grocery store, offering a wider selection of items but still offers the items you are expecting to see (i.e. they still sell Coke and Pepsi, and still have all the Westen Family foods). Right now, there are limited locations in British Columbia, but I would expect there would be more of them opening up across the province and maybe into Alberta. The Urban Fare store is actually right arond the corner from the Save-On Foods, so if it doesn’t have something you need, you won’t have to go far in order to find it. And, yes, your More Rewards card is still valid at Urban Fare.
With that out of the way, I can tell you that Urban Fare is quite a different shopping experience than one is accustomed to. I went into the store expecting to have an experience similar to that of when I walked into a Whole Foods when living in the States. I was wrong about that. Whole Foods is more of a healthy grocery store; Urban Fare is a healthy shopping experience.
This is fairly apparent as soon as you walk into the store. There are no shopping carts to be seen. People used wireframe baskets to put items into. The walkways are quite wide for the most part, allowing you to easily navigate the store without bumping into people or having to wait for a line of carts to pass through, and so forth. The other noticeable change? You can actually see end-to-end. I stepped into the store and with a quick scan of my eyes, I knew where things were generally going to be located.
That doesn’t sound like anything major, but it makes a big difference. Not only do you know where things are, you can see where the people are, too. I knew to avoid the produce area first, because there were more people milling around there, and instead headed to the deli area to start exploring. For people who have a certain order they like to shop in everytime, this probably won’t matter much. But for people like me, who know what they want and don’t mind poking around a bit, it’s perfect.
There are other things that separate Urban Fare from the other grocery stores apart from ease to access. The selection in the store is quite broad. What I mean by that is their cheese section is huge; they had over 50 coffee bean roasts to choose from; they had a chocolate kiosk the size of a store in a mall. Each area was quite impressive to wander through and look at all the items I had never seen before. The number of delicate chocolates they had on display was a bit overwhelming, but it will make it easier when picking out chocolate on those special occasions.
The other large area that will easily stand out is the Restaurant/Lounge. The sitting area is quite spacious, with combination of booth chairs and table and chairs. There is free WiFi, several televisions around the area, and a coffee bar to the side. The area for food is setup more like a cafeteria buffet – but the options are much, much better. A wide selection of cold drinks, salad bar, hot food selections, gourmet items pre-made, a carving station with different meats through the week, and more. If you have a craving for something, you are likely to find it here. The prices were reasonable, as well. I am much more likely to spend a morning/afternoon working at the Urban Fare than sitting in a Starbucks.
The final item I wanted to mention is how expansive Urban Fare’s selection is with local products. I had been noticing the aisle that focused on BC products at the Save-On Foods growing over time with its offerings. At Urban Fare, the types of products available from BC are not only much broader, but the selection is better, too. With the coffee, for example, they had around seven different brands, with each brand having several types of roasts available. It was a fun area to poke around, and I look forward to browsing through it again in the future.
Now, here we are, nearly a thousand words on a grocery store. While others get excited over having a new lululemon or H&M store open up, I am equally excited over Urban Fare. The prices are slightly higher than Save-On, but the experience is something that can’t be compared.
Urban Fare will definitely be my go-to store for my weekly grocery shops.
- This is probably the first and only time I will review a grocery store, and I understand it is only available in British Columbia right now, but hopefully it will be of interest to others. ↩