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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Drive for groceries could become a little shorter

It’s happened a lot over the past six or so years since I’ve been writing this column.

You’ve undoubtedly gotten the idea that I’m a few sheets short of a notebook. Or a few cookies short of a dozen.

In other words, you probably realize my elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top.

So, the realization that I travel from Euclid to distant lands to shop for groceries won’t be much of a surprise.

It’s not because there aren’t grocery stores close by.

No, there are plenty. A wide variety, too.

I just don’t enjoy grocery shopping, so I need to make it into an adventure.

That leads to long drives to distant stores that might have a bigger selection, niche products or interesting restaurants nearby.

Yes, it often becomes a day trip.

Maybe this is why I don’t like grocery shopping? Looking at how it was just described, it’s a daylong project.

But it works.

Among my frequent stops are Giant Eagle in Legacy Village, because of its superb prepared foods selection; Miles Farmers Market in Solon, for its outstanding fruits and vegetables; and Walmarts in Chardon, Madison or Streetsboro, because, well, they have another store hanging off the side of their grocery store.

As you can see, I do some traveling for groceries.

It’s been this way since I moved out on my own. Because it’s not something I enjoy, I feel the need to wrap it in something else that might be fun.

When I worked in Pennsylvania, I’d drive on my day off to a distant movie theater, pick out a flick and then stop for vittles on the way home.

In those times when I needed to just pick up one thing, I felt like a failure heading to the Shop N Save right down Freeport Road.

It was just too ........ close.

These days, we’ll head out for lunch or maybe dinner before doing the shopping. You know what they say, never go for groceries when you’re hungry.

I’ll admit that sometimes means we’re bringing home the goods well after dark, and when I normally would be deciding it’s time for bed. But, because I’m thinking about the other fun I’ve had, it’s not as much of a chore.

It’s very rare that I’m refused an excursion. But, one that hasn’t been repeated is to Meijer in Sandusky.

I fell in love with Meijer when I lived in Battle Creek, Mich., during an internship in 2000.

If you’ve never been, I’d describe it as taking all the “Supers” and putting them on steroids. You’ve probably been to Super Kmart in Mentor. Well, there’s also Super Target (none nearby, though — boooo!).

Meijer is like taking a pretty good grocery store and tacking on something akin to a Kohl’s. The department store goods are of a higher quality than most others of its type.

This area has been teased a few times by Meijer, but they’ve never set up shop around here. For that I remain disappointed.

And because it takes about an hour and a half to get there, I haven’t been able to coax a repeat since we headed out there about three years ago.

The stores I listed above have filled that role nicely, though.

Next week, there’ll be a wrench thrown in my routine when one of the stores I normally drive miles and miles for opens down the street from my office.

On Wednesday, Eastlake’s Super Walmart will open its doors and usher in a full-service grocery store partnered with its department store goods.

It’ll probably take me a while to head there the first time — too many crowds! — but I’m sure it’ll find its way into our rotation.

Heck, with fuel prices reaching the $4 level, it only makes sense. Though they had no idea it would happen that way, a credit to Walmart for making themselves relevant right off the bat.

We’ll be sharing details on the new Walmart in Sunday’s paper, as well as looking back at the other Super Walmarts in the area, and how they’ve fared upon moving into the communities where they’re located — Madison, Chardon and Middlefield.

Here are a couple hints: No garden center, and no auto shop. For the rest, you’ll have to check The News-Herald.

As for me, I need to gas up the car to head out for some groceries. The shelves are a little bit bare at the end of the week.
Twitter: @Lauranh


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