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Farm Boy expansion in the GTA

afransen

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Some parts of Farm Boy seem well-thought out. But it is not a complete shop. If you are visiting multiple stores anyway, why not go to a local butcher, bakery, etc. and not a corporate chain?
 

Northern Light

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Some parts of Farm Boy seem well-thought out. But it is not a complete shop. If you are visiting multiple stores anyway, why not go to a local butcher, bakery, etc. and not a corporate chain?

In fairness, Farm Boy is a complete food offering.

What they lack is non-food items such as Paper Towel, TP, Dish Soap, etc.

Those items are largely non-perishable and could be picked up in quantities that last 2 months or more in a one-off trip to a different chain store.

Whereas no one (so far as I'm aware) is going to to do their food shopping every month or two. (maybe someone who is ok w/lots of frozen food?)

I think Farm Boy's offer is decent; though it could be better in spots for sure.

But I like the the focus on food.

My complaints would be more centred around depth; product excellence; and bold flavour.

They do some of these well, in some segments, but not others.

In their pre-pandemic meals-to-go segment, I find them wildly inconsistent.

They've had a French inspired take on Beef Bourignon that was really quite good; and a General Tso's Pork Chop that might be fit for scoring on goal in a game of hockey, but not for eating.

In produce, they have more items available loose that some other stores (different kinds of beets; and rainbow carrots); as well as greater depth of fresh herbs; on the other hand they tend to have limited quantities of most exotics, and less selection on mushrooms than the typical Loblaws.

in summation it's a good store, with much to recommend it; but it's not for everyone and doesn't serve every niche.

Going to a Butcher might be my thing, but for most people you're complicating their food-buying regimen.

That's a butcher, a baker, a green grocer, a fish monger, plus a chain store for paper towels and soap.

I love to cook, so that's down my alley, sometimes.

But even I don't do that every week.

I wouldn't view FB as an alternative to independents; it's an alternative other chains, with more focus on food, on fresh and on a smaller footprint which makes it faster to get in/out.
 

afransen

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^If you still need to go to a full service chain to plug gaps in the depth/breadth of what FB carries, why not make your second stop that independent butcher, bakery instead of Farm Boy? FB seems like a half-measure. Maybe okay for fill-in shops mid week or convenience food trips.
 

AlbertC

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The Yonge & Soudan location at the Art Shoppe Condos building opens tomorrow, October 29th, 2020:

 

bAuHaUs

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The Yonge & Soudan location at the Art Shoppe Condos building opens tomorrow, October 29th, 2020:


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Northern Light

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Popped in to check out the new Farm Boy at Eglinton/Soudan today.

(no pics, sorry)

First observation...........busy.

I don't know who they poached from, but they had considerable traffic; someone else's numbers are down for sure.

Second........visually their nicest store to date.

The ceiling has exposed mechanicals but is done in all black; while the experience at grade is full of wood, warm lighting and colours.

Not a ton of new-to-Farmboy product; but good comprehensivity.

Meat section had the usual suspects (range of chicken, beef, pork) but fairly deep Ontario Lamb, along with organic meat, rabbit and duck.

Highlights:

A very comprehensive selection of Kozlik's mustard with 12 or more flavours; including Italian Mostarda, Orange & Ginger and Smokey.

Also very comprehensive in Salad dressings.

Another notable......fresh doughnuts.....at an eye popping $7.49 for 2 (they're small).

They had them in double-chocolate and Homer Simpson (Vanilla but dyed pink)

But that lineup at the end was a doozy.
 

SunriseChampion

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I might go check it out on one of my walks, but I'm pretty unimpressed by them. It's nothing special, really.....or at least less than I thought it'd be.

I think my expectations were too high.
 

afransen

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I might go check it out on one of my walks, but I'm pretty unimpressed by them. It's nothing special, really.....or at least less than I thought it'd be.

I think my expectations were too high.
I kind of agree. Their hot meal area and bakery is nice, but the rest of the store isn't anything special.
 

Northern Light

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Farm Boy was better before Sobeys acquired them.

Sobeys has mostly left them alone; really only helping them with real estate, so far as I understand.

Farm Boy does some things well; others need a bit of tweaking.

The expansion in the GTA has some short-term downsides; a large amount of their 'hot bar' food is done in the Commissary in Ottawa; and shipped to Toronto daily.

A GTA facility will be forthcoming and should result in improved freshness; I might also hope for more diverse culinary staff who can get some of the dishes to a higher standard of authenticity.

At 30,000ft2 they can do a fair bit with their stores; one issue in Toronto has been the tendency toward very small stores, which limits their selection.

Frankly, they need to refine the layout in some of their smaller stores to get a bit more product in; and there's indications that's coming.

I look forward to seeing what they've done w/Bathurst and Front.

I expect something similar to the Yonge/Sudan offer; but I'm hoping just a bit more interesting.

Of course, the current pandemic has also stifled their hot bar / cold bar offerings and diminishes the shopping experience (no samples)

With any luck, current restrictions will be gone by mid-summer or early fall and they'll be able to better showcase their product.

I consider their greatest weaknesses to be in Bakery, where I feel there are some issues around softness/freshness of certain breads.
 

SunriseChampion

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I kind of agree. Their hot meal area and bakery is nice, but the rest of the store isn't anything special.

I don't remember the bakery much....perhaps I didn't go there at all in the few times I've been (which seems weird for me) or it wasn't memorable.

The ready meals were quite decent, at least as far as selection went anyway.....I'll give them that.

I'm going to give this new location a chance. Swing by and do some full shops in there. Can't say I've done that as of yet. Just minor quick trips.

Everyone gets a second chance, even retail establishments.
 

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