Humble Beginning, Larger than life ending
I've been meaning to update this review for the longest especially after the owner, John replied to my original and asked that I gave them another chance. It's been 7 years since I first stepped foot in FoodSmart. Back then it was it was typical local convenience store, albeit a bit behind the times due to having no real POS system, forcing cashiers to do what can amount to complicated math if you're buying a ton of items. This resulted in quite frequent errors and a frustrating experience for a young college kid at the registers in the past. There was also the issues with items not being labeled and clearly spoiled products on display out in the refrigerated area.
Staff is usually friendly although they seem to hate working the USPS counter they have.
After maybe a 2-3 year hiatus from visiting this store, it looks like all those issues have been fixed. They expanded once again and with the expansion that upgraded almost everything which includes putting in a real POS system with scanners. This immediately fixes the issue with the constant overcharges at the registers although they still haven't taken the time to put everything into the POS database as almost everything rings up as "GROCERIES" (which is good for those that are looking for privacy when shopping, bad for those that like to double check their receipts for mistakes.) Some cashiers still choose to manually enter prices into the register as well versus scanning (which makes me once again skeptical if I'm getting overcharged or not.)
Staff is usually friendly although they seem to hate working the USPS counter they have. I don't blame them since it seems people ALWAYS come in unprepared and iit'st's like they never mailed anything in their life (last time it looked like somebody tried to pay for a package in nickels & pennies and proceeded to take 20 minutes to count it all themselves.) The customers it affects is me though since I always come in with prepaid packages hoping to just get a scan receipt, but I always end up waiting 10-20 minutes for someone to service me because no one wants to work the USPS counter.
All-in-all it goes up a star just for management being able to listen to feedback and implement changes.
The selection of items is more varied than ever. They have the usual best sellers, but then the rest of their inventory they usually swap out for different products so there's always something new to try. Prices are still as outrageous as ever. For example a half gallon of Lactaid milk costs $4.69+ tax which brings it to over $5. I can buy the same product on Amazon for $4 and have it shipped right to my doorstep same or next day for free. Tombstone pizza is $3.33-$5.13 on Amazon depending on your flavor, but it's 5.99 + tax at FoodSmart and I remember at one point years ago them being $6.99-$7.99 + tax. Other items in the store range from $1-$3 mark ups as well. As stated in my previous reviews, your dollar is not going to stretch at FoodSmart at all. With my recent visits I found myself spending $30 on average for every 6 items. For comparison at other stores, including Amazon, for $30 I was able to get 23 items.
I tend to stay away from the products advertised towards hipsters as well since most of that stuff is way overpriced and extremely underwhelming in terms of taste, quality, etc. For example I made the mistake of picking up a "Tuna Pasta Salad" which was $4 and consisted of bad quality raw tuna mixed in with pasta, celery, green onions, etc. You couldn't even taste the supposed honey mustard, yogurt (really yogurt!?!?! no wonder it tasted horrible!) cream mixture. I ended up adding my own mayo, honey mustard and relish to make it an actual tuna salad and it was much better. This is the norm for any of the overpriced hipster brand items you buy.
The store is kept clean and the staff keeps out the riff raff. All-in-all it goes up a star just for management being able to listen to feedback and implement changes. On top of that they've gradually improved over the years. Now they just need to figure out a way to lower their prices and customers would be much happier.
My final question is...is it Food Smart or Foods Mart?
4 out of 5 stars
2901 W Armitage Ave Chicago, IL 60647
b/t Richmond St & Francisco Ave Logan Square