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Mom's Q&A: Where Do I Shop Locally for Groceries?

A local Richfield mom gives her opinions on local grocers and home good stores.

Grocery shopping can be painful: Rising prices, horrendous parking lots, bad service and the list goes on. So what can you expect from grocers and home goods retailers in Richfield and the surrounding areas? Well, that's a matter of opinion. Local mom, Elizabeth Royster, gives her take on local shopping options.

The question of where do I go for groceries that fits the bill for value, convenience and quality as a Richfield mom comes up weekly for me. I would love to have an answer in the form of a place that fulfills every need, which is probably impossible now tha I think of it.  I have yet to make a decision about which is my favorite, but being a creature of habit I do have some haunts in this pursuit. I am on the fence about each one as they have their pros and cons.

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This store’s location is good for me, it is close but the roundabout is a turn off factor as well as the parking lot. I don’t know how they could have improved the parking lot. Can you make a parking lot safe if the people driving in it are bent on driving twice the posted limit?

Target’s pricing is the draw. Its buying power drives low prices, which gets me through the door. However, I find the par levels exasperating. How can you allow your shelves to run out of apple juice and sandwich buns? 

The limited choices are also a negative for me. My husband feels it is due to the smaller size of the grocery area in comparison to the store. I think it has more to do with contracts as Target had far more choices just a short while ago. Now I see a swath of one product brand that is only two or three boxes deep that takes up shelf room to make the isles look full. This may be a more of the “just in time” phenomenon sweeping businesses, but if you run out of product and leave your customers empty handed it’s too late.

Take away? Good prices, good location, but lack of variety.

Sam’s Club: 200 American Blvd. W. Bloomington, MN 55420

Sam’s Club is a question mark for me in that there is a yearly fee to shop and their business practices are not known to support their employees. They carry bulk packaging which is more costly at the register but with the idea that you save money on each item overall. I have not found this to be true as a rule, as with every place you spend your money you must know what you are buying and what it is worth.

I like Sam’s Club for its location, quantity of stocked items and overall good quality of product, but its sporadic dropping of stocked items and lack of information for their employees to relay to the customer is very frustrating. But, my family loves the roasted chicken and the chocolate milk.

Take away? Good quality and quantity of products, but uninformed employees.

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I don’t have much to say about this store as I don’t go there. The building is old and dirty. As someone with dust and mold allergies I can’t bring myself to shop in a place that makes me sick to go there, no matter how convenient the location. When I last went to the store—out of desperation due to their late hours of operation—the crazy prices and the depressing nature of this store reminded me why I don’t shop there.

Take away? Open all hours and has a central location, but needs some serious disinfecting.

Walmart: 715 E. 78th St. Bloomington, MN 55420

This location was recently revamped, but—I must confess—I have never been to the new store. I don’t know if it’s because I do shop at Sam’s Club, so that is my one vice versus having two, but I do know that the last time I went there I was followed around the store by a young man that didn’t have enough to do but harass women. Luckily he didn’t follow me to my car.  Being safe is pretty important to me and I usually have my children with me and after that incident I have not gone back. 

My mother-in-law swears by this store, however. She shops there even though she lives in St. Paul, MN. I do know that their prices are good but I have found the quality of the product to be lacking. The sheer size of the store is overwhelming. I tend to wander even in smaller stores so I think that time would also be an issue when shopping at Walmart.

Take away? Good prices, but poor quality.

What are your experiences with local grocers and home goods retailers? Do you have similar problems? What are the most important things to you when you consider where to shop? Is there another grocer to consider? What about Lunds?

Start the discussion in the comments section below.

Caitlin Burgess (Editor) February 22, 2011 at 07:18 PM
I almost always shop for convenience. The closest store gets my business, regardless of parking lots and prices. However, I am generally an exclusive Target shopper in comparison to Walmart and I'm not toting around any kids at this point in my life - so my current habits will without a doubt change at that point.
Rishi Vajpeyi February 23, 2011 at 09:16 PM
The Richfield Super Target gets my business usually all the time. Although if I am feeling adventurous in the kitchen I will venture out to El Jalapeno Market on 66th or the Asian market on Portland and 77th. Both very interesting places and fun to visit. On a tangent, why is it that almost every time I'm in the roundabout by Target or the one on Portland I hear the squealing of tires and honking? Statistically, roundabouts are safer for drivers and pedestrians than traditional intersections and widely used in Europe and Asia? What is it about us that makes us terrified of roundabouts?
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) February 23, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Great point about the roundabouts. I think that, as Elizabeth said in the article. roundabouts are a turn off for most of us. I think it is difficult to get used to for most and since it is "unpoliced" by stoplights so we are unsure when to go, when to slow, which lane to use, etc. I think they are kind of fun to drive - as long as it isn't rush hour. I think as they become the norm we will get used to them and it won't be an issue.

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