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Aug 27, 2009 08:54 AM

Loblaws Angus Sucks!

I've had it with Loblaws Angus and Loblaws in general. I was there on Tuesday after not having gone in a couple of months and I couldn't believe how much they've gone downhill. They had already removed so many products from their shelves, but now they've added insult to injury. The produce section was the saddest thing I've seen in a long time. There was no selection. Not a single field tomato, a dismal selection of fresh herbs, and everything was either wilted or underripe. And it's late August. Where's all that great produce we've seen Junior Weston harvesting on TV? The only regular long grain rice I could find was No Name and it sucks. The shelves are half empty. They don't have any decent canned tomatoes anymore. The fish counter stopped selling whole fish. They do seem to be putting a lot of energy into selling their Joe Fresh Style brand clothing, but I don't give a crap about that, I go there to buy food.

When Loblaws came to Quebec it was like a gourmand amusement park. Something I had never seen in this province before, so much selection in such a nice setting. Now it seems that Metro and IGA have caught up and beaten them at their own game. Sure they still have the best store brand in Quebec, but is that really worth the trip, anymore?

What has your experience been with Montreal area Loblaws? Is Angus just an isolated case or are the glory days over?

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  1. I think you have to take a look at the specific Loblaws and what community they serve. The Kirkland Loblaws for example is full of ready-meals because that seems to be popular with the West Island, but the the one in VSL/TMR and the one on Parc/Jean Talon appear at least to offer more choice at least in the fresh food/"international food" offerings.

    The Angus location may be one of the few still attempting to push the Wal-Mart-ish non-food articles.

    9 Replies
    1. re: wattacetti

      The closest to me is the Parc/Jean-Talon branch. I rarely buy produce there (why, with JTM even closer?) but they do have an interesting stock of "international foods", sometimes cheaper than grocery shops of whichever ethnicity. There isn't a lot of whole fish, but there is some, and do to the ethnic makeup of the surrounding neighbourhood, the fillets are always fresh. And don't forget the half-price last-day products! (meats, breads, cheeses, deli etc).

      I have been to the Loblaws Angus, and they seemed to have a lot less choice. I don't remember clothing - is it only children's clothing? I have seen a lot of cheap crap clothing at Maxi, another of their banners - at the Jean-Talon/Pie IX branch. It seems to be taking up a lot of room that would better be occupied by food. There again, while low-end, L'Aubainerie next door has better clothing, and of course on the other side Winners often has far better garments - depending on what you find. With the exception of parapharmaceuticals and household staples, food is what I seek at a supermarket!

      I remember when there was no Loblaws here; we'd go to Loblaws in Ottawa when visiting family there, and were blown away by the array of productls. But now Metro and IGA often have home-brand items that equal Loblaws brands, and are better about sourcing local produce.

      So where can you shop, SnackHappy, in reasonable proximity to where you live?

      (By the way, I'm heading off to the local IGA to see whether their $1.99 lb/$4,39kg blade roast is any good, to make a braise).

      1. re: lagatta

        "So where can you shop, SnackHappy, in reasonable proximity to where you live?"

        I have a nice Metro store at Papineau metro where I catch the bus home, another Metro on Morgan and Maisonneuve market which is my go-to place for produce, bulk, and gourmet stuff. If you add the Asian place on Ontario near Frontenac, Hiep Phat, all my bases are pretty much covered.

        I used to prefer Loblaws to Metro. Heck, I used to drive to VSL from the Plateau just to shop at Loblaws. The store at the old Angus yards still carries things I can't find elsewhere in the hood like De Cecco pasta, but as the selection there dwindles, I just don't see the reason to go out of my way anymore.

        1. re: SnackHappy

          Snack happy, there are also temporary public markets at Frontenac, and l'Autre marché at Angus Shops. These are very limited in scope, but the one thing they should have is fresh local produce.

          1. re: lagatta

            I didn't know about L'Autre Marché. Thanks for the tip.

        2. re: lagatta

          I's surprised you are positive about the Parc-Ex Loblaws Lagatta (corner Parc/Jean-Talon), as that is my Loblaws, and the only reason I still go there is proximity. Their fruits/vegetables are most times horrible, and I had the same tought you had Snackhappy, it is August. If they don't have good choices in August, when will they. And you always, more than anywhere else I've been have the check the expiration dates on everything you buy, mostly the milk products but I've purchased cookies (cookies now, come on!) that were a couple months past their expiration date. And the charcuterie counter, I still use it, but I always ask to taste, as I've purchased turkey, or capicollo that were bad when I ate some THE NEXT DAY.

          Ok, breathe...

          However, I am surprised that this seems to be the case at the Angus Loblaws, I don't go, but my in-laws go there and the're usually satisfied, which did lead me to the same tough as you wattacetti, it really depends on the location.

          1. re: sweettoothMTL

            I'm not positive about it at all, sweettooth, except for the couple of redeeming features I mentioned. I never by charcuterie there - buy it at Milano or at the market. Their produce sucks. The fish tends to be okay simply because there are a lot of fish-eaters in the neighbourhood, but the fish counters are getting MUCH less crowded than they were in the years immediately following opening, and I'm wondering if any of the fishmongers in Park-Ex are good (please inform)! My favourite fishmonger for the quality within walking distance is of course Frères Atkins (and the other name); they are pricy but worth it if you have the cash.

            I buy practically nothing there but certain staples that are cheaper there, stuff in the "ethnic" alley and some half-price stuff that I know will not be dangerous if cooked that day.

            1. re: lagatta

              Avoid Marmaris at all costs for fish. I bought the most funky tasting fish (dorade at 1.99$ lb in May so I bought 15 lbs) and had to throw everything out from the nasty smell. When I mentioned this to colleagues, nobody was surprised; apparently, they rarely have good fish.

          2. re: lagatta

            IGA's store brand Compliments has inferior products compared to the President's Choice equivalent products. I have never been inclined to try their newer stuff because of this reason.

          3. re: wattacetti

            Yeah, I just went to the VSL/TMR Loblaws last weekend for the first time in years. I kept repeating to my husband that we're shopping there from now on. It's the best choice for variety, quality, and fresh produce all at one stop, in the area.

          4. My nearest Loblaws is on St-Jacques in NDG and I guess it's not *too* bad. I only go about once a month, since they carry some items that I cannot get elsewhere, like the Heritage Path cereals in bulk bags. I agree that they have changed lately.

            The St-Jacques store has been renovated recently, and things have moved around quite a bit. The commercial breads are now wayyyyy at the other end. Apparently, there is a peanut-free section. The flowers were reduced to almost nothing, the pharmacy left but the clothing selection has been increased, and there are more prepared offerings, either fresh or frozen. I confess was rather impressed by the nice new salad bar they have put in, and the store made prêt à manger didn't look too bad, but the rest was not so impressive.

            The produce section seems to have shrunk and the aisles widened... and I think there are less cheeses (although there is now a higher end selection of Quebec cheeses)... there used to be 3-4 Parmesans to choose from, now there were only two kinds, including the store-brand.

            The entire store feels less cozy, more warehousy.

            So yeah, Loblaws seems to be undergoing a change of direction...

            11 Replies
            1. re: TheSnowpea

              recently(a couple occasions in the past month) I have stopped in at the Provigo on Mont Royal and St. Urbain, hadn't been in awhile (it's related to Loblaws, no?) Wow, has it gone downhill, the produce was terrible! The store in general looked somewhat unkempt.
              I now live in St. Lazare and the IGA here has great produce(for the most part).

              1. re: eatwell

                Yes, Provigo is another Loblaws banner, as are Maxi and Intermarché.

                Provigo are supposed to be somewhat smaller stores, but the Provigo on Mont-Royal and St-Urbain seems about the same size as the Jean-Talon/Parc Loblaws. Maxi (supposedly) the deep-discount banner, and Intermarché small local shops (more expensive for staples, but many have a good greengrocery and interesting "ethnic" stuff depending on the neighbourhood. A manager of one of the Intermarchés I shop at confided in me that he was very annoyed that he didn't receive some of the most popular sale items from the warehouse.

                I'm glad to hear you have good produce in St-Lazare. Do you have a farmers' market too?

                1. re: lagatta

                  Well, not in St. Lazare, but a nice one in Hudson. I have bought some wonderful freshly roasted coffee beans there! Actually the gentleman selling(and freshly roasting) the coffee lives in St. Lazare and will deliver to the door! He also told me that if I am not home he will "square up" some other time! Lovely people selling their wares at the small but very nice market.
                  I agree that the "our compliments" IGA products don't seem particularly decent, however, I have not tried to many products by IGA or President's Choice.

                2. re: eatwell

                  Loblaws is notorious for its lack of local produce (then again, my local Metro isn't much better). They are reconfiguring many of their stores to accommodate the Joe Fresh line of clothing, which may work for them, but when I'm grocery shopping, I'm not usually looking to buy clothes. I think they're still trying to work out a formula for their stores, and they have had very bad inventory/distribution problems over the past year or so, which don't seem totally resolved yet.
                  I do love many of their President's Choice products, however, so I tend to shop there for my staples and goodies, and unless I can find decent prices on local fruits and veggies that week at Loblaws, I head to the markets for produce.

                  1. re: cherylmtl

                    We only go to Loblaws Angus when we're rushing back from Norref. Otherwise, I'll take a trek out to Marché Adonis over Loblaws any day.

                  2. re: eatwell

                    Most weeks, I get most of my produce at Esposito and Rocky Montana across the street, and other times, when I want something else, I will shop at Metro. I have completely given up on the Provigo, which was mostly fine when we moved to NDG, but when the Loblaw's appeared, they got downgraded and lost most of their produce section. With Loblaw's downgrading their produce, I will have less reason to visit.

                    And in any case, for a few Saturdays, there is a green market in NDG, so I'll be checking that out instead!

                    1. re: TheSnowpea

                      Where is the green market in NDG? I'm curious.

                      1. re: Turpentine

                        Corner of Benny & Monkland, Saturday mornings until October. It's a bit of an odd concept, as much of the produce is neither organic nor local. The goal is simply to get people eating more fresh fruits & veggies. Guess they're targeting a certain demographic that has a tendency to eat more processed foods?

                        1. re: kpzoo

                          Has anyone been this year? Last year I think the produce was all organic, and it was nice but very expensive, but from what I have read about it, they are supposed to be affordable this year.

                          1. re: PogoPoutine

                            My neighbor tells me that last weekend, there was one organic stand and the other two were 'regular', and the produce is carefully labeled.

                            1. re: PogoPoutine

                              > Last year I think the produce was all organic, and it was nice but very expensive

                              No, it definitely wasn't all organic last year. And the stuff I bought was rather inexpensive, relatively speaking - for example, $1 for a bunch of celery. That's the whole stated point of this particular market, to make fresh fruits & veggies affordable & accessible to the masses. You can read more here:

                              -> click on the Marchés saisonniers banner at the left

                              You'll also find a list of the other locations - including Pierrefonds, Lachine, Little Burgundy, Verdun & more.

                              I haven't been yet this year - the first week was last Saturday and today it's raining so I'm not sure they're there.

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