We had no trouble finding a good parking place right in front of the store -- something that's a rare occurrence at the older Smart & Final Extra store on Spring and 21st Street. It's possible that most of the city decided to come check out the store during the Grand Opening on Thursday and Friday and had no need to come back today.
I remember the craziness in the parking lot when the Spring Street store opened. I thought I’d never find a place to park that day, since I saw people pushing carts to the surrounding street parking, and the lot appeared to be full. However they had several people in the parking lot directing shoppers to parking places and helping people safely back out. They helped direct the lady vacating the space I was waiting for and let me know I still had a bit more room to back up to let her out. They also put carts away for some people and helped those with lots of stuff to unload so that parking spaces would empty faster. I was very impressed.
I can only guess if that happened at the new store, since I stayed away to avoid the crowding this time. I just know that the other store had everything so well-organized that I was in and out within an hour in spite of some very long check-out lines. I would have been out faster today if my husband had not been with me. I shop much faster alone.
|Entrance to New Smart & Final Extra Store, © B. Radisavljevic|
I went today expecting to be wowed. I wasn't. I actually regretted that I hadn't gone to the Spring Street store. Maybe that's because I know my way around it, but it seems to me that it's a prettier store to shop in. It appeared that the new store had about the same merchandise as the older store, but they were out of some things I usually buy there. I imagine the Grand Opening depleted their stock. The shelves are arranged differently because the floor plan is different, but the produce section seems about the same otherwise, as did the bulk foods section. I confess I didn't make a bin by bin comparison, but we found all we usually buy at the other store.
A couple of things disappointed me, but I guess that's not the fault of management. Like many people, I still remember the Von's store, so I guess I half expected to see the same delicious bakery items in the bakery that I used to see on those bakery tables. Nope. I miss Von's
At Von's, unless my memory is confusing it with another Von's the restrooms were tucked behind the baker. At the Spring Street store they are right up front, convenient for customer use and there are more than two stalls. At the new store, they are back where most grocery stores put them -- at the back behind the 'Employees Only" doors. It's easy to get lost back there.
Since I live equally close to both stores, I will probably continue to shop at the older Spring Street store, since the new store doesn't have the products I hoped they might have -- products that had been discontinued at the Spring Street store that I wanted. The new store is convenient for those who live on the east side side of Paso Robles, and parking is more plentiful than on Spring Street. But I still wish Von's were back.
What is your impression of the new Smart & Final? Did you go to the Grand Opening? Do you wish Von's or Haggen was still there instead? Or are you glad there's another Smart & Final in town?