When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be a contestant on “Supermarket Sweep,” a game show that culminated with people running through a supermarket at top speed.
It wasn’t a good show, but it was fun, and it combined two of my favorite things, game shows and supermarkets. I’ve loved supermarkets since I was a toddler. I actually have memories of playing supermarket at preschool, and getting annoyed with other kids who organized the shelves wrong. (Ice cream doesn’t go next to canned vegetables!) I would pretend to be a cashier in my own kitchen, and bag up items my mom and I just brought home from the store before putting them away in the cupboards.
My love of supermarkets continues to this day. I had my favorite stores to shop in Los Angeles, and now that I’m living in Michigan, I’ve been able to reacquaint myself with the local stores around me now, and that’s been great fun. I do a lot of the grocery shopping for my parents and me – not all of it, but a lot of it. And I already have my favorite places.
I do a lot of shopping at Kroger. There are two locations that are about equidistant from the house in opposite directions, and one is great, and the other kinda sticks. The stinky one’s produce section is subpar, has a poorly designed parking lot, and has narrow aisles. The great location has none of those issues – the produce section is bigger and tends to be better stocked, the parking lot is great, and the aisles are wider and easier to navigate.
Another great thing about Kroger is that Kroger owns Ralph’s, one of the chains I shopped in Los Angeles, so I’m familiar with their store brands and products, because they’re the same. Plus, I didn’t have to sign up for a new club card.
My favorite supermarket, though, is called Nino Salvaggio. It’s a small, family-owned chain of four stores in metro Detroit, and there’s one in the same shopping center as my gym, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. They have great produce, a beautiful meat and seafood counter, lots of prepared foods and grab-and-go options (which I haven’t really shopped much, to be honest). The produce prices can be pretty good, but other areas of the store can be a little more expensive. That’s ok, though, because I go there for the produce.
Oh, here’s a fun fact! My very first job, when I was fourteen years old, was at Nino Salvaggio. It was at a location that they’ve since closed, but I bagged groceries, brought back carts from the parking lot (which the managers called “buggies,” which I thought was weird), swept and mopped, and sometimes made fresh-squeezed orange juice. There were two assistant managers that I reported to, and one was great, and one was an arrogant jerk with a feathered mullet.
The shopping center that has Nino Salvaggio and my gym also has a Trader Joe’s, so that’s an option for me, too. I’ve been in a few times since moving back, and it’s exactly the same as the Trader Joe’s I would frequent in Los Angeles. I like some of their produce items, and you can also find slightly different and unique things there.
California has a year-round growing season, so farmers’ markets were year-round, too. That isn’t the case in Michigan. And while I know of a few area farmers’ markets, I have yet to go check one out. The last time I was at a farmers’ market in Michigan was a couple years ago, when I went to the famous Eastern Market in Detroit. I want to go back, and I gotta make that happen soon.
There’s another metro Detroit area store that I love, Fresh Thyme. It reminds me of Sprouts, my favorite store in Los Angeles, and that’s because they have the exact same look and layout, and tons of amazing produce at great prices. They look so similar that at first I thought they were both owned by the same company, but they are not. However, the CEO at Fresh Thyme used to be an executive at a grocery chain that Sprouts acquired, so he is very clearly versed in their business plan and philosophy. The problem is Fresh Thyme is that there isn’t a location near me. (The one I went to was a few towns over, when I was over there hanging out with a friend.) I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a new location!
Lastly, I’ve been looking at various routes I might take commuting to my new job, and there’s very few grocery options between my home and the office. There’s the stinky Kroger, which I could make do in a pinch if I wanted to pick up some things on my way home. There’s also a Target, which I’ve never really done much grocery shopping at, even though they’ve expanded their grocery section in the past five years. There also a supermarket called Hollywood Market that’s a little out of the way that’s worth investigating. It’s a local chain of five stores with a name that definitely reminds me of my 17 years in Los Angeles. I love checking out grocery stores, and this one is next on my list!
What are your favorite grocery stores, and why?
Before I wrap this up, a quick update: The new job is going great. I’m up to my elbows in learning a new industry, but the training they’re providing is top notch. I’m surrounded by really excellent people, and working in a supportive, very helpful environment, and I enjoy going in every day.
I’m also adjusting quite well to my new routine and, in the past couple weeks, have cemented the new healthy habits I recently blogged about. I continue to bring my lunch every day, and enjoy every part of that process, from packing that lunch the night before, to eating it during my lunch break. I’m also working out every morning, before work, and I can’t tell you how much I love going home at the end of the day and not having a workout looming over my head.
Keep it up, David!
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