This old photo shows two men standing in a grocery store. The back of the photo indicates it’s in Duluth, Minn. and gives the names of the men. Unfortunately, the photo of the back side of this photo is blurry and difficult to read, but it looks like Gust Hjelm is one of the names.
Duluth’s second Whole Foods Co-op store will open March 16 at 4426 Grand Ave., a few hundred feet from Denfeld High School on the site of the former Jefferson Lines bus station.
Those familiar with shopping at the co-op’s Hillside location at 610 E. Fourth St. can expect similar whole, organic, local and regional food offerings at the West Duluth store, plus an expanded deli area with hot and cold grab-and-go foods.
There is an evolution of grocery shopping that occurs during a lifetime, if you didn’t grow up on a farm or hunting shack living off the land. It starts when you’re a kid and your parents drag you along to the Piggly Wiggly, Red Owl or wherever.
They try to ram you into that cold metal seat on the cart, facing the opposite direction of traffic, but it never quite works out. It doesn’t take much kicking and screaming to get mom to let you loose, so you can scamper all over the store and knock things over.
It’s not your fault. You don’t want to be there; you were brought against your will. A tantrum is to be expected.
Also, as long as you are being held hostage on this mission, it only makes sense to grab all the low-hanging snack food and try to use it as a bargaining tool. If mom will simply buy a box of individually wrapped corn syrup wads, you’ll stop tugging on her pants to constantly beg for them. It’s a fair deal.
Eventually, of course, your parents smarten up and lock you in the car. Soon you become old enough to be left home alone, and it’s at that point you enter a long period where you never go to the grocery store. Food is just delivered to you and magically appears in cupboards. This is the halcyon period of your sustenance-acquiring existence.
The Germany-based discount supermarket chain Aldi has posted online ads for store manager trainees in Duluth and Superior, a strong indication the company is planning to open stores in the Twin Ports. The website cdinduluth.com first reported rumors of Aldi’s interest in Duluth back in January. Aldi has over 9,000 stores in over 18 countries. It is known for carrying inexpensive grocery staples and household items, generally with unfamiliar brand names (often contracted by Aldi), and for practices designed to lower grocery costs by lowering store expenses — i.e. quarter-deposits for use of carts, high credit-card processing fees, no free bags and limited store hours.
Is there actually an Asian grocery store (or anything resembling the sort) around the Twin Ports? The selection at Cub, Mount Royal and the two Super One Foods I visited is dismal at best. Perhaps I got too used to having Asian grocery stores within a ten-minute drive while I lived in St. Paul, but I can’t even find Golden Curry in a store around here. Any super-secret store I’m missing?
I shop at the Co-op, Cub, and Super One, depending on what I need and where I am at the time. I’ve noticed that the Plaza Super One has much higher prices and lower quality produce than the other Super One stores. There are also fewer healthy product alternatives and generic alternatives at this location. And each time I go there, at least one of the items I buy does not ring up for the advertised sale price.
The cynical side of me wonders if the owners might be consciously taking advantage of the Plaza’s customer base, which appears to be of a lower income than that of their other stores — many of whom don’t have a car to use to get to another store.
Does anyone else share this perception or experience, or is it just me? Because lately I’ve developed a new, highly cynical theory on the human race: People are not essentially good, but they are not inherently evil either; rather, they are prone to do the wrong thing (or the lazy thing), especially if they think no one is watching or that they won’t get caught.