Confession: I love my town.
I never thought I would say that, when as a bride I moved from fast-paced, up-to-date central Ohio to backwater Meadville. But I say it now, and every time I return from an absence I say it again. I love my town. I’m so happy I live here.
Now that I’m not shopping at Wal-Mart, here are some of the local spots I’m finding joy and good prices.
- Jack’s Pharmacy, 285 Chestnut Street
I try not to state my opinions as facts, but Jack’s is simply the best pharmacy in town. They’re charming. They’re personal. They’re low-priced. I’ve been shopping this store for at least five years; they’ve been in business for 25. When I walk in from the street, I am greeted with the tinkle of a doorbell, caring questions, jokes sometimes, a warm smile always.
2. Aldi, 16500 Conneaut Lake Rd
This is where I do the bulk of my grocery shopping. As far as I can tell, I approve of the way they keep their prices low: efficiency and simplicity. (More fascinating notes on that at aldi.com.) Of course they have plenty of highly processed foods loaded with sugar and fat. Every grocery does. You don’t have to buy them. I like their staples, their produce, and their meats. I’ve noticed that the taste and quality of Aldi’s brand is nearly always superior to other generic brands, but name brands I am picky about (Ritz crackers, good yogurt) I buy elsewhere.
3. Valesky’s, 1044 Water Street
For the rest of my grocery shopping, I come here. Locally owned by a Christian couple, Valesky’s just celebrated its 40th anniversary. I like their produce section and hometown atmosphere. There is usually Christian music playing, and you never have to contend with trashy magazines in the checkout lane. My kids love the car carts. I love the friendly workers and cashiers, especially my friend Renee.
4. Family Dollar, 18971 Park Avenue Plaza
This one I am more ambivalent about. Family Dollar is new to Meadville, and I don’t feel like I know much about it. So far I like the store because it is clean, bright, and better organized than many dollar stores. Also more economical than Wal-Mart. Touché. Here I buy the miscellanea on my list: organizer bins, a hairbrush, bath soap, a new bundle of socks, diapers for Kelly.
What are your favorite local stores? How do you choose where you shop?