Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hello Farmer Brown? My Name's Chuck or New Grocery Store Employs Stealth Marketing

So I'm sitting here drinking coffee, still stewing over the crappy grocery stores in W. Vancouver. I check on the ol' RSS reader and I find myself reading about this 27,000 sq ft grocery store, featuring local produce and meat, rumored to be opening in East Vancouver in the old GI Joe's location and I'm wondering...

Why is the only mention of this rather unique and noteworthy venture found in two little press release type blurbs in the local fishwrapper and the VBJ?

Not that I socialize with every farmer in town, but none that I speak to have mentioned being contacted as a source of local meat or produce...weird

Where, if anywhere, does sustainability fall in the Chuck's mission statement?
Why is the place named after some shadow investor named Chuck? Wouldn't you want your identity to be associated with a venture like this? Especially considering that some portion of their marketing strategy seems to be promoting a "down home" feel to the store.

Does local produce mean we'll see more than just Clark County berries on the shelves for a couple of weeks per year?

Does locally produced meat mean rabbit saddle from Raintree Rabbitry or does it mean they'l be grinding up local dairy herd culls for hamburger?

Well friends, I just don't have any answers for you. Maybe Ron or Mike can step away from their design change troubles and give us a little insight. Anyways, here's all of the info I could scrounge up for the time being:


  1. Glenn, thanks a bazillion for the info and the framing on this. As you know, I am on the same page as you in terms of local, system changing, sustainable food. I keep an eye on most things food, farm, clark county (WA) - because I want to support and strengthen those that build healthy, strong communities. Conversely, I want to weed and close those that build profit at the expense of everything else. Too often, the "local" emphasis for incoming businesses is PR instead of reality.

  2. How about seeing what the store is like and it's vendors before you tear it all to hell.

  3. Dear Anonymous (Is that you Chuck? Ron? Mike? C'mon don't be shy!),

    It's unfortunate that this post irritates you so much, however I'm merely asking reasonable questions and making logical points here. I certainly plan on patronizing Chuck's as well as heaping any and all praise it may well deserve...if it deserves any. At least from the outside, it certainly appears as though they are cloning a New Seasons store. That's all fine and good, except that for those of us who live on the West Side. We might as well continue schlepping across the bridge to the New Seasons in N. Portland or patiently wait until ventures like little luna market or the new Vancouver Food Coop store get off the ground.

    As far as the comment left by "h" is concerned, h also makes some very valid points. Being a coop shopper for many years in cities other than Vancouver, I certainly appreciate the stores that have operated in a "not for profit" manner. And we will have to wait and see just how good, clean, local and fair Chuck's really is before we truly "tear it all to hell". And to be honest with you, I doubt I'll do more than give my honest and informed opinion of my experience there. Hopefully you'll do the same.

    That being said, CCFF is willing to give equal billing to anyone who wishes to contribute quality information and/or content. Stories, press releases, data, comments, rants, etc. Unlike the Columbian and it's blog bashing editor, we are not beholden to our advertisers and don't have to write puff pieces, pull punches and make nice to everyone in hopes of pulling in revenue at the expense of speaking the truth or giving an honest opinion. If you are an employee of Chuck's or one of it's future vendors, please enlighten us. Your input and insight will be greatly appreciated by the thousands of people who visit CCFF every month.