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Nov 19, 2011 01:05 PM

Southern Season's New Ownership (Chapel Hill)

I was at Southern Season today for the first time since they've come under the new owners. Has anybody noticed any changes in what they're carrying or how they do business?

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  1. The inventory is a lot leaner. It's as if the management took a look at products by category, crunched the numbers, and cleaned house -- undoubtedly a good thing for the business. Things like tea and chocolate bars; maybe Vera Bradley stuff, too.

    The store still has a great selection, but less clutter. I haven't had the food since the transition.

    1. My sense is that the main goal of the new owners is to take SS to other cities (Charlotte, ATL).

      1 Reply
      1. re: bbqme

        I also find the selection a lot leaner, and in the area of chocolate bars many of my favs like Michel Cluizal is no longer being carried. The prices have also jumped since the change.

        The sandwiches we got from the deli were just plan bad, the prices were about the same but the size was greatly reduced and the ciabatta roll was cold and resembled white bread. In the past I enjoyed shopping buying a sandwich and having lunch, no more.

      2. Do these changes apply to the Weather Vane? I have enjoyed going there in the past, but if the quality is changing in things like the deli, will things change there too?

        1. I've never been a big fan of the deli (the salad bar on the other hand...), but the coffee selection is holding up. I also really like the reorganization of the wine section (though I'd guess the total bottle count is a bit lower); I find it much more user friendly.

          The cheese selection may also be a bit smaller. In particular, they may have stopped carrying Capriol O'banon, a particular favorite around here.

          1 Reply
          1. re: brokegradstudent

            Have you seen what happened to the prices in the cheese department? They were always high but now they're stratospheric. The personnel there are great, but I don't think I can manage between $20 and $40 per pound of cheese, not even as a treat.

            Also, I noticed that their "retro" bulk candy at $8.95/lb is largely the same stuff that BJ's was selling for Halloween in 3 lb. bags - for much less than $8.95 for the whole bag.

          2. I have noticed a layout change more than a reduction in products though I usually go through their casually. I noticed that they carry more Spanish cheese now, but that doesn't mean anything to me. I've always enjoyed the turkey, apple, mustard sandwich they have there and the price really isn't any better or worse than Foster's market. I've also enjoyed their brussel sprouts with lardon. In any case, I laugh at people who go gaga at Southern Season whether it is their "Clearance Sale" or not. The prices are always marked up more than you'd find at other places event Whole Foods and even during their sale prices are cheaper online AND you probably won't have to pay tax. I shop at SS ONLY if it is a hard to find item and even then I double check at Kitchen Works in the middle of the mall.