Going for groceries

With apologies to J. Alfred Prufrock, who measured out his life with coffee spoons, sometimes it seems as though I’ve measured out mine in grocery-shopping, and now it’s all about to change yet again. This time, two remaining in-town Albertsons stores are closing, by March 11, with some discounts to begin as early as this weekend. The one on Pleasant Valley has served as our big convenience store for a long time: broad selection and no crowds. (Our little convenience store is the Farm to Market on South Congress.) H-E-B will expand its Riverside / Pleasant Valley store, which has been too small right from the day it opened.

A store where you really shop is one where you know what every shelf in every aisle contains (unless, like the super-busy H-E-B at Congress and Oltorf, it changes frequently in an attempt to squeeze in just one one more item where space is truly at a premium). It takes a well-rested, fit, and strong person to brave that store. It once was fairly cozy, with old-fashioned cash-registers and checkout clerks who had memorized the price of everything, it seemed. It was just one store of many in that center, but it grew and grew and grew and now it’s the only business there.

Other stores known item by item have been the Kash-Karry that turned into a Schlotsky’s, the Safeway that became a State supply depot, the Safeway on Riverside that became a bingo hall, the Town Lake MiniMax that is no more, the Handy Andy, the Rylander’s that’s now Randall’s on Exposition, the City Market / FiestaMart that’s now the Alamo South, and the south ACC FiestaMart.

Known very well in addition to those previously named are the surviving FiestaMart, the Crestview MiniMax IGA, and the Kash-Karry FreshPlus on West Lynn. With a memory recording what store stocks what items and where they are to be found, along with when best to avoid the crowds, a person saves all kinds of time and money and keeps a happy disposition. I’ve been improving my knowledge of Central Market since I discovered Jaime’s hot green salsa there; now that I’ve found Margarita’s flour tortillas, I’ve an incentive to learn more about the new Whole Foods. Thanks to those traditional cookies, Mandola’s merits more frequent visits as well. I miss the stores that are gone, but I’m glad that such a variety remains.

3 Comments so far

  1. ttrentham (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 11:18 am

    The only redeeming quality of the Pleasant Valley Albertson’s is its emptiness. I still brave the Oltorf HEB when I don’t want to spend a fortune at Central Market. I’m not a big fan of the Pleasant Valley HEB. It’s always a bit of a mess. Perhaps the move will change my mind. I’ve never been a very big fan of Whole Foods.

    Farm To Market is a quick alternative. I can run in and grab a Stone IPA and frozen pasta (the butternut squash, the wild mushroom and the gorgonzola are good…avoid the artichoke) when I don’t have a lot of time for dinner.

  2. mss (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

    I popped into Farm to Market a couple of times but much prefer P&K Grocery just a few blocks west on West Mary. It really has become our neighborhood convenience store. I pop over there whenever I don’t feel like driving across Town Lake and losing myself in the bowls of Whole Food’s underground parking garage. They make great hot sandwiches, too.

    Unlike TTrentham, I was an avid Whole Food’s shopper from the time they opened the first store in the building now occupied by Cheapo CDs. Before that, our healthy food fix was satisfied by Good Foods on 5th or Saferway (8th and Rio Grande?). When Whole Foods opened they had meat and alcohol…so I found them a bit more attuned to my lifestyle ideal. It took Central Market a long time to lure me away.

    Am I the only one who still calls Randall’s, “Rylanders”?

  3. Rantor (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

    *I* still call the former Rylander’s on Exposition “Rylander’s” and I know plenty of others who do. I forgot to mention Wheatsville, another “convenience store,” in that it’s one for a quick-in, quick-out expedition. The Whip-In shouldn’t be overlooked; there are often surprises to be found and it makes for a great walk for various items. The PV Albertsons has usually had an excellent produce section (the managers have always liked small zucchini, not ones as large as they can be grown, for instance); also, when H-E-B is sold out of Falfurrias butter, Albie’s usually has it. Are we the only ones who remember the Woody Hills Co-op? My most-missed store will probably forever be the Kash-Karry that’s now Schlotzky-ville.

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