What it is: Fresh Market is a specialty grocery store located off of Hwy. 54 in Chapel Hill near its intersection with 15-501. We have passed by this store many times on the way from Durham into Chapel Hill and never stopped by, so we decided to check it out. When we walked in the first thing I noticed was the lovely, wonderful smell of fresh, mulled apple cider, one of my absolute favorite fall smells (and they had little cups for you to sample!)
Then we took a look into the rest of the store. It looked much more like an open market than most of your typical grocery stores with high ceilings and low shelves. It was a pleasant place to walk around. Their produce was beautiful but expensive. They had all sorts of yummy gourmet treats from a huge deli with beautiful pasta salad, dips, pimento cheeses, and other delicious treats. They had a coffee section, a great wine section, cheeses, meats, gourmet spices and oils, and bins upon bins of trails mixes, nuts, chocolate covered goodies, and dried fruits. My overall impression of this grocery store was that it was a wonderful place to shop that could be so much fun if I had all the money to spend on groceries that I wanted. Until I reach that point, it could be a very dangerous habit.
What we liked: I loved the feel of the store and the gourmet inventory. However, what really made me walk out of the store smiling was the customer service. One of the employees made a point of coming up to me and my son while we were perusing the trail mixes and told us that we could sample any that we wanted. That was music to my toddler's ears. In addition, when I was debating whether I would splurge on pimento cheese from the deli for lunch, one of the deli employees walked up and offered me a free sample so I could make my decision more easily. Then, when my son was fussing because we finished our free sample, she gave us a bit more. Plus, every other employee we passed smiled and waved and my son and fussed over him in a way that made him feel like the center of attention. It's always nice to go to a store where they go above and beyond like that.
What we would change: Of course, we would make all of their delicious fresh food a little more inexpensive. However, our one purchase was some dried apples and bananas which turned out to be cheaper than we would have gotten in our typical grocery stores. So, hopefully there are more deals like that to be had. I'm willing to go back and scope it out!
Website and other important information:
Address: 1200 Raleigh Rd., Chapel Hill
Phone Number: (919) 932-7501
1. Our view as we entered the store