Shopping Discussion

Does Anyone See The Point of FreshCo?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 23rd, 2022 4:13 am
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2019
741 posts
958 upvotes
Oilers Country
tablo13 wrote: I live 10 minutes away from a FreshCo in Edmonton... Went there shopping once out of curiosity, and my mom (who's the main grocery shopper in the household) wasn't impressed. It's a tiny store. The produce and meat weren't fresh, and the selection is abysmal due to the tiny store size. None of the hot deals that e.g. No Frills would have, but seemed in line with regular prices at Superstore and Walmart. Back then I was a Sobeys Inc employee, so I tried to use the Sobeys Inc 10% grocery discount at FreshCo. Cashiers or self checkout attendants would always be like "we don't take Air Miles" even though the Air Miles card is how the employee discount is applied. Or they would say that they're still a new store so it would take 3 months from opening to give employee discounts. Needless to say I found no reason to shop at FreshCo.
Exactly. I've visited that same FreshCo and I found nothing really to bring me back. The selection is terrible. For example, for bathroom tissue they offer only a choice of Compliments or Purex. If you're like our family and prefer Royale (which we usually get at Safeway during AM deals) you're out of luck. And as you pointed out, the regular prices at FC are comparable to RCSS and Walmart. So why wouldn't a customer just go there...and get a better selection as well as in-store services like a bakery and deli?
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2005
1134 posts
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Cambridge,Ontario
ES_Revenge wrote: I don't get how Sobey's gets away with having no Air Miles at Freshco anyway.

When Weston/Loblaw didn't offer PC points at No Frills, everyone complained and got all up in arms about it. Eventually Loblaw started doing PC points there too.

Why doesn't everyone spam Sobey's with the same hate mail for the Freshco no-Air Miles shenanigans?
Buy a gift corporate gift card , when Sobeys have the spend $X on a gift card and get 100 airmiles. Use card to shop at Freshco.

Sobeys are corporate stores and Freshco are franchised so Sobeys is freeing up cash when they convert stores to franchises.
Last edited by yyz64 on Nov 11th, 2021 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
1666 posts
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My Freshco uses a local butcher for the meats and local cultural bread bakers. The frozen selection has a very diverse selection of ethnic foods and everytime I go I pick a random country that looks interesting. It's not a big store either which I like because it saves me time.
Deal Addict
Feb 10, 2013
4533 posts
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Richmond
TravellingChris wrote: Um, no. Usually the johnny-come-lately in a market ends up failing. Target Canada couldn't displace Walmart Canada--or even compete. Linens N Things failed, Bed Bath & Beyond survived. Sam's Club failed in Canada, Costco Canada owns the market.
Understand now?
They just weren't willing to invest
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Sep 19, 2002
6026 posts
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Vancouver
TravellingChris wrote: Um, no. Usually the johnny-come-lately in a market ends up failing. Target Canada couldn't displace Walmart Canada--or even compete. Linens N Things failed, Bed Bath & Beyond survived. Sam's Club failed in Canada, Costco Canada owns the market.
Understand now?
You quoted all American entrants who attempted to enter Canada without fully understanding the market. They copied and pasted their strategy from the U.S. and applied it north.

FreshCo is backed by Sobeys, they've plenty of customer data to understand the market along with the logistics to support the stores.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
23484 posts
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Eastern Ontario
Spinner wrote: You quoted all American entrants who attempted to enter Canada without fully understanding the market. They copied and pasted their strategy from the U.S. and applied it north.

FreshCo is backed by Sobeys, they've plenty of customer data to understand the market along with the logistics to support the stores.
This

There’s a history of US firms WRONGLY thinking that Cdns are just Americans that live in a colder climate & are a friendly polite nation … it’s actually got a name … the 51st state syndrome. Where Americans wrongly assume that everything here, and everyone here, would be GRATEFUL for being saved / assimilated into America

Lol of course no where is this more than apparently wrong than in Retail.

Cos that just come North … and assume the Cdn Consumer IS IDENTICAL to the American one … are in for a huge shock

No one … learned this more than Target did. They did Zero research on Canada, & Cdns … and were rewarded with a less than friendly welcome when Cdns figured out that Target was making all sorts of assumptions and taking us for granted … without making much effort to get to know us / understand us as Consumers.

US Cos that survive … indeed thrive in Canada … take the time for consultations with Cdn market professionals so they can understand who we are, what we like & don’t like etc

That’s where other US Cos have failed dramatically … although no one quite so epically as Target did
Deal Expert
Jan 7, 2002
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Waterloo, ON
PointsHubby wrote: Cos that just come North … and assume the Cdn Consumer IS IDENTICAL to the American one … are in for a huge shock
That "principle" also applies in the opposite direction. Crappy Tyre bought a chain of tire stores in Texas in the 1980s and tried to CTCize them. That didn't work out well for them. Texans buy tires at tire stores, not housewares and other non-automotive stuff.

Timmies tried to invade the US. There are still some in a few border states south and west of ON but the dream of nationwide expansion turned into a nightmare.
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Oct 17, 2012
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I agree with you OP.
On top of all the other things that suck about FreshCo, they also do not take AMEX.
Moderator
May 28, 2012
12034 posts
4654 upvotes
Saskatoon
Ever since that AM fiasco a couple years back, the last thing to bring be into a store would be their AirMiles program. I didn't cancel my card but I don't go to any effort to earn "miles"...and their offers that you load to your card are a joke. I go to FreshCo two to three times per month. I go to Safeway/Sobeys less than that. I always make a point to browse FreshCo's ethnic section...they had even more variety when they first opened up here.
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Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
nousername wrote: Last time I set foot in any Sobeys location was back in 2004. I’ve been going to frechco (formerly price chopper). Sobeys is upscale and super expensive store . Never cared about air miles. And now started going to no frills since October 2020 when Walmart stopped price matching . I’ve noticed it all depends on the neighborhood. I guess I live in financially well off neighborhood and maybe that’s the reason the no frills , freshco have better quality stuff . I do agree with some posters that since Walmart stopped price matching they have jacked up their prices compared to no frills freshco food basics. I think there are more people collecting pc points than air miles .
Definitely more people these days collecting PCO Points than AirMiles
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
Mars2012 wrote: Ever since that AM fiasco a couple years back, the last thing to bring be into a store would be their AirMiles program. I didn't cancel my card but I don't go to any effort to earn "miles"...and their offers that you load to your card are a joke. I go to FreshCo two to three times per month. I go to Safeway/Sobeys less than that. I always make a point to browse FreshCo's ethnic section...they had even more variety when they first opened up here.
I hear you … AirMiles isn’t what it once was prior to the 2016 Points Expiry Fiasco *

That said the program is in the midst of a major revamp / face lift.

We do ok with the MY OFFERS by Sobeys … but same old rules apply … load them, but only buy what you would be buying anyhow. Don’t ever shop just for points / miles.

* NOTE - If you haven’t, you should check that the AMs you have earned are still ACTIVE. Cuz once they go DORMANT they are as good as gone (gotta pay to get them back). The old system of automatically expiring without reason, was deemed unjust by the Cdn Govt, but it’s now a case of every Loyalty program in Canada can have points go dormant (which is as good as expire) based on a preset INACTIVITY CLAUSE in their T&Cs … for AirMiles that 24 months time.
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Jan 7, 2002
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Mars2012 wrote: Ever since that AM fiasco a couple years back, the last thing to bring be into a store would be their AirMiles program.
Same here, AMs is why I avoid Sobeys and Shell. Why pay more for points I don't want or use? I grudgingly accepted AMs at LCBO because I had no choice. Now that LCBO is out of the program and I've donated all but a couple of AMs to charity I no longer bother to carry the card.
PointsHubby wrote: That said the program is in the midst of a major revamp / face lift.
Yawn...

That ship sailed (into oblivion) years ago. Now they're just "dead program walking" as far as I'm concerned.

disLoyaltyOne's greed did them in. They won't be missed.
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Feb 7, 2017
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bylo wrote: Same here, AMs is why I avoid Sobeys and Shell. Why pay more for points I don't want or use? I grudgingly accepted AMs at LCBO because I had no choice. Now that LCBO is out of the program and I've donated all but a couple of AMs to charity I no longer bother to carry the card.

Yawn...

That ship sailed (into oblivion) years ago. Now they're just "dead program walking" as far as I'm concerned.

disLoyaltyOne's greed did them in. They won't be missed.
To each their own …

I still get a lot of value out of the program on things I would be buying anyhow (like you did @ the LCBO)

Lol, talking of ships sailing … my next AirMiles Holiday totally on points … may very well be a Mediterranean Cruise in 2023.
Smiling Face With Sunglasses
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Oct 17, 2012
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Vancouver
Jon Lai wrote:
FreshCo DOES take AMEX but it's chip and pin only, no tap.
That's Safeway that takes without tap.
It does not work with chip and pin at the Chalo Freshco I've been to and the cashier informed they don't take it

Edit : looks like it might differ by province
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Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
sunnysidesolutions wrote: That's Safeway that takes without tap.
It does not work with chip and pin at the Chalo Freshco I've been to and the cashier informed they don't take it

Edit : looks like it might differ by province
There is a definitive answer to this … and it’s c/o AMEX

https://www.americanexpress.com/en-ca/m ... 23.1207375

Also, some Retailers try to hide the fact they accept AMEX
And should be reported …

See this RFD Thread for more info on that
report-businesses-violate-credit-card-a ... s-2261633/
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Oct 17, 2012
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PointsHubby wrote: There is a definitive answer to this … and it’s c/o AMEX

https://www.americanexpress.com/en-ca/m ... 23.1207375

Also, some Retailers try to hide the fact they accept AMEX
And should be reported …

See this RFD Thread for more info on that
report-businesses-violate-credit-card-a ... s-2261633/
That's interesting, I see Freshco on the Amex map but that particular location in real life is "Chalo Freshco".
I'm not sure if it changed sometime. I recall going to buy something when the location first converted and leaving without the stuff at the checkout because they couldn't take AMEX
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
sunnysidesolutions wrote: That's interesting, I see Freshco on the Amex map but that particular location in real life is "Chalo Freshco".
I'm not sure if it changed sometime. I recall going to buy something when the location first converted and leaving without the stuff at the checkout because they couldn't take AMEX
Interesting …

I didn’t know that FreshCo had literally 2 divisions until you posted
A bit of digging turned up that there’s indeed … FreshCo and Chalo FreshCo (see bottom of this linked pg)
https://ourpart.ca/

And it’s explained further on Wikipedia = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreshCo

Just the same …

If the AMEX Website lists them as taking AMEX Cards
Then by their contract with AMEX … THEY MUST DO SO
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2005
568 posts
152 upvotes
Personally like Freshco in the GTA. Fruits and veggies would be fresh, cheaper on reg price and IN STOCK at the store! Go to the RCSS and many many times they'd be missing an entire category... like one time when only Roma tomatoes were in stock (no other varieties avail) and all the ones in the very empty bin were squishy with tomato juice all over...
RCSS also is a nightmare on weekends.
No frills is comparable, but they dont offer as many ethnic food varieties depending on the specific store. I also feel like no frills is only cheaper when things i want are on sale. Freshness wise, No Frills is very location dependent and i think same probably goes for Freshco too.
Not comparing to Walmart or Food basics because both dont price match. I tend to save 20-30% on my bills just by doing that.

Shop probably more at Freshco because it was closeby but since i move No Frills has been more convenient. Occasionally will make a special trip to get things that No Frills doesnt have...
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Jan 7, 2002
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crazychick wrote: Personally like Freshco in the GTA. Fruits and veggies would be fresh, cheaper on reg price and IN STOCK at the store! Go to the RCSS and many many times they'd be missing an entire category... like one time when only Roma tomatoes were in stock (no other varieties avail) and all the ones in the very empty bin were squishy with tomato juice all over...
RCSS here was OOS on some produce early in the pandemic. Of course that was also true of some non-produce. OOS produce has been very rare in the past year. It seems to be mostly related to supply chain issues with imported stuff, especially from overseas.
RCSS also is a nightmare on weekends.
That should tell you something about their popularity ;)

In any case I shop there early Sunday mornings. They've had overnight to restock. There are few shoppers. I can get in and out very quickly.

I can understand why there may be bare shelves on Saturday, especially on items that are on-sale elsewhere. People have cleaned them out for PM purposes. They couldn't have anticipated that demand if the sale was at a non-Galen store and presumably they can't get restocked until Monday. [I also suspect they leave the shelves bare until the competitor's sale ends in order to staunch their losses from PMing.]
No frills is comparable, but they dont offer as many ethnic food varieties depending on the specific store. I also feel like no frills is only cheaper when things i want are on sale. Freshness wise, No Frills is very location dependent and i think same probably goes for Freshco too.
Not comparing to Walmart or Food basics because both dont price match. I tend to save 20-30% on my bills just by doing that.
RCSS offers a wide variety of ethnic foods. They also PM a much wider selection of competitors stores so one can PM more items and usually at even lower prices. And of course RCSS has PC Optimum that allows even greater savings.
Shop probably more at Freshco because it was closeby but since i move No Frills has been more convenient. Occasionally will make a special trip to get things that No Frills doesnt have...
My impression is most people tend to go to the closest store and/or with the most convenient parking, most efficient checkouts, etc. That's especially true for those of us who want to shop safely (COVID-wise) once a week and at one store only.

While lowest prices and PMing may be important to many people on RFD, I suspect the general public is price insensitive, doesn't comparison shop, doesn't PM, and then loves to bitch constantly about high prices,
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