It’s weird when someone recommends a venue that you pass on a weekly basis – it’s almost as if you become blind to your surroundings and only notice something when it’s off the beaten track.
The Carreira Centre is one such venue. I mean, I vaguely knew it was there, but have never felt inclined to go and visit it. Until a recent Facebook post when a friend compared the prices of various Woolworths produce with the same items she found at Carreira Centre shops. THAT spurred me into action!
Firstly, this is not a glamorous venue, in any shape or form. That being said, I rather liked it! Isabella (my 5-year-old) and I began our meander at M Squared Bakery and Coffee Shop, a restaurant that is quite popular for its well-priced breakfasts, delicious pizzas and good coffee. I LOVED the wide variety of homemade bread, rolls, croissants, cinnamon sticks and hot cross buns and will definitely pop in on a regular basis to stock up. The very large cakes are incredibly well-priced, as is the melktert, which I valiantly managed not to buy. Sadly, I’m not a fan of the coffee, which I found quite weak.
Hours: Monday – Friday (07:00 – 17:30), Saturday (07:00 – 17:00) and Sunday (07:00 – 13:00).
Next up was Pilaros Cheese, stocking a variety of cheeses, juice and a massive milk tank for those looking to fill their own containers with fresh milk (under R20 per litre). Mr Tasty Ice-Cream Factory also warrants a visit with boxes of 20 frozen fruit lollies for an average of R40 per box. I also discovered a fridge filled with boxes of Italian Kisses and a variety of cones and ice-cream syrups.
We then made our way to the Randburg Wholesale Market, filled with every type of fruit and vegetable you can imagine. The prices are VERY good (bear in mind that I rarely shop at Food Lovers Market or Fruit & Veg City, and head to Woolworths because it is en route home from my daughter’s school). Plus, it stocks produce I have never seen in Woolworths, cabbages bigger than my head, shelves groaning with wide varieties of the same vegetable and so much more. It was relatively busy, and seasoned shoppers whizzed around in no time at all, while Isabella and I walked the aisles with our mouths open in wonder.
Hours: Monday – Friday (08:00 – 17:30). Saturday (08:00 – 17:00) and Sunday (08:00 – 13:00)
NOTE: I have absolutely NO idea how the quality compares with other stores, how long the items last, or how they taste. That being said, I will be doing a month’s trial for the next week weeks – doing my weekly fruit and veg shop at the Randburg Wholesale Market and topping up at Woolies if we run out of anything. (Comment below if you would like me to update this article in 4 weeks’ time with my findings!)
Our last stop was across the parking lot to check out Goodman’s Butchery and Delicattesen. I wasn’t overly blown away, but did chat with a lady who was filling her trolley with an alarming number of packets of bacon. Apparently, it is so delicious that she visits every three months to fill her freezer!
Hours: Monday – Friday (08:00 – 18:00). Saturday (08:00 – 16:00) and Sunday (08:00 – 13:00)
We also noticed a liquor store, spice shop and plastic store (along the lines of Wespack) but didn’t venture in as we were running out of time!
The verdict – if you live in the area, this is a no-brainer for your weekly shop! Recycle empty milk containers and get them filled at Pilaros, pop next door to M Squared to pick up fresh bread and rolls (and maybe a treat or two) for the week and end up at the Randburg Wholesale Shop for seasonal fruit and veggies.
Not only will you save a fortune, but you will also support owner-managed stores and buy items without any hidden preservatives and chemicals. What’s not to like? HINT: If you prefer a quieter shopping experience, try and avoid the weekends when it gets very busy and parking becomes a stressful experience!).
For More Information
Address: The Carreira Centre, 252 Pine Avenue (corner Republic Road), Ferndale
Tel: 011 787 8900
Written by Shelli NT