9.04.2006

Bring out your dead!


Well – it’s over. Our local grocer, Jubilee Foods, closed it doors today. I was kinda sad to see them go. I’ve been shopping there for twelve years now.

I didn’t do the majority of my shopping there, but they were my go-to place for odd items like microbrew quarts of beer or if I needed a loaf of French bread and a gallon of milk for dinner. On the other hand, there are a large number of older folks who lived within walking distance of the store who shopped there every week like clockwork. For me, it’s like a distant relation passing. I imagine for some of the regular shoppers, it’s like loosing a member of the immediate family.

That said – I have to admit I hovered over their dying corpse like a vulture, picking up deals as they put all their items on clearance. I picked up a lot of items that I would never have purchased at full price, like organic canned tomatoes, but when marked 70% off the original price, who can resist? Not I! And not my fellow vultures who lurked beside me the last two weeks.

Like so many other businesses in the country, Jubilee struggled because we vote with our wallets. The little shops have to compete every day with the big guy down the street – and we as consumers are always looking for the best deal. Would I buy my meat from Jubilee? No. They did not have a butcher onsite. I literally drive 30 minutes one way once every three months just to get good custom cut meat at a reasonable price. What does that mean to Jubilee? Another nail in the coffin.

So much of my time as the household chef is spent trying to get the most for the least. The best quality – at the best price. It is one of the reasons why I can’t justify the cost of grocery store organics. Are they really better? Do the benefits really outweigh the higher cost? I believe a lot of people think the same way. If you are on food stamps and limited to $400 a month for a family of four, are you going to spend that extra dollar a pound for organic tomatoes? Right now, organics and other specialty products are the province of those that can afford it. The rest have to squeeze Mr. Lincoln until he cries uncle.

So while I am sorry that Jubilee is gone - I really did enjoy getting those jalapeno stuffed olives at 70% off. Hmmmm...maybe there is a Sam’s Club being badly managed somewhere …Hey! A girl can dream, can’t she?

2 comments:

sher said...

That's too bad that they had to close. I love neighborhood grocers. I have to admit that going to Walmart and Sam's Club gives me the bends!! I'm not accustomed to the sheer overwhelming size of them! This is probably due to the fact that all the grocery stores in my town have size limits to encourage more grocery stores for neighborhoods. But, grocery stores have to figure out a way to compete with the giants. Some do--and others simply can't. The one I go to here in town has learned to be very responsive to their customers and that has allowed them to maintain their customer base.

That was a very good picture, by the way. It really captures the closing iof a store! Hope you bought as many cans of those jalapeno stuffed olives as possible!!! I would have.

Rosie said...

There are a couple independent stores that seem to be surviving by offering things like in store butchers, fresh baked goods and specialty items. On the other hand, those stores don't have as much competition as Jubilee did. There are two Kroger stores and a Giant Eagle within 2 miles, a Meijers and an Aldi's within 5 miles. Stiff competition.

My biggest find was sports peppers. I usually have to get them air lifted in from Chicago, so we can Chi-town dogs during the summer - yum yum!