In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new natural food market in town. Chuck’s Produce and Street Market took over the old G.I. Joe’s building at 13215 SE Mill Plain Blvd in the Cascade Park neighborhood in Vancouver. With easy access onto Mill Plain from I-205 and Hwy 14 (via 164th Ave or Ellsworth Rd), there’s potential to draw shoppers from Portland, Camas, and Washougal as well.
At Chuck’s you’ll find a large array of organic and artisan foods including an extensive bulk foods section, creative sandwiches and sides at the deli, fresh breads baked daily on the premises with natural ingredients, and true to its name, the largest selection of local and organic produce in the area. The well-appointed kitchen will host community classes on cooking, nutrition, and wellness.
Chuck’s says they are “committed to providing fresh and natural local food, as well as select regional products, at reasonable prices and in a friendly neighborhood environment”. Based the number of people found shopping there on any given day since the grand openeing (Oct 8), the community seems to be embracing the philosophy.
As shopping experiences go, Chuck’s easily compares to other natural foods markets in the area. Think: New Seasons or Whole Foods Market but with a much smaller health and beauty aids section. There’s been lots of local talk that Chuck’s prices would be lower than its counterparts and a price comparison shows that many items are indeed lower. But even Chuck’s will find it difficult to compete with Trader Joe’s specialty items, unique brands, low prices, and small family market feel which have won over many health seekers wading through a climate of high priced health foods.
That said, Chuck’s will likely do well given several factors:
- The need for more natural shopping options in Vancouver. Until now, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have cornered that market. And although Fred Meyer, Safeway and Walmart have stepped up their game, their “healthy” selections are often limited and/or overpriced.
- The variety, quality and quantity of local produce offered is unsurpassed. Chuck’s boasts, quite accurately, that approximately 25% of the store is reserved for produce. It is and it makes sense given their name.
- Location, location, location. Cascade Park is a family neighborhood sought out for it’s fabulous schools, numerous parks, easy proximity to Portland, community feel, and convenient shopping centers. It’ll be interesting to see if Chuck’s eventually expands to one or more of the other urban Clark County hubs (i.e. Salmon Creek, Battle Ground, etc).
A few final important notes:
Located at the west end of the Columbia Square Shopping Center, Chuck’s currently shares a parking lot with McDonald’s and Key Bank. On high shopping days parking your vehicle may be difficult so be careful not to park in private spaces or lots designated for other businesses. Additional street parking is available on SE Stone Mill Drive to the west but a few moments of patience usually yields a space in the main lot fairly quickly.
Consumers should make a mental note that Chuck’s is NOT open on Saturdays. A lot of folks seem to think this a bad idea as Saturdays are typically a major shopping day for many working folk. And although rumors abound about this decision, the official word (via Chuck’s website) is that it’s simply to allow employees time with their families.
According to management, the in-store kitchen classroom is not available to rent (by chefs, health professionals, instructors, etc). Chuck’s aims to provide all classes using in-house staff. Too bad as a community kitchen is sorely needed in Clark County.
So, that’s word on the new kid on the block. If you haven’t been yet, put Chuck’s Produce and Street Market on your calendar and GO SHOPPING. Take advantage of their incredible sales. There’s so much to see and try and buy. Just the produce section alone is like eye candy.
And to Chuck’s, a big fat “welcome to the neighborhood”!
Check out the website – www.chucksproduce.com – to download the weekly specials.
For more info, follow Chuck’s Produce on twitter and facebook.
For more news on holistic goings-on in and around Vancouver, follow WAHolHealth on twitter.