The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Will C-Town give Fanwood A&P a run for its money?


Will Plainfield's new C-Town supermarket on South Avenue give the Fanwood A&P a run for its money?

If the answer is based on store layout and merchandising attractiveness, the answer has to be yes.

Like many others, I have been curiously waiting the opening of Plainfield's newest supermarket (for those who may not know it, we already have TWO others -- Supremo and Twin City -- both of which I regularly patronize).

The new store's interior is brightly lit, well thought out, and well-stocked. With aisles wider than the claustrophobic A&P's, shopper are first of all sure to feel uncramped.

First up when you enter are the Deli shop and Produce, with its beautifully displayed fruits and veggies. Across the back of the store are its packaged meat section, a full-service butcher shop and a seafood department.

Butcher counters, which remind me of the supermarkets of my childhood, had practically disappeared from the suburban megastores, but the influx of Latino customers -- who expect fresh meats cut to their specifications -- have been a boon for us all (well, us all meat-eaters; apologies to my vegan friends -- you know who you are).

The balance of the store reflects standard suburban fare, with the addition of a healthy dollop of Latin American specialties, reflecting the shift in Central Jersey demographics.

The C-Town looks like it's going be a good addition to the South Avenue shopping mix. It's going to be interesting to watch how the new store fares.

And the A&P's reaction to it -- far as I can see, the only advantage the A&P has at the moment is a fancier cheese and crackers selection, but is that enough to win the game?

Be sure to check out this new offering for yourself.




Customer Service is right at the front of the store.


For many, San Pellegrino bottled water is a very good sign.


The Produce section is well-lit, with inviting displays.
 

Fresh seafood is a must in today's supermarkets.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't really care about whether or not C-Town impacts the A & P but I am saddened by the impact it might have on Times Market, the third supermarket in Plainfield. It has served the South Avenue district well for a decade and is one of the most truly diverse businesses anywhere. And vegans love it.

Yep I Said It! said...

The first day C-Town opened I arrived at 8:10pm only to find out it closes at 8:00PM! Hours of operation 8:00AM to 8:00PM. So . . . I rode down to A&P and shopped.

The second day of its opening I was able to shop there for a few items and . . . yes ... it was spacious, well lit and clean. I am sure when A&P first opened it too was spacious, well lit and clean.

A new broom sweeps clean and I will be sweeping with this broom as long as it continues to sweep well. However, prices will determine how often.

Anonymous said...

What about price comparisons with A&P products?

Anonymous said...

The problem I have is that none of the employees "look" like the community being served. This was what the owners sold to the council in order to be considered for this prime real-estate.

Anonymous said...

To 8:44 pm. What does that mean, none of the employees "look" like the community served?

Anonymous said...

This store, like Supremo and all the other urban supermarkets caters to the spanish speaking community. I will continue to shop where I always shop, even if it means I pay more.
I am tired of feeling like a foreigner in my own country!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not concerned about C-Town impinging on Times Market, which is really much more of a produce store than a full-service supermarket. While I regularly patronize Times Market, it wouldn't hurt if it were cleaner and brighter in appearance (emphasis on cleaner).

Anonymous said...

"The problem I have is that none of the employees "look" like the community being served. This was what the owners sold to the council in order to be considered for this prime real-estate."

Typical Plainfield comment. The population of Plainfield is diverse. Not just black. And since when does an private employer have to check residency to hire a employee?
Sad.

Bob said...

My only concern is that the C-Town's I've been in, and that's only two, there aren't many in NJ, are dirty soon after opening and are very expensive. C-Town will not stop me from going to Pathmark or ShopRite. I'll save a lot more money there and am sorry we couldn't get one of those in Plainfield, but just another expensive inner city market.

Anonymous said...

9:40 -- typical reponse to that comment. No one said Black but its funny that's what you got out of it. Plainfield is DIVERSE and so should the people who work there. Thats why affirmative action exist because people just can't do the right thing on their own.

Anonymous said...

Dan, you take every opportunity to promote the "change in demographics" to Latino culture. From your past praise of downtown's Latino storefront religious symbols to your assertion in this article that the influx of Latino culture is good because "they expect fresh meats cut to their specifications." Well, I'm not Latino but I always expect fresh meat, and I get it when I go to Stop and Shop or A&P or Kings or any other supermarket. So let's not credit the "Latino influx" for bringing back butcher counters. Instead, how about promoting some real diversity in Plainfield?

Anonymous said...

Only ignorant individuals as those who have written the comments imagine ..if they opened an asian super market who the hell you think they'll serve. Open your damn eyes and stop being so damn racist. I RESPECT EVERY EVERY CULTURE I WALK INTO.REGARDLESS IF IS OLD COUNTRY BUFFET OR ANY SPANISH RESTAURANT IN PLAINFIELD.

SFC Munoz USA(retired) for all you anonymous ignorant civilians

Anonymous said...

Ever since 24-hr Pathmark closed in No. Plfd., shopping has been tough. I stopped going long time ago to Drug Fair because they closed at 8pm. That's a shame if they do the same. We have no choice, us late-shoppers, but to use A&P, but their prices are too high.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, Fanwood A&P still has an obscure (old) advantage over C-Town. It is one of few NJ "chain" supermarkets offering warm beer for sale on their shelves right next to the soda, thanks to their old, old "B" ABC license. So, if you wanna pack-in a 6-pack or two with the rest of the groceries, you know where to go!

Rob said...

I look at it this way. If it's prices are low, it is clean and it doesn't have an odor/smell (like Supremo and Twin City), I will have no problem shopping there. I hate schlepping out to Route 22 or into South Plainfield and spending my money. I use Twin City as a emergency only choice for anything except - Avocados( they have the freshest and best variety). When I walk into the door and that ever present odor hits me I immediately think of C-Town in Downtown Jersey City and ask myself why I am there.
I'm curious though, we found out less than a year ago that this store was coming. How in the heck did they find enough employees to open the store in such a short time??? I mean, just look how long our "mayor" has been looking for a CFO!

Anonymous said...

C- Town is another clean, low class store in Plainfield. It has basic foods, but try to get anything sugarless in there and you cannot find it. The deli serves Thumans meats - fine, but not Boars Head - again - the same as the others. I still cannot shop in Plainfield for nicer upscale foods. I now have 3 low class stores to choose from.

And I think that the Tip container at the end of the check out says it all.

edicous said...

I used to have to go out of my way to go to Supremo, but C-Towns only a couple blocks away. Thats great.

But I don't think it will hurt the business at farmers market much when people have to go out of their way to go to C-Town and end up finding that market as well.

The only thing I ever found at A&P is that their the only market in Plainfield that sells beer. I'M not from here but thats the only thing that seems normal about that A&P store.

Nice blog. First time I ever posted on one of these things. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Everyone talks about race, community, pricing, etc, no one appreciates the business, people have complaints about the community most, as the prices i checked its competitive, it dont bother me who and which community people work there, i liked the place where i can shop i dont want to hurt anyones feeling so please do not take it personally,

Anonymous said...

Its really a great store,
i personally have talked with the owner of the store when he was around, they have 8 supermarkets on different location, the first question i asked was that is it u are going to serve specific community,
he said "offcource not" i em here to serve people around , not specific community, i have all kind of products and i em trying to keep as many products according to what customer needs.. just they have to let us know or any of the manager,what they need and within a week it will be on the shelf...
so he requested to take that question out of the mind....
as he said more that its new and he's trying to get organize first and trying to serve better service as he does with othe stores...
but ne ways he's nice person as i talked to... so he said if anyone has problem just come and talk to us will try to solve as we can..
and perosonally its gud for us have better store near by on south ave...

Anonymous said...

I think it shall do fine. Only suggestion I have is that the Deli section should have a person who speaks "FLUENT ENGLISH"!!

The store is well lit,clean and the cashiers were very friendly.

Anonymous said...

In defense of the Fanwood A&P:

1) they have very detailed plans on how to DOUBLE the size of the store, without any land acquisition.

They just need approval from the borough (good luck there!) in getting permission to do the following:
1) take 3-5 parking spaces away on the plainfield (left) side of the bldg, and replace them with a truck sized elevator to the basement.
2) move all the service departments (butcher, grocery, etc) as well as stock areas to the basement.
3) redo and redesign store with (bingo...double the existing size) more space!

So... don't think it is the A&P, it is more of a government issue.

PS: I think Times market quality has gone DOWN recently also

Anonymous said...

i personally like the store very much, the only through me off was the young lady at the deli, i won't go into details but it is a work environment i highly doubt we should be putting our "goods" out.