I just visited the local IGA that I mentioned a few weeks ago. I must say, I was very pleased. Some of you had voiced concerns over cleanliness issues. I am happy to report that the locally owned IGA was just as clean as any Wal.Mart. It also had a great hometown grocery feel, which I enjoyed. The store was small but had everything I would need. I still plan to only go there as a last resort, for things that I absolutely can not find anywhere else (such as most dairy items) b/c I really enjoy the shopping experience that I have had for the last month (avoiding grocery stores altogether), plus I spend so much less by not buying chips, lots of dairy, etc. Shopping at the IGA solves the dilemma of finding a locally owned grocery store but still tempts me with impulse purchases that neither I nor my family needs. I have enough trouble finding will power to avoid the samples the hubby brings home (ok, I pretty much fail completely at resisting those icecream sandwiches!).
And speaking of shopping, I had the most AMAZING shopping experience ever while in Williamsburg. I went to a grocery store that put Publix to shame, called Ukrops. It was truly amazing. I think I went three times. Mom would call me on the cell "Laurel, you HAVE to leave that store now, your baby is hungry. Walk away from the eco-friendly trash bags!!" Not only did it have the most incredible natural foods/eco-friendly section (7th generation, Tom's of Maine, Burt's Bees, Method, etc.), but when you entered the store, there was a stand of reusable shopping bags, with a sign saying that you get a $0.05 credit each time you use your own bags. Love that! They also had many, many items in bulk bins (rice, popcorn seeds, millet, oatmeal, wheat, nuts, etc.). Not only does this allow you to buy as much or as little of an item as you like, but by bringing your own bags, saves on lots of unneccessary packaging. But the best part? It was a LOCALLY OWNED STORE!! Seriously, it was incredible. I would love to open a store like that here, on a smaller scale.
*These images from flickr.com