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Thread: The grocery store general discussion thread

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    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    The grocery store general discussion thread

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    And I thought our grocery store was the epitome of stores: Publix. Don't believe I've ever seen a Wegman's. Winn Dixie, Piggly Wiggly, yep. Wegman's, no.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    And I thought our grocery store was the epitome of stores: Publix. Don't believe I've ever seen a Wegman's. Winn Dixie, Piggly Wiggly, yep. Wegman's, no.
    Publix is nice.

    HEB is nice.

    Wegmans is a religious experience.

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Wegmans is a religious experience.
    Indeed it was.

    The place is really a revelation. Makes me regret every dollar I've spent in Stop and Shop, which clearly doesn't even try anymore and takes the Boston area for granted.

    The most amazing thing I saw was the seafood sausage section (yes, you read that correctly). Next time I'm going to pick up some salmon sliders.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    Indeed it was.

    The place is really a revelation. Makes me regret every dollar I've spent in Stop and Shop, which clearly doesn't even try anymore and takes the Boston area for granted.

    The most amazing thing I saw was the seafood sausage section (yes, you read that correctly). Next time I'm going to pick up some salmon sliders.
    I Wegmans.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  6. #6
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Is Wegman's an east coast experience? I am not sure I have ever seen one in the midwest.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    And I thought our grocery store was the epitome of stores: Publix.
    Publix is the nicest supermarket chain I've ever been too, but then again I've never been to a Wegmans.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

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    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    Is Wegman's an east coast experience? I am not sure I have ever seen one in the midwest.
    Most of their stores are in western NY state, I believe. The Northborough, MA store is their first one in New England.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I love Wegman's - frequent the Syracuse ones when I go see my Mom

    so what happened Maister, do tell...

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    In Western New York, there's two major supermarket chains: Wegmans and Tops. There's a few small local chains (P&C around Syracuse, Dash's and Budwey's in Buffalo), but otherwise the market is dominated by the Big Two.

    It goes without saying that Wegmans is awesome. I love seeing the hippies and garden ladies at the Weggies here in town; they just seem so out of place outside of the co-ops and farmer's market.

    Tops, though ... it's a conventional supermarket. The stores are larger than a typical supermarket elsewhere, probably due to the competition from Weggies. They have a really deep ethnic food selection. Otherwise, outside of the massive flagship Tops International store in Buffalo, most are rather mediocre.

    Go to a Tops, and you'll find a lot of old people. Aisle after aisle packed with upstate New York's seniors. The prices at Tops aren't any better than Wegmans, and it's not like they have particularly wide selection of ... oh, canned beans or whatever old people eat . I wonder what draws old people to Tops like a two-for-one early bird special at Old Country Buffet.

    Also, while Wegmans now has locations along the Northeast Corridor, a while back Tops expanded to ... Thailand. Go figure. The Thailand Tops are now under separate ownership.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Related to this matter of grocery stores, does anyone else agree there is a certain (same) smell associated with all grocery stores? It's not an unpleasant odor and you tend to experience it particularly around the produce sections and it doesn't matter if you're in a Food Lion, Meijers, Kroger, Piggly Wiggly or a Jewel, it's pretty much the same.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  12. #12
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Related to this matter of grocery stores, does anyone else agree there is a certain (same) smell associated with all grocery stores?
    Ever been to a supermarket in Mexico? It's ... different.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    My father worked for Kroger for 30+ years, so that was our grocer of choice in my household. My mom would occassionaly hit up a Farmer Jack or A&P.

    During the 90s, when Meijer first came to my hometown, it was a revelation. However, I didn't really do that much grocery shopping, so it wasn't that big of a deal.

    When I moved to West Michigan for my undergrad, Meijer became the prime grocer of choice. We would occasionaly go to a D&W Market, which is a Spartan store.

    When I moved back to the east side for my graduate degree, the wife and I would split our trips between Kroger and Meijer. We went to Kroger primarily because I could still get my dad's discount.

    When we moved back to West Michigan for my first job after graduate school, we became hardcore Meijer shoppers. This hasn't changed since we have once again become Metro Detroiters. There are still plenty of Krogers, but I've soured on them largely due to the ones in my hometown begin very rundown, at least in my opinion. There are some very nice looking Krogers, but I don't see myself shoppign there again

    I've never been to a Wegmans, but I do like the Publix that I've been in.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    In addition to the local players already named by btrage, Target also recently threw their hat in the ring by adding a grocery dept. to their existing store.

    I've only shopped there once, but Sav-a-lot is another chain geared to the lower quartile of the market and charges considerably less for many items based on their 'limited assortment' strategy.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  15. #15
    There is a new development that is supposed to break ground by the fall or early spring. Some news reports say a Wegman's is going in. Others, a Whole Foods.

    Either way, my neighborhood has arrived. The large homeless shelter, owns its facilities and will not be moving.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Harris Teeter is the upscale grocer in our area. However they have now decided to concentrate soley on the Charlotte market and sold their stores outside of a specific boundary to Lowes Foods (which is kinda HTLite).

    Food Lion, Bi-Lo, Galaxy & walmart are the other grocers.

    Gone (but not forgotten) is Winn Dixie & Fresh Market. There were Piggly Wiggly and IGA in the area too.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We don't have anything like that. Just yesterday I e-mailed Whole Foods asking them to consider my local as a possible location. Closest one is 174 miles away.

    I hear alot about Trader Joe's but I have never been in any of these "Awesome" stores, but it appears that there is push by some companies to make shopping more enjoyable. It is almost like each department is it's own mini store, dare I say... like a old downtown. Although, it is all under one roof and you have a sea of parking.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  18. #18
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Ever been to a supermarket in Mexico? It's ... different.
    No, but my olfactory recollection of Japanese supermarkets was that they tended to have a decidedly fishy smell to them (even though that was only one section of the store)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  19. #19
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    My father worked for Kroger for 30+ years, so that was our grocer of choice in my household...

    When we moved back to West Michigan for my first job after graduate school, we became hardcore Meijer shoppers. This hasn't changed since we have once again become Metro Detroiters. There are still plenty of Krogers, but I've soured on them largely due to the ones in my hometown begin very rundown, at least in my opinion. There are some very nice looking Krogers, but I don't see myself shoppign there again.
    For groceries I only go to Meijer once in a great while, and it's usually the one closest to my office and only to the candy/cookie isle to get snacks for my cubicle. A few weeks ago I decided to go into a Meijer closer to home on a Saturday morning for some actual grocery shopping. I needed to go to a hardware store and there was one right near it so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone. While searching through the meat and vegetable departments in order to find some stuff to put on the grill that afternoon, I found what seemed to be the worst selection I had ever seen for a grocery store with so much square footage. The meat counter was worthless unless I wanted ground chuck or some very dirty looking steaks or chops. The pre-packaged meat area wasn't much better with the selection limited to gigantic bags of chicken legs and wings or racks of ribs that were fit to feed a family of 10. The fresh vegetable selection was large but everything looked to be on the verge of spoiling. I decided that maybe I would have better luck with the chips and beer, and other sundries that I wanted to pick up. Nothing was any cheaper than what I would pay at Kroger and the only saving grace was the beer selection was actually pretty good. Besides a six pack, a bag of tortillas, and a tub of guacamole, I left empty handed. In the past I had generally avoided Meijer because it was too large and I get a bit overwhelmed in places like that, but now I have more reasons to avoid it.

    I got home and told my wife and she told me that I have become spoiled with the Kroger that is near our house. It is about half the size of the typical Kroger in the area and has the freshest produce and meat counters that I've experienced at a chain store. They also have a very large and responsive staff who are always very quick to help locate items and will order just about anything for you when asked. I like that they seem to have a very low employee turnover rate and over the 4 years that we have been shopping there have gotten to know many of the folks working there and a few of them know us by name now. It is also the absolute cleanest grocery store I have ever been in, large chain or not. There are a few downsides though: The parking lot for the small strip center it is in is tiny and poorly angled and ALWAYS busy. There are certain days, especially around the holidays when I end up having to park on the street in the neighborhood behind the store (we have learned that if we need to do any shopping near Thanksgiving or Christmas to go before 8:00 a.m. or to walk to the store). The other downside is that due to the smaller size of the store, they do not carry a lot of the middle of the price range products, instead they carry more of the higher-end and/or organic items. However, they still have a very good selection of their generic items which are what I generally buy anyway and they are willing to order things for you if they don't have what you really want (of course that doesn't really work for impulse shopping which is about half of what I get during any trip to the grocery store ). If we are doing a very large shopping trip and we are worried that they might not have something, we go to the bigger store right in town.

    We have lucked out that our Kroger generally caters to a higher-end demographic and needs to compete with a local Whole Foods wannabe across the street. We usually avoid that place because we don't care about organics or all that fancy stuff that they carry but we will go in there if we specifically need some off-the-wall item that they might have, have a craving for some over-priced bake goods, are pushing the stroller (it doesn't require crossing a busy street for us to get to) or are too lazy to cook dinner because they have a pretty good prepared foods section.

    The consistently nicest stores that I have seen in Metro Detroit is a chain called Busch's but the closest one to our house is about 8 miles away and a PITA to get to because of traffic.

    There are rumors of a Trader Joe's coming to our neighborhood as well but they are still supposedly working out the details. I go in to Trader Joe's every once in a while and it's fun to pick out some really strange items or a treat for myself but their selection of staple items is just horrible. Their house brand beer is pretty darn good though.

    One thing that I've noticed among all the grocery stores in the 'burbs is that the prices for the same items are pretty consistent across the board. It's the specialty items and the fact that the higher-end store seem to carry more of them that make those stores seem more expensive (at least in my experience).
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    We just had a Trader Joes open in our neighborhood. While I like some of the offerings I've been underwhelmed. I'd be hard pressed to complete ALL of my weekly food shopping at the place.

    I haven't been in a Wegmans in over 30 years but IIRC there wasn't much difference between them and Tops at least in the SYR area back then. Have they taken a different market approach?

  21. #21
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    The Best Supermarkets In The Country, As Ranked By 'Consumer Reports'

    My father-in-law has worked for one of these top companies for over 43 years (from a bagger to now part of the design/construction management for new or expanded stores)...and it's the chain my family uses every week. We average right around $100 per week for a family of 4...whereas the other local stores would cost us 20-50% more.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I love Wegman's, there was one not too far from us where we used to live and I thought it was pretty competitive on price for most things. I liked that it had a great bakery, meat, produce, and bulk/natural food selection at reasonable costs. The typical grocery store chain we shop at is Shoprite as it has the most consistent prices without me having to worry about sales, etc. Stores vary widely in how they are run, I live right next to one now but really don't care for it (it's in the 'hood) so I will drive the extra few miles to go to the clean and well organized one. We also frequent the Twin City Supermarket because my partner is Dominican and this small chain focuses upon the Latino and Caribbean population, they still have on site butchers that cut to order so we get most of our meat there.

    I like Trader Joe's but it's kitschy and I can't do all of my shopping there. Target is great for dry staples, frozen foods, and cold case items. They have the best price on milk, butter, and bread in my area. Since I use their pharmacy I usually pick up those items when I am there but again it's a bit difficult to do a whole shop there. Whole Foods I like, my paycheck does not. I used to frequent Publix when I lived in South Carolina and in Oregon it was generally WinCo that got our business for low prices, selection, and it's employee owned.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  23. #23
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    The Best Supermarkets In The Country, As Ranked By 'Consumer Reports'

    My father-in-law has worked for one of these top companies for over 43 years (from a bagger to now part of the design/construction management for new or expanded stores)...and it's the chain my family uses every week. We average right around $100 per week for a family of 4...whereas the other local stores would cost us 20-50% more.
    I think I know the grocer you're referring to. They have a location in the town next door from me and you really can't beat the deals there.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    For groceries I only go to Meijer once in a great while, and it's usually the one closest to my office and only to the candy/cookie isle to get snacks for my cubicle. A few weeks ago I decided to go into a Meijer closer to home on a Saturday morning for some actual grocery shopping. I needed to go to a hardware store and there was one right near it so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone. While searching through the meat and vegetable departments in order to find some stuff to put on the grill that afternoon, I found what seemed to be the worst selection I had ever seen for a grocery store with so much square footage. The meat counter was worthless unless I wanted ground chuck or some very dirty looking steaks or chops. The pre-packaged meat area wasn't much better with the selection limited to gigantic bags of chicken legs and wings or racks of ribs that were fit to feed a family of 10. The fresh vegetable selection was large but everything looked to be on the verge of spoiling. I decided that maybe I would have better luck with the chips and beer, and other sundries that I wanted to pick up. Nothing was any cheaper than what I would pay at Kroger and the only saving grace was the beer selection was actually pretty good. Besides a six pack, a bag of tortillas, and a tub of guacamole, I left empty handed. In the past I had generally avoided Meijer because it was too large and I get a bit overwhelmed in places like that, but now I have more reasons to avoid it.

    I got home and told my wife and she told me that I have become spoiled with the Kroger that is near our house. It is about half the size of the typical Kroger in the area and has the freshest produce and meat counters that I've experienced at a chain store. They also have a very large and responsive staff who are always very quick to help locate items and will order just about anything for you when asked. I like that they seem to have a very low employee turnover rate and over the 4 years that we have been shopping there have gotten to know many of the folks working there and a few of them know us by name now. It is also the absolute cleanest grocery store I have ever been in, large chain or not. There are a few downsides though: The parking lot for the small strip center it is in is tiny and poorly angled and ALWAYS busy. There are certain days, especially around the holidays when I end up having to park on the street in the neighborhood behind the store (we have learned that if we need to do any shopping near Thanksgiving or Christmas to go before 8:00 a.m. or to walk to the store). The other downside is that due to the smaller size of the store, they do not carry a lot of the middle of the price range products, instead they carry more of the higher-end and/or organic items. However, they still have a very good selection of their generic items which are what I generally buy anyway and they are willing to order things for you if they don't have what you really want (of course that doesn't really work for impulse shopping which is about half of what I get during any trip to the grocery store ). If we are doing a very large shopping trip and we are worried that they might not have something, we go to the bigger store right in town.
    To be fair, we have encountered many Meijer stores that are bad. Wherever we've lived, we usually find a Meijer store that seems to be better than the other nearby ones and stick with that store. Another thing that keeps us going back is the whole one-stop shopping concept. When we go grocery shopping, we tend to also buy a few basic household items as well as health and beauty care stuff. So I think there's a certain level of convenience we like.

    I also like the fact that although it's a big box, it's a Michiagn based company. Plus my wife's place of work is affiliated with Meijer.

    There is a newer Kroger by our new house. Perhaps I'll check it out!
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  25. #25
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    My Mom shops at Winn-Dixie.

    I haven't seen a Piggly Wiggly in years. When I rode the New Orleans streetcar as a child, there was one on St. Charles Avenue with a neon "Porky Pig" sort of mascot. We usually shopped at a small grocery near our house. I remember the butcher had part of a finger missing.

    We have a Safeway about a block from our house, so we go there often. Otherwise it is Walmart or Van's (a small regional grocery with good meat and prices).
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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