foodie heaven and worth the wait: whole foods exton, pa

One of my Christmas presents was a lovely gift card to Whole Foods in Exton. Yes, the store we never thought would open. A giant construction project and a corporate buy out by Amazon later, and it finally opened on January 18th.

The Whole Foods in Exton is located at 175 N. Pottstown Pike in Exton. Is easily accessible from 100 and also from 30. The parking lot was a bit of a crush, but when we went today for the first time, a good spot opened up quickly.

I actually think this is the best Whole Foods I have been in. I used to avoid the Wynnewood store because the crowd was obnoxious and the parking lot worth your life. Even re-built in Wynnewood it feels cramped. I never liked the Devon Whole Foods because of the crowd and the parking lot. But Whole Foods Exton? It’s a whole new experience.

I also think Whole Foods Exton is going to kick Wegman’s behind and I will tell you why.

Wegman’s in Malvern is cavernous and dark. The aisle shelving is SO tall in spots you feel isolated in the aisles. I also do not find it well organized and the store since it opened doesn’t flow. You can’t necessarily find things easily, nor necessarily someone to help you when you need it.

I like Wegman’s all right, but I am thinking I am going to like Whole Foods in Exton better. If I managed a Wegman’s I would be “shopping” the Whole Foods in Exton.

When you walk into Whole Foods in Exton, it’s huge but light and airy. You see the mechanicals in the ceiling but the store has loads of natural and electric lighting and as opposed to the darker feeling of a Wegman’s or a Giant, it’s so much better lit.

Wegman’s is also spotlessly clean. And the staff is friendly, well-trained, knowledgeable, and also neatly dressed.

From produce, to the fish market in the store, to the butcher it’s clean and well laid out. First time in the store and I did not have a problem finding anything.

They have a wonderful array of very fresh pre-made food if that is your thing. For pre-packaged food which is NOT my thing, it’s quite appealing. Especially the array of salads and grains and roasted vegetables.

They have an amazing yogurt selection. And breads and bagels ? Yum. Cookies too. I tried a double chocolate chip and it was delicious.

I had way too much fun buying produce and fresh fish that did not smell fishy. One of their great deals today was a shrimp ring for $7.99. The shrimp was incredibly fresh and I loved the cocktail sauce.

Whole Foods in Exton also has a nice in store wine and beer store. Admirable wine selection which was very boutique-like. The beer selection my husband said was o.k. but could stand some improvement. But beer-wise we are spoiled in Chester County by The Beer Store in Lincoln Court Shopping Center on Route 30 in Malvern.The store was mobbed as it was a Saturday, so that was a little overwhelming. It was also at times amusing people watching as there were some folks who were just such serious food people.

There were also some of the Main Line flora and fauna who had ventured west and still shop while on their cell phones.

And of course, the cart zombies. They are the ones who wander and stop, oblivious of all around them. My husband said I was one, and to my fellow shoppers I apologize I was having so much fun checking everything out!We ran into a friend and her kids also checking the store out for the first time. Apparently, her husband was suffering from sticker shock elsewhere in the store.I will say that while things are not quite ACME or GIANT prices since Amazon purchased Whole Foods, the prices are vastly and definitely improved. It won’t necessarily be my every day grocery store all of the time, it is affordable enough to visit far more often than Wegman’s. Hopefully prices stay that way. If prices stay that way, Whole Foods will also eat into the business of Fresh Direct in this area.

Readers, I had a swell time. Can’t wait to go back! Next time I will check out their cafe/juice bar and Pike’s. It was totally worth the wait.

where is the customer service, iris usa?

UPDATE: heard back from company, finally. They are replacing the broken containers. That is what I wanted and what is right and fair.

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I had ordered six 30 quart weatherproof containers made by a company called IRIS USA.

I might as well have just thrown my money away!

IRIS makes terrific containers. But they do NOT package their products well for shipping. I ordered a set of six and I will in the end have only TWO which are usable because they were shipped with no padding or packing, so they broke before they reached me. Some had broken lids some head broken bottoms where is a little black hinges were broken off the containers. I have a whole pile of plastic shards.

I can’t believe that a company like this doesn’t get that you can’t ship containers without any padding or packing especially in the winter when the colder temperatures make the plastic more brittle !

I have been in contact with their social media customer service people on Facebook who assured me days ago that someone would contact me from their company and make good on the containers that I did not get to use because they arrived broken.

Yet days later, nothing. Not even an email.

Yesterday I was told via a Facebook message that everyone is extraordinarily apologetic that no one has bothered to connect with me and they will look into it further. Yet all I am hearing is crickets.

I contacted them via email and have heard nothing, I resent the email a second time today.

I also called their corporate offices and all I got was a voice mailboxto leave a message for customer service, not an actual person.

Customer service to me is a big deal. I’m not asking for free stuff I’m just asking them to make good on the order that I initially placed. My order was for six containers, and given four were broken, I just want the four broken ones replaced. Otherwise I am throwing money away.

If you see their containers in regular bricks and mortar retailers, they make great containers. But don’t order them online from IRIS since they don’t know how to ship them properly, and their customer service is not what it should be.

The photo that is the last photo on this post is what the containers are supposed to look like. The other two photos show what I actually received. I had bought these to help better store some of my Christmas decorations.

Buyer beware.

Thanks for stopping by.

christmas is coming!

I had an appointment in Wayne so I stopped at Valley Forge Flowers, more specifically The Barn at Valley Forge Flowers.

I love Christmas and I noticed they were literally decking the halls so I had to go in and check things out. They have some fabulous Christmas ornaments and holiday hostess gifts if you are in the market for them.

Especially take note of the fabulous German ornaments in the section known as The Cottage at Valley Forge Flowers. And like a complete dork, that’s the one photo I neglected to snap!

Please note that my opinions are my own and I have not been compensated in any way or given preferential treatment for writing my little review of a fabulous shopping experience. I am just a happy customer!

when gardening, know your mail order grower


The photo above (and the next photo below this paragraph) were both  taken on a garden tour last spring. I love hostas! I really generally speaking have a hosta disease! I am always looking for interesting cultivars and growers who might have hostas I want to try but never have been able to find locally.


But I learned a valuable lesson recently about knowing your grower. And knowing your grower especially when it comes to mail order plants.

I have been ordering plants from reputable growers up and down the eastern seaboard and as far away as Washington state for years.

I was searching out particular hosta cultivars and decided to check eBay.  Believe it or not I have had wonderful luck with some small plant growers on eBay in the past. For example, I received wonderful woodland ferns from a small nursery outfit in Tennessee.

So there is this grower who is a dually listed on eBay and Amazon. I figured since they were on two sites that generally try to police their sellers I was OK ordering plants. I didn’t stop to pay attention to the reviews. I should have. If I had paid attention to the reviews I would’ve saved myself a lot of trouble.

I ordered the plants and then I waited. And waited. When I received no tracking number to track my package from the seller after over a week I messaged the grower to ask if the plants had shipped and if I could have a tracking number.

I also at that time asked if I was getting bare root or if they were coming in pots. The seller said they always ship bare root.

I am not a novice gardener and I am fine with bare root plants. I figured all would be fine.

Boy was I mistaken.

The plants arrived Saturday. Poorly packaged in a small square box, they arrived mostly dead. I literally had thrown my money away.

For all of the plants I have ordered over the years mail order, never had I received any in such poor condition. And what was described as a “starter” plant (for example) looked like a piece of wilted micro lettuce.

The plants were shipped in dry newspaper in little sandwich baggies with the hosta cultivars scribbled illegibly on the outside of the baggies. There was no ventilation in the little square box and the plants were dried out, wilted, and mostly dead. And so small. I am used to mail order plants but these were puny, so not as described in my humble opinion.

I took a deep breath and contacted the “grower” to see what they would do. I gave them the opportunity to do the right thing. I wanted healthy plants, not a refund. And I was not seeking free plants. I would have been satisfied with an “I am so sorry.” Or even an intelligent conversation in the hopes of achieving an amicable resolution. After all, who likes wasting money?

The response from the “grower” was swift and nasty to be honest.  They accused me of “blackmail” and demanded (not requested) I mail back “their” plants (even though I had paid $70+ for “their” plants.

I will be honest, I was taken aback by the sheer nastiness of their attitude, and I said calmly that I was not going to put myself out MORE money to mail back sub par mostly dead plants.  

I have learned a valuable lesson. And if I had read the reviews posted online I probably would not have purchased a thing from them. If they need my hard earned money so badly, hey they can keep it.

Know your grower. And if you do not, check them out. (And yes, another case made for buying local.)


On a certain level I am disappointed, because people who are true nursery men and women are generally speaking some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Do not be afraid of ordering plants via mail order, just check out the grower ahead of time. Again, lesson learned for me. I broke my rule of checking them out.

Good customer service matters.  

scrooged in wayne

This location is Runnymede at South Wayne Avenue in Wayne PA (Radnor Twp)- friend courtesy photo

So last night a friend messages me:

Hey Happy holidays! I’m asking you this because you might know – the small white vans being used during Christmas for deliveries, do you know if they are usps or a FedEx or ups or Amazon delivery person? I ask because today I saw a delivery person driving one of these actually put an Amazon package in the storm SEWER. So I am trying to figure out what agency to contact this to report it. SMH.

So I messaged her back how crazy that was and that Amazon is introducing dedicated drivers in small white vans in the area. How crazy must it have been to see a delivery person chuck a package like that?

I suggested she go to the police and contact Amazon.com.  She showed me a picture of the package in the storm sewer which I am about to post:

She couldn’t figure out where the package was going because it was face down. Her  local police department went out to the location this morning and the package was gone. It’s pretty deep to fish out from this storm sewer, so we’re at a loss as to how the package moved – either someone came along with something to fish it out or there was inexplicable water that washed it out of view.

But somebody somewhere is missing a package a few days before Christmas. I hope it was not a present for a child.

I am a big Amazon fan but I will admit I have had problems with some of their delivery people since they started adding dedicated delivery. I have had things just not get delivered or delivered late. It’s a relatively new service in this area with dedicated drivers, so obviously they have some kinks to work out.

Here is hoping Amazon can figure this out.

dear santa can you help?


Dear Santa,

Hi there! Are you getting your letters from Chester County, PA?  I am sorry to ask  during this time of year, but you see parts of Chester County has an on again, off again mail problem.

You see, part of Chester County PA’s Mail sorts through another city and state. Yes, it’s true, part of Chester County’s mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine, you send your next door neighbor a card and it takes not days , but weeks to arrive. Why? Because the mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you have an awesome local post office and equally terrific mail carriers. Imagine how awful they feel when they have to knock on your door and hand you damaged mail and damaged packages that sometimes look like the football after Monday Night Football! Why? Because the mail came to Chester County via Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you are waiting for a registered or priority package and you are tracking it on USPS.com and you watch it travel from pillar to post and then it just stalls for a couple of days…in Wilmington, Delaware. (with no explanation, ever.)

Santa, it is sad but true. When you complain the United States Postal Service doesn’t honor their “we deliver for you” they terrorize your local mail carriers and post office or they blow you off entirely. Heck maybe YOU can get them to respond to emails – because unless you are contacting the Office of The Inspector General, you stand a pretty good chance of being totally blown off.

Last time I went on a tirade against Chester County PA mail partially sorting through Wilmington, Delaware I was told off the record that the reason mail from Chester County sorts through another state entirely was Joe Biden and is this true?  So should I be writing to Joe Biden instead of you Santa Claus?

I have a theory and that is the postal workers in the sorting facility in Wilmington,  Delaware resent having to also sort Chester County, Pennsylvania mail.  And that is why I hypothesize why mail goes missing, has inexplicable delays, and gets damaged. And who can blame them?  Wouldn’t you be upset if some politicians just doubled your workloads because they thought that was the solution to some stupid political agenda? 

December 1, 2016 update: spoke to consumer affairs personnel in Washington, DC in the Postmaster General’s Office after getting blown off by Philadelphia Consumer Affairs and the office of the USPS OIG. Santa would you like to receive a priority package marked fragile that looks like this?

So Santa, if you can talk to USPS about the mail and ask them to do something about the Chester County, Pennsylvania mail partially sorting in Wilmington, Delaware that would be an awesome stocking stuffer this Christmas!