Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sound Off: I Heart Newflower Market

Ok, so pretty much everyone knows my love of (mostly) hippie things. I buy local/organic/free trade/preservative free when I can and I'm always harping about saving the earth or hugging a tree. I won't claim to be the perfect hippie as there are some things that even I am grossed out by (patchouli is not a deodorant people!) and I don't always remember to recycle. So when I heard about the grand opening of Newflower Farmer's Market I was totally pumped. I was even more excited that this place is actually a store, and not an open air carnival. It still has the feel of a farmer's market, just air conditioned! I've been jonesing to go there since they opened and today I decided to travel the 3 miles to this place and check it out.

Today is Wednesday, and they do a double ad thing on those days, where last week's ad and this week's ad are both applicable, so you get crazy savings! I pulled into the parking lot and was immediately on alert. Parking lot drama can sour any shopping experience, so I had to be careful here. There were no parking spaces and I could see people getting ready to duke it out over the few spaces that there were. I managed to find one, but it involved backing up which led to some PL drama of my own. Everyone ended up happy and Billa and I trekked inside.

Newflower is in the old Hobby Lobby on Manchaca and Wm. Cannon and they've really made the place look nice. I was shocked to see lines of people waiting to check out halfway to the back of the store upon my entrance. Wow! The layout is pretty simple and easy to navigate even with all those people. I told myself that this was an exploratory trip, no list in hand, just the ads. I had thought I would pick up some of the fresh salmon at $3.88 a pound but the 15 people in line before me dissuaded me not to, but I did get a peek at it and it looked pretty fresh. This store really does have a HUGE produce section with some great prices too! I got a pound of asparagus (fresh) for $.88. I got a carton of blackberries (fresh) and a carton of blueberries (also fresh!) for $.88 a piece. I got a yellow onion for pennies on the dollar and some of their jarred roasted red peppers for $2. I'd normally pay that price for the peppers at HEB, but they wouldn't be organic. This place really does live up to serious food, silly prices!

There are sales signs everywhere that state 2 for $3 and the such and I wondered if Newflower would be like Randall's in that you had to buy the 2 items to get the sales price. So I asked a feller what the deal was and he AND another employee who happened to be walking by (I kid you not, there was a staff person on every aisle and every single one of them stops to ask if you need help--loves it!) and they both told me that Newflower was in no way sneaky about the sales. The second guy went on about the philosophy of the store and how the Ad Wednesdays worked. I asked him, "I take it you're the manager?" He laughed and responded, "No, I'm just the meat cutter!" before saying goodbye and walking off. Double wow--staff people who care and are knowledgeable!

With good, there must be evil to balance and there ARE a couple of cons that I have discovered so far. Some things that I normally buy are more expensive at Newlflower than at HEB. A half gallon of Horizon organic milk was almost $5, whereas the HEB Central Market Organics is the same price for a full gallon. A lot of the cereals were more expensive too. We buy Mom's Best from HEB for $2.59 a box; the same box was $3.69 at Newflower. I buy Cascadian Farms granola bars for $2.99 at HEB, they were almost $5 at Newflower! The parking was a little bit of a setback, the store was crowded, and they did run out of some of the sale items while I was there (they did say however they'd have more the next day). And finally, I waited almost 25 minutes to check out. The cashier informed me that it's been that busy every minute of every day since they opened up.

All in all, I got some pretty swanky stuff for $25 total and ALL of it is organic, free of nasty preservatives, local, or free trade. I'm willing to deal with crazy parking and wait in line for that amount of time to check out to save that kind of money on those types of products. I already split my shopping up between Target and HEB, one more additional trip during the week won't kill me. So in a nutshell: I heart Newflower Farmer's Market!

I hope you'll get a chance to check it out. If you want to tag team a trip with me, let me know! I think based off it's popularity, the best approach is to handle it as a two person job. You both go through half of the store together, then one hops in line while the other finishes the list. By the time Person #2 makes it to the register, you should be ready to check out! If all else fails, they have a really neat smorgasbord of magazines to read while you wait (my fave so far: ReadyMade - Everyday Instructions For Life! LOL!).

Peace!
Kelly

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