Chow Bella

Marketside Opens Four Valley Locations

By Jonathan McNamara

Convenience stores are too expensive and grocery stores are better reserved for doing a lot of shopping. This seems to be the hope of Marketside, a store that sells groceries but does not identify as a grocery, a store that aims to be as efficient as a convenience store without forcing consumers to pay for that convenience.

New Times checked out the Mesa location where we got a first hand look at how this grocery store operates. Check out the grand-opening of all four Valley stores tomorrow.

We loved:

The selection of pre-cooked foods ready to go. Marketside has a wide selection of grab-and-go entrees, desserts, sides and more that you can grab and walk out with in a two minutes flat. Items are priced in $2 increments from tiny appetizers at the base price to family-sized portions at $8.

The emphasis on organic items. There are a lot of them here despite the smaller scale of this grocery store.

The lack of a "valued customer" card. Seriously? Do I need another piece of plastic in my wallet? No, I do not. Besides, Marketside is "small community grocery store owned by Wal-Mart" which means they rely on the big W to bring lower prices to you.

We were annoyed by:

The tiny carts. They're about a quarter the size of a normal shopping cart. Marketside claims to be a grocery store for the middle of the week when you just need something for dinner or to pick up a few items, but make no mistake; Marketside is an actual grocery store. If you're living near one of these the chances are good that you'll shop there. If you're looking to pick up more than a loaf of bread, you'd better bring a cart from somewhere else.

The lack of selection. Marketside has a bit of just about everything and that's the problem. The beer section, for example, is one side of a refrigerated row. If you want a 12 pack of Bud or some Coronas, you're not going to have a problem. Anything a little more choosy than those mainstream brews and you'll find yourself headed to Fry's.

The complete lack of self-checkout. For a store that claims to pride itself on efficiency it seems like this would be a no-brainer.

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Jonathan McNamara