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!