We have not been regular shoppers at the “bio” store in St. Cybranet (seven kilometres north of Daglan), but we have stopped there occasionally because, for one thing, the medium-sized supermarket has carried a decent range of gluten-free products for Jan, including breads and pastas. It’s been a somewhat peculiar place, as I’ll soon explain, but it’s now under new management. So — does this mean a fresh start?
In case you’re wondering, bio in French means organic. Thus, the store has sold a wide variety of organic products, including some very tasty chocolate bars, as well as some strange organic vegetables — often under-sized and mis-shapen, often with odd patches of colour (rust?), and with the additional quality of being able to go bad in just a day or two.
The store has had been lots of other products for what Jan calls the “peace, love and nuts” set — you know, thick hand-knitted wool socks; home-baked breads; various wooden beads; and a wide range of creams and lotions featuring exotic ingredients like whipple grass, toad’s umbrella, slumworth, and lemon cremora berries.
An especially notable feature of the store, however, has been the service. Once the staff members are in front of you, at the check-out counter, they are invariable friendly. The challenge is getting them there.
Sometimes a single staff member will be on duty, stacking cans of organic peas on the shelves, as a line of customers builds up at the counter. Other times, they are simply too friendly and helpful. One day not long ago, Jan went in the store to buy a couple of items and came out fuming quite a while later, with nothing in her hands. As she waited at the counter, it appeared that the sole staff member on duty was helping two customers choose olives from the store’s vast selection — and Jan told me it seemed that they were choosing one olive at a time. So Jan walked out.
Over the past few weeks, we figured something was up, because the shelves seemed emptier and emptier, as if the owners were unloading inventory. Was the place about to change hands? As it happened, it was. And here’s the new look, starting with a sign out front:
And here’s what the store itself looks like:
So the new focus, evidently, is not only on bio products but also Saveurs du Terroir, or Local Flavours. We’ll keep an eye on the store, to see how it evolves. On Tuesday afternoon of this week, we happened to pass by it, and so Jan stuck in her head for a quick look. Back in the car she told me that it looked like the shelves were still poorly stocked. We’re hoping that changes.