Thursday, September 13, 2007

New old grocery store in town

I stopped by the brand new (just opened today) location of the town grocery store that has been a mainstay of our shopping since way before we moved here. We used to stop there for supplies on a run to the cabin.

Wow. I'm in awe. This is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing, modern grocery store I have ever set foot in, anywhere. Their old store was probably mid 1970's in character; this one is definitely 21st century. Nice, wide aisles, beautiful produce displays...something I would expect from the suburbs, not a little town like this!

But still I felt a little lost. This did not feel like a small town grocery store, I felt like I should be in some suburb with gated communities. I wandered around, saw a few familiar faces, but it was just plain weird being in such a fancy store! The familiar trip to town just got somehow unfamiliar, for now. I somehow miss the narrow aisles, the small parking lot...

This could, however, represent a vote of confidence for the community. A grocer would not think of building something like this unless he/she had some confidence in the stability of the local economy. So what's here? A Federal prison, for one. There's no shortage of Federal prisoners. And a few Twin Cities commuters, and a few loggers, and a few state employees like me. Maybe a regional hospital in the near future. But anyway, we now have a fancy new K12 school, and a fancy new grocery store.

I was strangely pleased to see that they did not have an "organic" section. There's already one store in town, a very good one, that deals in that, and perhaps that was a gesture to allow the smaller organic store to keep their niche. There's room for both. Or maybe the store's management is conservative in regards to the "organic" movement. Oh well, I will continue to stop at my friends' little organic store for some of our needs, like fair trade, organic coffee.

My shopping habits have definitely changed, however. Within this week we bought locally grown chickens and beef, and filled the freezer. We have also harvested three eggs from our long neglected chicken house. I don't shop the inner aisles as much for meals-in-a-box. I don't think I'll be hitting the meat counter much; we have more than we need in the freezer! And the convenience, deli counter meals that they've expanded upon...don't need 'em.

Part of me misses that little old store...but as long as I continue to see the familiar friendly faces in the new store, it's okay. No strip malls in town yet!


barefoot gardener said...

It is sad when things in sleepy little towns change. I know when the local grocery store changed hands a lot of the long-time locals wouldn't go back. Part of it is our local place was one-time famous for their meat dept, and the new owner got stupid and changed butchers and suppliers. That didn't last long, but lots of folks were T'd off royally.

Lynne said...

Change in any forn feels strange but it doesn't take long for the new normal to be familiar.

Larry said...

I do a lot of my shopping at the old stores.-I get lost, and waste too much time in places like S+S.

pablo said...

Is it possible that suburbia is marching its way toward you?

momadness said...

Interesting description about the changes in your town. Even here in KC we've had some old-time stores who have recently upgraded and you really do miss that "back-when" atmosphere. But we still have a few that are hanging in there with their old ways. One, near my home, called Waldo Grain, is just a great "old-time" "barn-type" place to go to get birdseed, pet stuff and related goods. They have been there forever!

RuthieJ said...

I hope your grocery store does well, Deb. A few years ago the little grocery store in the community 4 miles from us, moved out to a fabulous new store on the edge of town. Like yours, beautiful wide aisles and lots more inventory. Then after about 3 years it closed--I heard rumors of financial mismanagement by the owner, but don't know the real story. Anyway, I really miss having a grocery story that close where you can get what you need and also see those familiar faces. Enjoy your new grocery store!

Deb said...

Barefoot gardener- I know the store you're talking about; my grandma used to make a special trip there to get hams and other "special occasion" meats. At least this store is still in the same hands.

Lynne- Actually, The Hermit is more resistant to the change than I am; I know I'll enjoy shopping there, it just takes some getting used to!

Larry- I think the newer stores are designed to get you lost, and entice you to buy more stuff along the way.

Pablo- I think the march of suburbia has come to a halt some forty miles to the south of here. But this grocery store serves a rather large geographical area, plus a lot of city people who have hunting cabins in the woods here.

Momadness- we still have an old timey "general store" about twelve miles north; they sell groceries, deli sandwiches, live bait, hardware, feed, and Carrhart clothing. Can't beat that!

RuthieJ- I think this one will do well, as the alternative is nothing for an average twenty mile radius, more in some directions. And from what I know, they treat their employees really well, and give back to the community. Not to mention, they are the store to beat in the annual "Minnesota's Best Bagger" competition! :)

Still it's hard to picture some of the more colorful local folks shopping in a yuppie store like this! :)

Floridacracker said...

Good to have a stocked freezer!