By far, the Squamish store I spend the most time in is Craig’s (or, as most people call it, the Independent. Or the Independent Grocer. Or the old Extra Foods).
Before I get ahead of myself, I should disclose that I probably care more about grocery stores than the average person. I once did an in-depth comparison of Whistler’s grocery stores, which you can read here. And don’t worry, there is definitely a Nesters (Whistler) vs. Nesters (Squamish) post in the future.
Craig’s holds a special place in my heart not only because it is within walking distance of my home, but because its opening coincided with our move to Squamish. In the two weeks we spent painting our place before we moved in, we listened to a LOT of Mountain FM. They were heavily promoting the official opening on the radio – we heard about it approximately 12 times per day. So when the day finally came, it was pretty exciting stuff (I even went to the grand opening).
My first visit to Craig’s left me feeling lukewarm. I noted they had a lot of novelty items (sodas and crackers and snack stuff) that would be cool for hosting a party or something, but I felt they didn’t compare to my beloved Nesters.
But I kept going to Craig’s, largely because it is really close to my house, but also because the prices are decent. And over time, I have grown quite fond of the place – fond enough to write the following list of miscellaneous observations.
- First of all, Craig is a real person. You can see his photo in the store. I have seen him on the floor and can attest that he is a team player. I even saw him doing some mopping once.
- The PC Points card is super worth getting. At first I thought it was only a credit card, so I delayed getting one. But then I realize it’s just a normal rewards card, so I got it, and I’ve already earned $20 back (best feeling ever). Cool story Hansel.
- I haven’t had access to President’s Choice products in years, so it’s nice to be back in that world. My favourite PC products are probably the yogurt popsicles, the hummus, and the chocolate covered almonds.
- Craig’s is superior to the old Extra Foods in almost every way. Remember how the Extra Foods had scarily large produce? The yams were like, the size of my head and appeared to have veins. The produce at Craig’s is better. There is, however, one area where Extra Foods beats Craig’s: the bulk food section. The fact that Craig’s does not have a bulk food section is disappointing.
- The chic peas in the multicultural food section are cheaper than the ones in the bean section (even though they are in the same aisle).
- The most oddly placed item in all of Craig’s has to be the rice crackers. They are not located with the regular crackers. You can find them across from the sodas. I don’t get it either.
- At first glance, it may appear that Craig’s is missing some key brands. When it doubt, check the healthy/organic section. This is where they keep my favourite yogurt, granola, and other miscellaneous items. And the yogurt is only $2.99 – elsewhere it seems to be $4.99 or even $5.99! (Krema Plain, for those who are wondering.)
- I adore the self check out. It is painful watching some people use it, but I actually quite enjoy it. When I was little, I had a friend who had a toy grocery store check out, conveyor belt and all (it broke when we got coins stuck in it). It was amazing, and I think the self check out makes me feel like I’m realizing some childhood dream, even though it only has a scanner, no conveyor belt. My goal is to memorize as many produce codes as possible. So far I have mastered mangoes and Fuji apples.
Nice work, Craig (and team!)