Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trying to warm up to Fairway Market in Paramus

I went to Fairway Market in Paramus today with a $10-off coupon I had received in the mail. All I had to do was spend $100, which I found easy by stocking up on some favorite items. And by making a list, I spent only $1.29 over $100, in contrast to the first time I tried this and went $10 to $15 over.

I bought seven jars of pasta sauce, on sale at $2.49 each; seven one-pound packages of salted cod, $8.99 each; about six pounds of Murray's drug-free chicken wings and three Murray's leg quarters, $13.45 and $3.50, respectively; a Fairway baguette, 99 cents; and Campari herbicide-free tomatoes, $2.99. Only the baguette wasn't on my list.

With the coupon, my total was $91.29. But I was torn about buying wings, because Fairway prices them much higher than Murray's thighs, legs and leg quarters. I bought the family pack for $2.49 a pound; smaller quantities are priced at $2.69 a pound, a full dollar above the other parts.

After I checked out, I asked a woman who identified herself as a manager why the wings were priced so high. She seemed surprised and said she didn't know. Maybe the chickens put up a bigger fight over their wings than over their other parts. Or maybe it's just a rip-off.

I still don't feel warm all over about New York-based Fairway opening a store in North Jersey, even though I shopped for years at its Harlem store. The Paramus outpost is six miles from my home in Hackensack, in the dowdy Fashion Center, compared to just over a mile to Whole Foods Market in Parmaus and between one and two miles to three ShopRites. And I can't help feel a chill from some of the snooty shoppers and the unhelpful store personnel.

On top of all that, Fairway doesn't have a large selection of antibiotic-free poultry and meats, compared to Whole Foods, and some of the items it does have are priced higher than such competitors as Trader Joe's. I saw three brands of uncured, preservative-free bacon, but they were all 12 ounces, not the 16 ounces sold at Trader Joe's for less.


  1. I feel equally uncomfortable about the snooty shoppers at that store, plus there just seems to be a general feeling that you are "being watched" with all the store security. The personnel at the store are nothing to write home to mom about either.

  2. It took forever for Fairway to open its New Jersey store and it was an on-and-off thing for a long time. Then they picked an out-of-the-way shopping center. Maybe the rent is cheaper there, but Whole Foods scored a coup by picking the modernized and renamed Bergen Mall. As it is, I go to Fairway once a month, if that. And I still have to go the Harlem store to get goat meat, which isn't sold in Paramus.

  3. I live about a half mile from Fairway and go there once a month, you are right, the shopping center is very inconvenient but if it was a pleasant shopping experience such as Wegmans, I would probably be there a couple times a week.

  4. I've heard so many good things about Wegmans, so why don't they open a store in North Jersey? Whole Foods is trying to open another store in Closter; would have been a great location for Wegmans.

  5. Wegman's is in Woodbridge and Bridgewater, I don't think their business model fits with the high cost of overhead in North Jersey. Their stores are huge, no grocery store in this area can really compare, not to mention a large restaurant area with various cuisines. Their prices have gone up since my first days of shopping there in the early/mid 90s in Johnson City, NY and Dickson City, PA.

  6. I'll have to make the trip. Woodbridge is not that far away. I could combine it with a visit to the great Indian restaurants in the Iselin section.


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