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It’s all about convenience

by Meghann on July 2, 2012

You know how you can’t go into Target without walking out with 4 or 5 things you didn’t know you needed until you walked in? (In my case that usually involves a new dress, a workout top, and some sort of beauty product. ) Well, Whole Foods is the same way. I run in for one thing and 30 minutes later I leave with two bags full of groceries and a brand new plan for dinner.


Looks good, right?

Dinner was inspired by the guacamole Whole Foods had to sample in the produce section. Just one bite and I was sold (well, not on that particular guacamole but on the idea of having it – I ended up buying a bag of avocados and making my own at home.)


I wasn’t really craving chips or a burrito, but a sandwich with guacamole sounded just right. I bought a whole wheat baguette and lightly toasted it in the oven when I got home.


Once toasted, some pre-roasted eggplant and provolone cheese were added before going back under the broiler. I finished the sandwich with tomato, spinach, and a smear of guacamole.

It hit the spot. 🙂

On the side I steamed some brussels sprouts to round out the meal.


Cocoa roasted almonds for a mid-day snack.


Dark chocolate square for dessert.


I was at Whole Food this afternoon to attend a focus group for the new store their opening in North Tampa (Can. Not. Wait.). The person who led the focus group is interviewing for the marketing and events role in the new store and basically wanted to know what attracted us to the current store and what we’d want to see in the new one. It was a really interesting discussion about why we choose to shop where we do.

For me, it’s convenience. I live by a tiny Publix that I hate. I mean, it’s a Publix so it’s not that bad, but it’s small and I’m regularly complaining about it. However, the tiny Publix is literally right down the street, so – even though it’s tiny and I’m not a fan of that particular location – it’s my go-to store that I regularly shop at. If I know I need something specific that that Publix doesn’t carry, then I’ll venture to a different store.

Whole Foods is a “specialty store” that I only shop at on occasion. I’d love, love, LOVE to shop there more regularly, but A) the current store is way on the other side of town and not convenient in the least and B) it’s a tad on the pricey side. The same can be said for the Greenwise, Rollin Oats, or any other specialty health stores in the area.

What would cause me to shop at Whole Foods more often? A more convenient location (like the new one they’re opening), a juice bar (the current Tampa location doesn’t have one!), and more fun cooking classes (excited about the possibility of attending some at the new location). It should be noted that I do try to find an excuse (any excuse) to stop into Whole Foods when I drive by it and, like I said above, when I do go in, it’s hard to walk out with just one thing. I tend to browse for a good amount of time before walking out with more than I intended to.

Why do you choose to shop at one grocery store over another? And what is it about Whole Foods (or other specialty health food stores) that pull you in?

1 Sana July 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Steamed brussels sprouts are soo good!
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2 Sneakers2sandals July 2, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I used to think whole foods was more expensive but recently I’ve done a lot of price comparison and frankly it’s really not that much more expensive. The thing is…I just like the stuff that’s more expensive everywhere (organic everything)! Plus when I buy organic at publix it always goes bad so fast. When I buy from whole foods it stays fresher sooooo much longer! Jeez I love it there.

Glad you’re getting a closer one! That’s freakin awesome. And a Juice bar would be SO fun!
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3 Jessica July 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I miss Publix so much. We have Schnucks up here and it’s just not the same 🙁
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4 Gabby (Quest for Delicious) July 3, 2012 at 12:00 am

I really like Trader Joe’s. It’s a bit of a drive for me, and I think if it were closer, I’d definitely shop there more often. I really dig the atmosphere there and they have a lot of quality products for a lesser price than many other grocery stores/natural food stores.
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5 Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat July 3, 2012 at 12:03 am

That sandwich looks awesome! I made a similar grilled Portobello with guac. I agree that some things at WF are actually cheaper- like fancy almond butter. But things like wine and yogurt are definitely more. I mostly get produce there since that is worth the extra cost!
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6 Elisabeth July 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

Unfortunately, I don’t have any specialty groceries near me (Ohio). The closest TJ and WF are 2 hours away. Actually, we only have a Kroger in my area. It’s a pretty decent store, but I do wish we had somewhere else to get produce. At least in the summer/early fall we have plenty of farm market stands since I’m in agriculture country 😉

7 Cait's Plate July 3, 2012 at 12:37 am

I’m a Trader Joe’s addict. I love their food selection and you can’t beat their prices!
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8 pluvk July 3, 2012 at 2:20 am

We don’t have a Whole Foods nor a Publix where I live. I tend to shop wherever is cheapest, but it happens to be a store I don’t really like… so I don’t enjoy grocery shopping as much as I do in the inconvenient/more expensive places. 🙁

9 erica July 3, 2012 at 3:07 am

i’d be at trader joe’s all the time if we had one in my state. but sadly we don’t have any:( whole foods draws me in with the hot bar and salad bar!!! i’m such a sucker!
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10 steph July 3, 2012 at 6:13 am

Trader Joe’s <3

I used to only go every few months and get treats since I had to drive an hour into Charlotte to go there. Now, I have one 2 miles away and I do all of my shopping there. I have a TJs, a whole foods, and a Fresh Market all within 5 miles of where I live. Happiness!

11 Jess July 3, 2012 at 6:23 am

There are 2 supermarkets near me. Both are the exact same ‘brand’, but one is smaller than the other, and used to be something else before it was changed to be same as the other one. I shop at the smaller one because, even though it is slightly further away, it isn’t as busy, the staff are friendly and the parking is never a hassle.

12 Amanda July 3, 2012 at 7:11 am

I shop at Kroger because it is like two minutes from my house and I find their prices are a bit better than my other options, it is also less crowded than the other places around me and I feel like their food quality is better as well. No pink slime in their meat is a plus!

I’ve never been to Whole Foods, but I have a feeling it is probably out of our budget to begin with. There is a Trader Joe’s in our area but with traffic it is probably about 45 minutes away, even though its in the same town gotta love that! When I lived a little closer we went a couple of times and I really loved it and it wasn’t priced too bad for a “health food” type store. But is just isn’t convenient to drive over there so we don’t.
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13 Cait @ Beyond Bananas July 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

We totally do the convenience – as in how close it is to us. I love Trader Joe’s..but it is the town over. We have two main chains in town, and the one with better prices is on the other side of town. BUT – we go to the other one that is less than a mile from our house.. just because it is less than a mile away.
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14 Lisa July 3, 2012 at 7:31 am

I’m not going to pretend if my budget was unlimited that I wouldn’t shop at Whole Foods…multiple times a week because I would. I absolutely love the store! But because I can’t spend the big bucks each week, I make due with a rotation of Trader Joe’s, Aldi (owns Trader Joe’s), Super Target and my local grocery store. So for me it really is all about the money. 😉

Also, it is summer so I shop weekly at the farmer’s market for the majority of my fruits and produce.

15 Tracy July 3, 2012 at 7:35 am

Living in the city I have Trader Joes and I wouldn’t trade it for any other store. When home in NJ we have Wegmans and my sister works there so she usually stocks the house well after work.

16 Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes July 3, 2012 at 7:46 am

I am the same way when it comes to shopping at Target and Whole Foods–walk in only needing one item, but walk out will a full cart!
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17 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 7:59 am

I’m with you – convenience rules! I mostly shop at Meijer because it is right down the street. I love Trader Joe’s but it is a drive.

Are you interviewing for the position?

18 Emily N July 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

Cooking classes would definitely get me in there. Along with vitamix demos. Ask my hubs how that one turned out! *winks*
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19 Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

When we lived in Ohio, Walmart was my only grocery store option. And I used to complain about it all the time and say how much I missed Publix. Now I live close to a Kroger, Publix, and Walmart. And guess what? I’m buying most of our stuff at Walmart because it is SO much cheaper. Like, SO much cheaper. But I go to Whole Foods or Fresh Market when I want organic veggies and for a lot of my meats. Or I’ll get meats at Publix. I’m a little iffy about buying meat at Walmart.
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20 Kim @ Living, Laughing & Losing July 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

That sandwich looks so good and the cocoa roast almonds are so addicting! I’ve never seen the 100 calorie packs… I’ll have to look for them. Did you get them at Publix?
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21 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats July 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a whole foods with a juice bar! Maybe that’s more popular in warm weather places. I shop at Trader Joe’s for most everything because it’s inexpensive and it’s a half mile walk from my apartment. Then I go to Whole Foods for specialty items, and because it’s fun! Haha
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22 Krissy @ Shiawase Life July 3, 2012 at 9:07 am

That bread looks so good.
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23 Dani July 3, 2012 at 9:45 am

I too shop at the store across the street although its a bit pricey–can’t beat the convenience. Its a local independent grocery store but they carry lots of local and specialty products which I like to try. Since moving to Brooklyn I’ve been trying to give my money to the local vendors rather than big box chains–so I shop at the butcher, the fish store, the farmer’s market, bakery, etc. A Whole Foods is planned for my neighborhood in the near future but lots of people are angry about it and how it will affect shopping in the community. Honestly, I can’t wait til I have a house with a garden where I can grow my own veggies and just supplement with extras from the store!

24 Allison @ Running Through Red Lights July 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

My husband and I shop at our current grocery store because the selection of produce is better and usually more fresh than the other stores in town.

I wish I didn’t live in the armpit of the Midwest–we have no Trader Joe’s and no Whole Foods. 🙁 My goal is to someday shop and one or both!
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25 Erin July 3, 2012 at 10:40 am

We just moved and had to change grocery store chains. The two big ones in the Chicago area are Dominick’s and Jewel. They each have their pluses and minuses and because the Chicago area is so culturally diverse they each carry slightly different things depending on what area of the city you’re in. Lately I’ve discovered the Dominick’s near our new apartment are missing a lot of the things I used to buy at Jewel on a regular basis. Guess I’ll be figuring out where the nearest Jewel is!
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26 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City July 3, 2012 at 10:49 am

I try to do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s and then go to Whole Foods when I need a product that TJs doesn’t carry. I used to shop at the Chicago grocery stores (Jewel, Dominicks) but I don’t like the ones near me and after Trader Joes opened I made the switch!
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27 Kelly July 3, 2012 at 11:21 am

We shop a lot at Costco, Trader Joes and Whole Foods. WF is an hour from me so we go about once a month but it’s the only place that has a lot of organic produce. TJ is starting to really limit their selection so I guess a more frequent WF trip is going to become a necessity. Luckily by the Fall I’ll have one much closer and will be there every week. I don’t complain about how much it costs because it’s a choice. I choose to eat organic produce so I choose to spend the money. My husband still goes to a conventional grocery store to get his supplies like lunch meat and bread though.

28 Laura @ sweatingforit July 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

Rouses’ is within walking distance from our house so we always shop there, and frankly, living in New Orleans we feel very lucky to have a full sized grocery store so close to us. The Whole Foods is all the way uptown from where we stay, so it is not at all convenient. I never shop there for that reason. I do know people who drive across town to go to it, but I’d rather see a better farmer’s market in our area.
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29 Lena @Fit on the Rocks July 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I adore the cooking classes at WF! Free food plus a free gift card afterwards? You don’t have to ask me twice.
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30 Joy July 4, 2012 at 2:19 am

I shop at market basket for their scratch and dent produce for smoothies (I literally walk there – 2 miles, toss it in my backpack and walk home and freeze it do buying “dying” fruit works) and for milk and cereal for Jim other than that I shop at whole foods. I choose it because they don’t think im weird for wanting to use my own bag and they’re veg friendly
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