We were at a friend’s house for dinner last night, and while we were eating some very delicious local fish, freshly caught earlier in the day by our hosts, the subject of our new grocery store came up. We have a brand new store – built to accommodate the needs of our growing community. It is bigger than the store, of the same franchise, that already existed in our town – they just thought it was time for bigger and better. So, a new one was built – a short distance down the road. The “old” one has closed.
Well, it is bigger. I am still deciding whether it is better or not. This sprang to my mind late Thursday afternoon when I told my 18 year old I was going grocery shopping. He made some comment about staying in town (to go to the new store) and I told him that I was actually thinking of driving to the next town over, to the store I have been shopping at more regularly over the last few years. The store in the next town is of the same franchise or family, so it is just the “branch” of the grocery store that I am choosing to shop at, not another family of stores, altogether. He thought I was nuts, for driving ten miles when I could drive 2.5 and be at the store. To fully disclose what I did, I ended up going to the new store, only a couple of miles away. It was my 3rd or 4th shopping trip there.
But, here are some of my observations and why I still might return to driving the ten miles into the store in the next town. 1) Our store is brand new. I find it dark. I like light, natural light, if available. 2) The isles are confusing. We like white rice, but white rice is not located with the other rice…..I have had to search for the rice each time I have been at the store. I do not understand the logic behind these products not being all together. 3) The eggs are in the very back corner. Okay, I know the economic, or marketing, or business reasons for putting things at the back of the store, but this location of the eggs seems to cause some bottlenecks. 4) I have been unable to find certain brands and versions of products that I regularly bought at the old store. No Red Rose Tea. No gourmet onion rings by Ore Ida. No more nice sub rolls found near the deli. My new favorite white wine is missing, too! And, to top it all off – after a month of shopping there, I still cannot seem to find my way around well enough to get all the products on my list in one very logical and organized loop around the store.
I like this grocery store chain. The stores are clean, the employees are nice, they hire a lot of local youth, and they aim to please. They want you as their customer. Their “sister” store in the next town has these same qualities. I guess my problem is that I was really looking forward to this new store and unfortunately, I feel somewhat disappointed by it when I visit. I thought they were going to have a “dining deck” around the top level of the store, much like my beloved Wegmans Food Markets in Western New York. There is no dining deck, just a couple of booths back by the deli. Oh, how I miss Wegmans! I guess you can take the girl out Wegmans, but not the Wegmans out of the girl! This local chain visited Wegmans a couple of years ago, as the desire to expand had been brewing for a while, as more of these local grocery store chains were being built all over Wisconsin. But, even this brand new store, freshly built and open less than a month, bears no resemblance to Wegmans.
I am not trying to bash a new store. I am sure the employees are still trying to figure things out, too. And, I do not need someone to repost, share, or run to the store with my blog, as some community member did with a post I wrote about a concern I had with our schools last month. Thank you, but no. That would be totally unnecessary as it was previously. This family of grocery stores really does aim to please, so I plan take my short list of what I would like and cannot find to the store manager in the near future. I am sure it will be received well. They want our patronage. I want to support our local store. I am just not totally there yet. As the saying goes, change is hard.