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Feb 15, 2013 08:31 PM

grocery store close to 12th ave and commercial

hi everyone,

i just moved to vancouver two days ago and got a place to stay close to 12th ave and commerical. i went grocery shopping today and was shocked that food is so expensive here. i heard that i've been to an expensive place (safeway).
does anybody has other good places where i could go to buy my food? preferable close by.


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  1. Donald's Market on Commercial near the Skytrain. Safeway is indeed very pricey.

    1. Actually, that Safeway is comparatively cheap compared to other Safeways. Seriously. This one has more sales. likely due to local demographics.

      There's nothing along Commercial south of where you are. Your best (and only) options are northward:

      Donald's Market, at 7th:

      Dollar Grocers, at 6th:

      Mediterranean Specialty Foods, at 2nd:

      From that point onward north you're golden with a plethora of delis, produce stores, bakeries and markets.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LotusRapper

        The best way to shop on Commercial Dr is to treat it as one big grocery store - buying from one indie grocer after another. Donald's is a good all a-rounder. And to repeat - stay away from $afeway unless you want to pay way too much.

      2. Do you mind travelling along Broadway? There are a lot of grocery stores between Cambie and Commercial on Broadway. At Cambie there's a Save On Foods and a Whole Foods. I think SOF is the best compromise between value and service in the retail market in Vancouver. And I'm not just saying that because my husband works there. :) Prices are definitely MUCH better than Safeway. And they pay their employees much better than RCSS, Wal-Mart etc, and that shows in the service you get.

        A lot of people don't know this, but SOF also delivers groceries for a flat fee, $10, no matter how much you get. You have to do the shopping yourself in store (they don't have online ordering or anything like that). They don't advertise this because they break even at best and frequently take a loss because of how hard it is to find good delivery service. If you drive they have free parking for the first hour, $4 for the second hour.

        There is also a Whole Foods across the street, you will definitely get sticker shock even worse than Safeway, but at least it tends to be more specialty stuff. Also close by is a NoFrills. I don't really like NoFrills, because it seems like every time I go in for some item on their flyer, they are out of it. And there is also a Buy-Low at Main and Broadway. I never go to that location because I live closer to another one, and Buy-Low's everyday prices for many things aren't that great, but I have found their meat prices very good. The one near me has terrible produce, don't know if it's the same for that one.

        Walking distance I think there's a PriceSmart at Knight and King Ed. That should be roughly 15 minutes walk. It's in the Buy-Low, NoFrills category of ostensibly low prices and minimal service. T&T at Renfrew and 1st might also be walkable. It's an Asian supermarket, and I find its produce pretty good usually, they also tend to have good meat and fish specials, and the in-store prepared food is pretty good for a snack. It's a good one-stop shop if you like to cook Asian food.

        However there are some things I almost never buy at supermarkets and Commercial is a great place to buy those things. Number one, produce. You can almost always get a better price at the small produce markets. However, you have to watch the quality. They aren't like the big supermarkets where bruised and molding stuff gets thrown out and you never even see it--they put it out and mark it down. Just the other day I saw a great price at a local market for baby mandarins... opened up the box, saw they were all moldy! Fortunately I was savvy enough to check before I bought.

        The other thing that I almost never buy at supermarkets is deli meat and cheese. The best deli in the city is on Commercial, I don't remember the cross street but it's north of 1st avenue, it's called Santa Barbara market. They also sell some grocery items like Italian dried pastas, some produce, etc, but the meat and cheese is where it's at. However that translates into it getting VERY busy, especially in early evenings. The staff can be pretty no-nonsense but very professional.

        You also have some excellent bakeries on the Drive. Your fishmonger would probably be the Daily Catch, I've been in but never bought because it's a bit pricey/high-end. I'm impatiently waiting for my local fishmonger Fraser Seafood to reopen, where I buy boneless halibut scraps for like $3-4/lb sometimes for cioppino. Yum.

        Sorry if I went on for too long, I have ~opinions~ about groceries! :) Welcome to YVR.

        1. Welcome to Vancouver. Once you start to find your way around East Van you will probably not ever want to shop at Safeway or any other chain supermarket again. Your neighbourhood has some great spots but if you're used to living in a place where the supermarket is the only real option it might take time to get used to the idea of buying produce in one place, meat in another, bread at a bakery etc.

          I second (third?) the suggestion to try Donald's market. The East End Food Coop on the drive is also good for low prices though their selection can be a little uneven. It's $20 to join and well worth it in my opinion. A little further afield try Famous Foods on Kingsway just west of Victoria. They have a lot of organic and natural foods and their selection of teas and bulk baking supplies is impressive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: geekmom

            Re: Famous Foods ..... I really like their vast selection of jams, jellies, peanut butter and other butters. As are their med-free beef, pork, chicken, buffalo. Cheap too.

          2. thanks for your hints. already tried out some places - love them and will go back for sure!