There’s An Aisle For That

Mrs Missouri and I live in a spot that we absolutely love. We are close enough to the city to go there whenever we want, yet far enough from it to have a crime rate that is downright adorable (more on that next week). There are restaurants within walking distance, our neighborhood has a great organization and events now and then, and we’re a few blocks from two highways: you’re on in about five minutes, but we never hear the traffic. Our house is brick and old, but has a good size yard for two people. Also, we have enough grocery stores in a five mile radius to feed the whole city.

Even though you'd only need one 7x7 burger from Steak and Shake (this really is a burger you can order, look it up).

Even though you’d only need one 7×7 burger from Steak and Shake to feed a city (this really is a burger you can order, look it up).

Actually, that’s not even an exaggeration. If we go there, we use the same Aldi as real city people do. But we don’t have to go there if we don’t want to. We can go to Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or at least four different locations of either Schnuck’s and Dierbergs (the local chains). You know how, when you think about it, there always seem to be too many home improvement stores for a relatively small population? I think we might have the same problem with grocery stores over here. I understand when two different chains are five minutes apart, that makes perfect sense*, but why would you build three locations of the same chain within a five minute drive? Is it to make up for the lack of grocery stores in the densely populated city? Our church is just a fifteen minute drive away and last Sunday morning sparked this blog. I’m pretty sure we pass four or five grocery stores before we get there, and if we’d drive in the other direction, we’d encounter the same thing. There are some things you can’t have enough of, but I’d suggest grocery stores do not fall into this category.

Even though you'd only need one 7x7 burger from Steak and Shake (this really is a burger you can order, look it up).

And for those who can’t get enough of burgers, there’s Steak and Shake.

*I had to learn this for my Public Administration degree, and it answered one of life’s biggest questions for me. This phenomenon follows the same reason you’ll see Lowe’s and Home Depot (or Gamma and Praxis) remarkably close to each other; as they both try to catch the middle of a geographical market; they’d rather stick together and battle for the big market’s attention, than be sure to serve the majority of a smaller, peripheral market (a strategy smaller home improvement stores sometimes seem to use, presenting themselves as a ‘local store’). It also explains why Romney and McCain were a good counterweight to Obama (more to the left than other candidates), and a whole lot of other things that I forgot by now.


9 thoughts on “There’s An Aisle For That

  1. I l.o.v.e. grocery stores but once I find a favorite, I stick with it. It is too time consuming going up and down unfamiliar aisle to buy basic grocery items.
    However, I don’t understand the cluster mentality. How do these stores make money? I suppose the answer is in my first paragraph. You pick a fav and stick with it. Hate to be the odd store out. :-D.

      • On your route of errands isn’t a bad thing. It’s good planning gas-wise and hopefully the store isn’t more expensive than another. Would you be saving money is you went out of your way to go to your favorite store. Now, THAT is the question.

  2. The latest example of this sad state of affairs is the battle for drug store supremacy between Walgreens, for a long time the only one (that I was aware of) in town. Now CVS has infiltrated the St. Louis market and new stores are popping up on nearly every corner, often just blocks from the nearest Walgreens. It baffles me.

    I live immediately adjacent to a Schnucks, and within a few miles radius there’s Shop N Save, Dierberg’s, and Aldi’s. I actually wish Trader Joe’s was closer but we still go there from time to time. I think the multitude of choices keeps costs (relatively) lower.

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