Even though we live in a rural area, we are not immune to Walmart. Walmart has pretty much taken over this country’s landscape by being everywhere. I remember the time when it wasn’t anywhere in Pennsylvania (and only seen in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) and now there is a store as close as ten minutes from my home. When my husband and I were dating, Walmart built the first store close to us and we would go there occasionally. When we married, we’d go about once a month to buy all the things we needed that we couldn’t buy at the local grocery stores and it didn’t bother us to only visit it once a month (probably saved us a lot of money that way!). After a big chain store named ‘Ames’ closed the local store which had been around for many years this rural area no longer had a retailer to frequent. We’d now have to drive 35 miles minimum for purchasing items other than groceries. After an ad was placed in the local newspaper asking residents to call Walmart’s corporate office and request a store to be built in our area to replace the now-closed ‘Ames’ retailer, it came to fruition and in 2007 it opened its doors. The prices are good for most things compared to many other retailers and that unfortunately has helped to close many of the local and family-owned businesses. Eventually we began to shop weekly for everything including groceries and it was convenient and saved money for us.
But a lot has changed due to Walmart and their business practices and we dislike going there now (we only go for a few things on occasion). We’ve gone back to patronizing the local PA family-owned grocery store named Weis Markets and we love it.
So many things about shopping at Weis attracts me more than ever before. The local store is close to my husband’s job location which makes it quite convenient for him to shop at in the early afternoons when he is finished working. It saves me a trip on most Saturdays and has saved my precious weekend time to do other things (because I can stand in line at Walmart for 30-45 minutes just to pay for my groceries). When he, or I even, go to Weis there usually isn’t a crowd of people and it is nice and quiet to shop there with relatively short check-out lines. The employees are very personable too (you won’t get much of that at Walmart). Walmart is a nightmare and they only have a few registers open at any given time with very long lines out into the other sections of the store. I’ve even begun buying health and beauty items at my local Weis store. The difference in the higher prices versus Walmart prices is worth it by saving me all the aggravation of going to Walmart (and Weis doubles coupons too!!). And the best thing of all is that the money doesn’t leave the state; Weis Markets is family-owned and here in Pennsylvania. PA also has another rather large chain grocery store called Giant Food Stores and we do go there occasionally. But I’m still drawn back to Weis. Maybe its due to my ever present longing for nostalgia from my youth. When I was young we stayed home and in our local area mostly; shopped at the only local family-owned grocery store (where everyone shopped at) which began in their home! Leaving our area for any type of shopping was very rare in those days. Everyone patronized their neighbors and didn’t think of leaving the valley for anything else. Going to even a Weis store was rare but I do remember visiting them. I also like the Weis near us due to its appearance inside. Someone once told me that she doesn’t care for them much because she thinks they look “old fashioned” (or she used some other term similar in meaning). They are updating many stores and building some new ones to be more energy efficient and to have more variety and larger selections to choose from. I still enjoy our local one; it hasn’t been upgraded recently but that is all good by me.
I still enjoy the local owned businesses too. They support local communities and its people and remind us what truly helped to build our small rural areas in the first place.
Even during the holiday season it seems so much more fun for me to go to the local grocery store. It reminds me of all my excitement as a child of going there and getting all the seasonal goodies and baking items needed. There is nothing too commercialized about a grocery store, it is all about the food, and I enjoy that aspect the most. 🙂 Food brings fond memories, doesn’t it?!
I will continue to shop at my local Weis Markets to help keep it here where it has been for many years.