It was a crazy week. But, I finally went grocery shopping on Saturday. This week's best deals came from two of my favorite local stores. It made me remember that I wanted to remind you that not only does shopping at locally-owned establishments directly effect the economy of your city, you can also find some terrific bargains!
Store #1: Mediterranean Mart
If you want good deals, then trek right over to your local, family-owned ethnic market. You'll be amazed at foods that you have never seen before, service that is out of this world, and prices the rival those of grocery stores.
For years, I have been going regularly to see Sieed at his store, Mediterranean Mart. He offers a large variety of hard-to-find Mediterranean food, international brands, and fresh produce. The flatbread is always fresh, with amazing texture and taste. He stocks the shelves with new goodies from the Windy City once a week. Sieed will never sell you something that isn't right for you. He'll ask you how you cook, what you plan to do with ingredients, and if there is a better alternative (even if it's less expensive), he will always sell you the product that best suits your needs. He mentions new items that you might like to try, in a friendly, "neighborly" way. He takes a vested interest in every single customer. You feel like family from the minute you walk in.
For readers who are locals, Mediterranean Mart is located at the corner of Glen and University Streets in Peoria. Do be sure to stop by and check them out!
|My purchase from The Mediterranean Mart|
Here is today's purchase:
2 packages of pita bread
6 pounds of farina
2 pounds red lentils
3 pounds green lentils
My cost: $18.00
Store #2: GFS (Gordon Food Service)
GFS (Gordon Food Service) is a regional, employee-owned grocery store. Like SAMS, they stock a lot of cases, family-size portions, and large quantities of products. But, unlike SAMS, you don't need a membership to shop there. The selection is great and the employees are always super helpful and friendly. A couple of years ago they underwent a major renovation and broadened their inventory, stocking a lot of new and interesting products along with smaller packages of many items.
I've used GFS multiple times for planning large parties. All you have to do is ask at the front desk. A store employee will find out the date of your event, size of your group and your theme. Then they will personally escort you around the store while you select exactly what you'd like to order. Their staff will have your entire order pulled and ready to pick up on the designated day and time. All you do is show up, pay, and load everything in your vehicle. Forget an item? No problem! You can add to your order up to a few days before your event.
You can also special order items that they don't regularly stock on their shelves. About twice a year I order 50 pounds of steel cut oats for about $38.00.
GFS always haa bananas and potatoes at a lower price than anywhere else in town. They were out of their 8 pounds of potatoes for $2.49. But, I hit the jackpot on bananas! Marked down bananas are like manna from heaven! I picked two bunches which really didn't look too overly ripe. We'll eat these up within 48 hours. The others will be frozen for later use in baked goods and smoothies. I peel them before freezing, but you can also just throw them in the freezer with the peel in tact. The peel with discolor and turn brown when you freeze them, but don't worry, the fruit is perfectly fine to use.
Whenever I stop by, I always check out their shelves of marked down merchandise. That's where I spied the soy sauce! That's also where I got the infamous 30 pounds of mixed frozen vegetables. (Here's a link to that story!)
4 bunches of bananas marked down to $.50 a bunch
2 large bottles of sodium reduced soy sauce - $4.00 each.
My cost: $10.30
Time for your feedback.
Do you have any secret shopping treasure troves in your area? Leave comments below and let us know about them.
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