Old Store, New Store: Learning the Ropes at a New Supermarket

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Six weeks ago I visited my grocery store — yes, my grocery store — for my weekly shopping excursion. You know what I mean by ‘my’ store: the supermarket I shop regularly and loyally and, in this case, for 16 years (800+ visits). The store I know like the back of my hand and where I know the checkers and stockers because, after all these years, we are ‘store friends.’ This trip to my grocery store, however, was different because there were huge yellow signs with black lettering in the windows which read, “This store closing August 30.” What? I was flabbergasted. Stunned, actually. My store was closing!

This situation represented an enormous change in my shopping habits. My store was the place where I knew how to make wise purchases every week. Now that I needed to find a new grocery store, how would I parlay all that experience into frugal shopping at a different store? Adding to the difficulty, my store was less than a quarter mile from home, providing convenience which was as big a draw as the store itself. The goal then, was to find another nearby grocery store that I could grow to depend upon like I did upon my store.

There is another grocery store less than a mile from home which I’d never shopped. It opened a year ago but it never crossed my mind to check out the “new guy.” The fact remained, however, that I needed to find a new place to buy groceries, so I decided to scope it out.

Rather than walk in and start shopping cold, I did some preparation for this new retail experience:

  • Store ad: I checked out the store’s ad which arrives in our mail weekly. Although it’s a less comprehensive advertisement than my store’s, they offer a “$10 off when you spend $75” coupon right in their weekly newspaper ad. Score!
  • Ask around: I inquired among friends and family, both in person and on Facebook, as to where they shopped and what they thought of the new store. I received useful feedback about pricing and the overall feel of the store.
  • Website: I visited their website to learn more. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that their parent store is a chain I regularly shopped in another state. I also discovered that they were indeed a full-service store which included a deli, butcher shop and pharmacy.
  • Loyalty card: Unlike my old store, the new store does not offer a loyalty card which provides discounted pricing and to which you can load coupons. They do, however, offer a gasoline discount card based on your purchases.
  • Coupon redemption policies: I’m an avid couponer so I asked at the courtesy desk about their coupon policies to learn about any differences from those of old store, such as limits or restrictions.

That information helped me shop new store for the first time with greater confidence. Upon shopping there, I discovered a couple more things:

  1. The layout of the new store is completely different from the old store, so I need to organize my shopping list to fit new store’s layout.
  2. Their produce and meat departments are massive compared to theold store! The produce is more ‘natural’ and less bagged and their meat selection and pricing is great! Those factors have helped me become considerably more loyal much sooner than I expected.

Yes, it is challenging to change stores, especially when it’s not your choice to do so. With a little planning and preparation, however, you can make a smooth transition and maybe even discover some serendipitous benefits.

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