Bus and train friendly - but weak on labelling
Posted on 09 / 11 / 2011
The Organic Supermarket is located in the heart of Blackrock, in a prime position for public transport users - there is a bus stop directly outside and it is one of the closest shops to the town's DART (train) station. A large car-park is also situated nearby.
This modest-sized store is fairly thorough in the organic product range it offers; the range of vegetarian and vegan wholefoods is good and the presence of meat quite low key. The number of lines has recently been expanded. The side effect has been to create a more confused layout in what is already a somewhat oddly shaped shop - small front area, a central section of a narrow corridor with shelves on both sides and then a wider back area with chilled goods. With much of the stock remote from the checkout, any enquiry can become a tiresome trek from the rear of the shop and the overall feel of the space is impersonal.
What mainly differentiates the Organic Supermarket from a conventional health food shop is the wide range of fresh produce, most especially fruit and vegetables which are displayed in the street and continue on for a large area inside, plus the wide selection of organic wines available (though no beers or spirits are carried). It would be easy for a small shop to play safe on the amount of fresh produce offered for fear of spoilage, whereas the Organic Supermarket seems committed to keeping a wide choice available. Inevitably, since fresh produce sales are very hard to predict, this does lead to a lot of what's on offer being a little past its best at any given time. Despite the legal requirements around a store properly labelling its produce with country of origin information, the Organic Supermarket falls down badly in this area. No information is provided on the price labels for individual items and I have regularly experienced the list on the wall being a month or more out of date and not reflecting correct country information. As someone looking to make ethical and ecological choices based on country of origin information, this matters. I have raised it in an email (acknowledged) and discussed it directly with the store manager yet have experienced negligible improvement in recent months.
On balance, the Organic Supermarket does have many good points - not least location and range (plus a cute website if you like Flash animation) - and I shop there regularly. Were it not for the labelling issue, I'd give it a four, but until they have that properly sorted three cows it is
Location, Good range, Long opening hours
Weak country of origin labelling, Impersonal layout and feel