As the saying goes, “change is good,” even if it takes a little getting used to.
For customers noticing a few changes in the aisles at Palmer’s Market in Noroton, it means a larger selection of fresh bakery items and an expansion on some of the market’s most popular items, including specialty snack foods.
“One of the reasons we’re able to stay successful as an independent grocer is by staying on trends in the industry and keeping things fresh,” said market co-owner Cindy Palmer Dean. “It’s not easy to compete with the like of Whole Foods and other big chains but we do it by constantly looking at our aisles, analyzing product mix and traveling to shows to get new ideas.”
Where did the bread go?
Signs throughout the store — and helpful staff — lead customers to items that have been moved.
For example, the bread selection that used to line Aisle 1 is now at the back of the store near an expanded Palmer’s Bakery. Keeping the bread near the bakery and its own store-made selection makes sense for many reasons, including when it comes to how shoppers load their carts.
“When people shop they tend to grab the heavy things first but, if you’re grabbing your bread in the first aisle, you have to keep moving it around so it doesn’t get crushed,” Cindy said. “Now, with it all in one place you can compare and see the variety.”
It’s that attention to small details of the customer experience that makes Palmer’s unique.
The award-winning Palmer’s Bakery is growing and two five-foot bakery display cases have just been replaced with two eight-foot Italian-made cases, ready to hold a larger daily selection.
“We used to ask people to order a cake a day in advance but now we’ll have more product in stock and people can grab a cake to go,” Cindy said.
Demand for Palmer’s pies, cookies, cupcakes and other desserts has steadily grown.
“We had four cakes sold just the other day before we were even open,” Cindy said.
Specialty snacks, more
Back at the front of the store, Aisle 1 is now home to popular specialty snacks. With items like cauliflower crackers and gourmet beef jerky, Cindy calls it the “new age” snack aisle, packed with items that that customers are hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Demand for traditional snacks has also grown. Palmer’s has add a bigger selection of snack nuts to its candy aisle.
“It’s a science and it’s fun to find the changing trends,” Cindy said.
With changes underway, Cindy hopes loyal customers will be patient and open to some of the new additions.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers,” Cindy said. “We have to make these changes if we want to stay in business and, hopefully, be here in Noroton for another 100 years.”
Palmer’s Market is located at 264 Heights Road, Darien, right across from the Noroton Heights Railroad Station.