If I didn’t happen to be in the shopping center already for something else, I wouldn’t have gone in on the first day it opened knowing there would be a crowd – and there was. You could only walk a step or two when you’d find yourself trapped in a bottleneck. What made the overcrowding worse is a problem that won’t go away after the curiosity factor fades away — the aisles are very narrow for what we’re now used to in modern supermarkets. The store lighting was dim, and made to feel even darker by the dark brown paint used liberally on store signs hanging on the walls. It felt dismal and, frankly, depressing. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Before the grand opening yesterday, I heard several people voice what I had been thinking – how are they going to fit a Smart & Final Extra size store in what was considered a ‘small’ Ralph’s market. I don’t know what the planners were thinking. Narrow dark aisles, merchandise jammed packed everywhere, it felt a little too claustrophobic for my comfort.
I’m sticking with the El Toro Rd store in the Twin Peaks Shopping Center between Rockfield and Muirlands.