Last weekend Sobeys opened up its newest Sobeys Urban Fresh store in Ottawa. The Sobeys Urban Fresh brand of stores first started in 2008 in cities like Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and then in Toronto. As implied by the name, the store caters to folks living in urban locations, tailoring to the needs and tastes of people populating newly constructed condos in the downtown core by offering things like a fresh salad bar, ready-made meals, and an even in-store café. The Ottawa store is located at 193 Metcalfe Street, in the heart of the downtown core. This is most convenient (and a selling point) for buyers of the newly constructed 27-storey apartment/condo building from Claridge Homes called Tribeca directly above the store. This store provides another option for those that typically shopped at Hartman’s on Bank, and Boushey’s on Elgin without having to go into more suburban areas. We were invited to experience this Sobeys Urban Fresh location during its opening weekend on May 22nd. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a parking lot located directly underneath the store (enter from Nepean street). Sobeys offers 60 minutes of free parking with a minimum purchase of $20. You have to pay for the parking first and then remember to tell them at the register so that amount is deducted from your total.
So how was the store? Well here are my Top 3 favourite things about the new Sobeys Urban Fresh Ottawa store:
- Convenience – This is a huge factor. From the moment that you walk in the store, you are presented with myriad choices when it comes to prepared grab-and-go items. Customers can choose from a variety of salads and fruit, or things like prepared veggies that help save prep time after a busy day. I also noticed that they have put things together to save time and thinking such as chicken, garlic bread, and romaine lettuce bundled together and priced as a meal. This not only gives someone a dinner idea but it’s also quick and easy to have everything that you need there in one spot. The store also features a large area of prepared hot dish choices, a salad bar, olive bar, and also chef-inspired prepared meals like: shepherds pie, greek-style meatballs and even prime rib. To complete a meal, they offer plenty of selection and choice for side dishes.
- Location – The location is perfect for people living in nearby areas that don’t want to drive beyond downtown just to do groceries. It’s also a great location for the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people that work in nearby offices. While at the store, I overheard that the timing of this store was perfect because the cafeteria in a nearby building had just closed the week before. I’m sure that many will visit the store for breakfast, lunch, and or dinner. I also thought that the location serves commuters well picking up a few items on the way home to complete a meal.
- The store itself – I found this store to be bright and very inviting. The front of the building was all windows letting in lots of natural light. I went there thinking that because it was a downtown location it might feel cramped but I was pleasantly surprised by the flow of the store and the noticeably large aisles making it easy to navigate. While the focus of this Sobeys Urban Fresh store is to provide a quick and easy solution for busy people on the go, it also had classic items that you would find it more suburban stores including many items from their Compliments brand. I also noticed that there was a large area near the front with many gluten-free and organic options. My visit was on opening day around lunch time. Although it was busy, I did find that the staff was very friendly and quick to offer a hand when needed. I was greeted many times by staff throughout the store asking if they could lend a hand finding an item. I noticed this happening with other customers as I walked around. My only critique would be that I had hoped that I would find more local businesses and products featured in the store but I didn’t. Perhaps to come...
Welcome to Ottawa, Sobeys Urban Fresh! Please note: The author has received consideration from Sobeys’ media partners in exchange for this content. Sobeys has not reviewed these claims and is not responsible for the content. Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Hooplah in partnership with Sobeys; the opinions and thoughts are my own.