This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shopping at Save-A-Lot

Today's shopping adventure takes us to one of the three grocery stores in Rensselaer, Save-A-Lot, in College Square. Save-A-Lot is part of a national chain of discount grocers owned by Supervalue. Supervalue owns a number of grocery chains, including Cub, Jewel/Osco, and Albertsons.One of the distinctive features of Save-A-Lot is that the customers bag their own groceries. So after the checkout, you take you groceries to the area next to the windows and put them in the bags that are provided. If they were really serious about having the customers bag their own groceries, they could be like Aldis (none in Rensselaer), which make the customer provide the bags.Save-A-Lot is a decent sized store that has a respectable produce section, comparable with R&Ms but not as big as that at County Market. In fact, County Market is bigger in just about every way, offering more selection in all departments.
Save-A-Lot does not compete on selection. They offer fewer items but often at a lower price. They usually only carry one brand of each item. I suppose it does not matter much with sugar. Sugar is sugar.I know that their yogurt is cheaper than that in the other two stores. And they finally corrected the prices after I complained that the tags said 49 cents but the containers rang up for 50.
I thought I would have something to say about their aisle-long freezer, but I do not.
When I drop by the store, they rarely are restocking. I went at a different time to take some of these pictures, saw them restocking, and thought it would make a nice picture.
They stock and sell a lot of pop. Have you ever noticed that Rensselaer is much more a Pepsi town than a Coke town? Does anyone know why that is?
The store has an aisle of non-food items, such as school supply and even some clothing. Isn't it rather strange how so many stores have little bits of things that are not really what they are about. The grocery store has some shoes and clothing. The drug stores have some food items. It seems that half the stores in town carry soft drinks. Walmart, of course, has everything. Why so much overlap? Why buy slippers in a grocery store?
When College Square opened (which was before I arrived in Rensselaer), the original occupant of this space was A&P, which had moved from a location in the downtown. A&P still exists, but in the late 1970s they abandoned Indiana. I remember the late Ginny Marzke was a checker. After the A&P store closed, she worked switchboard at SJC and took classes, and moved up to be director of placement (or whatever the title was at the time). Then she moved to Indianapolis and worked for 14 years at IUPUI, which named a scholarship after her. She died in 2000.

I am not sure how many other grocery stores followed in this space. I do remember a really happy year or two when one of the grocery stores would drastically mark down old bakery items, and I probably shortened my life about a year by buying a lot of cakes, cookies, and other things full of fat and sugar. I was sad when they realized that they were marking things down too much and stopped subsidizing my bad diet. Eventually, the building was a flea market, and I found a picture of it, taken in February of 2003, after the flea market had closed.
After the flea market, the store was completely refurbished inside. The picture below was taken in January, 2004.
And below is a picture, from February, 2004, before it reopened as Save-A-Lot.
If you remember the names of the stores that occupied this space after A&P and before the flea market, leave a comment.


flatbow said...

I can't remember the name of the grocery store that was there and it's really bothering me. It started with a 'W'. All I remember was that is was the largest grocery store in town until the new Pick 'n Save opened. The two co-existed for a while but I think Pick 'n Save bought this one out (?)

As for Rensselaer being a Pepsi town, sounds like a good foundation for a conspiracy theory plot!

Dessert Survivor said...

flatbow: Are you thinking Wallmans?

Anonymous said...

Are you thinking wilco?

reMark said...

Wilco. Owned by Glenn Gintert. He had three or four small grocery stores- one in Cedar Lake, Lowell, and maybe Lake Village. I worked there in high school. Once Pick and Save went under, Wilco moved to the current Pick 'n Save location and eventually became Wilco Pick 'n Save.

reMark said...

Pepsi is prevalent because they are provide kickbacks that Coca-Cola cannot match. The Rensselaer Schools received approximately $8000 to sign an exclusivity contract about 3 years ago.

Undecided said...

Fabulous blog! I'm guessing it is reMark who posted a link as his facebook status to alert the world to this great running commentary on Rensselaer. Thanks for the tip, reMark!

P.S. To author: It's also good to now know why earth you've been taking pictures while running around Rensselaer. I guess I could have asked, but it was amusing to think you were moonlighting for the CIA or something. :)