This is a repost of thread I started a couple days ago which was removed by mistake. It’s long – but please persevere! I really want your thoughts!
Not too long ago, another Sparker posted a blog about what she (or we) would do with a big lottery win. It was a fun little foray into fantasyland. I’ve yet to return fully to reality.
If I ever did get so lucky as to come into some sort of windfall, I’d love to have some food-oriented business. Since we’re all thinking of food here, I thought it might be an interesting topic to poll you to see what your thoughts would be on how you would describe (or build) a “perfect grocery” store? Just a little informal market research =D
Is it location? Prices? What would it carry? anything especially it would NOT carry? Would it have specialty services? if so, what would those be? How would it be arranged? Departments?
Please let your imagination run! (Follows, my ideas; you can skip to the end now if you don’t want to wade through all of that!) Don’t let my responses “lead” you!! I want to know what YOU think! But just for examples…
Location doesn’t matter too much to me, so long as it’s accessible.
I would expect the prices in the dry-goods section to be comparable to any other local grocery.
So far as stock… I’d like it to carry local fresh foods: veggies, fruits, nuts from independent growers. Truly pastured meats and dairy. It would NOT carry all the commercially prepackaged, boxed foods! Nor all the sugary and chemical-laden snack foods Ditto the frozen meals. Frozen meals made in-house would be offered in place of those questionable commercial frankenfoods I’d like a good pet department, with foods offered (with appropriate labeling, if such things are prohibited for human use) – like raw milk and other dairy, and complete and natural homemade diets
Departments! Oh! A REAL butcher. I don’t mind prepackaged meats – they’re convenient. But I long for a grocery which can custom-cut meats to my preference. Not just beef! I’m constantly told it’s “illegal” to cut any meats other than beef … and I know that’s just because they’d have to properly clean the cutting equipment between the different types, and they don’t want to be bothered. I’d love to SEE those primal cuts hanging in a glassed-in refrigerated room in that butchery! And a real butcher to cut them, who knows the standards, and the attributes of each cut, and can recommend cooking styles for those who are unfamiliar with certain cuts, or even with cooking in general (I’ve seen plenty of confusion on that subject here on SP from people just beginning to try their hand in their own kitchens!)
…which goes along with a good in-house deli. Again, I don’t mind (too much) the commercially available deli products. But I used to shop in a store which roasted its own meats, and obtained cheeses locally (if possible) from artisan cheesemakers. It was wonderful! I like a good hot section where you can get rotisserie chickens – and not just “a” variety: I remember a store which carried at least 5 or 6 flavors, every day. Delectable things. I’d love to see some *good*, healthy hot meal offerings in those delis, too. Not just the dried out fried chicken or stew out of a can, both of which are usually “tired” from too many minutes (or hours) under the heat lamps. Many delis these days offer a salad bar, or antipasto bar. Another great lunch offering! And a great take-away if it’s sold by weight.
You can hardly have a nice deli without an exceptional bakery! But please – exhaust those marvelous aromas so we don’t go crazy for breads at our first step in the door! LOL Some alternate breads, too: so many people are sensitive to wheat – make some breads with alternate flours. I happen to be on a restricted-carb diet, and one of the only “breads” I can eat is “Oopsie rolls.” These aren’t incredibly difficult, but it would sure be nice to be able to buy a few pre-made… or to get a lunch sandwich made in aforementioned deli with them!
I wish the pharmacy section would carry some natural/organic items. Natural soaps, for those with skin sensitivities. And a reasonable selection of OTC vitamins, minerals, and supplements – with a handy little informational book describing their uses. Something like the product booklets you see in auto parts’ stores!
I’m not a drinker, but I do use wines in cooking. Since I’m such a novice, I’d love to have a liquor section with some descriptions. Perhaps someone installed there who can direct me to a product… or a small cooler where samples are given – especially for a particular product which might be on sale. And wine and cheese just go together! I love cheese, but again, there are plenty of unfamiliar cheeses that I’d like to love! I just don’t want to spend the money for a whole portion if I’m not going to like it. Give samples! Maybe one of the artisan cheesemakers whose products we carry would do that.
Oh boy. Services. I was a member of a shopping club (since defunct) in which you could call or place your order via the internet, and they’d pull that order and have it waiting for your pickup. Of course, there was a fee for it, and you had to have some form of payment on file for them to charge – even though the transaction wasn’t completed until you came to get your order. But it was great for me, because I worked nights at the time and just didn’t feel very good about shopping at 3 am! It would also be a nice service for people who can’t get around a grocery very well (I’m now in that group, too!) Or how about people who simply can’t spare an hour from their hectic schedule to spend in a grocery, no matter how nice it is? So, maybe you have to call ahead: a day, a few hours… whatever. From a business standpoint, it would keep your employees working, too. No idling around because they managed to rush through their stocking, or whatever. For members with special needs, this might be extended to home delivery, within a limited range. Again, think of disabled people, or those with a houseful of children who they’d rather not pack up and haul to the store. Or simply *can’t* haul to the store. Independent local businesses (even home businesses), maybe shopping for “lunchables” to keep in the office.
Another thing which we seem already to be moving toward is nutrition labeling. I would be overjoyed to have each item labeled – on the shelf, right with the price sticker. Not only for the dry goods, but for every item sold. Deli foods. Produce. Meats. Put the information on the store website so customers can look and download a copy. Let us be informed!
And when the staff cleans up the produce department (multiple times daily, so it always is looking fresh), don’t just throw the pickings out. Save them to deliver back to our local growers to feed to their animals or put in their compost. Sustainability.
These are all pipe-dreams, I know. But SOME of them might be workable. Some of them already *are* working, just not every one in any particular store (that I know of). I’m not even addressing the issue of cost-effectiveness. I know that’s the deal-breaker.
Even so, I’d love to know what other great ideas or wishes might generate from this thread… IF you’ve had the perseverance to last this far! Thanks so much for your input, if so!
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