Sunday, November 18, 2007

Where do you shop?

As an Over the Rhine and greater downtown Cincinnati resident, I get really tired of that question. It happens far too often. From people at work, friends, and family. I honestly do not get it sometimes. I am pretty sure most people in the suburbs get in to their cars and drive to a nearby grocery story. How is that so different?

When I lived in Kenwood . . err Sycamore Township, I lived .8 mile to the nearest grocery store. And 1.6 miles to the nearest Kroger (closer if you could cut through the mall). Never once did I walk to any of them. How could you? I would have bags and bags of groceries to carry home. But no one then ever asked me, "Where do you shop?" So why is it always a question now? Why is it so odd that I would have to drive a few miles if I even wanted to go to a Kroger. And for the record, it is .5 miles to Kroger on Vine in OTR, 1.8 miles to Kroger in Corryville, and 2.0 miles to Kroger in Walnut Hills. Not much different than in any suburb I suspect.

Now, unfortunately, I have never been to the OTR Kroger. Yes, I hate to admit it. If I could only be like Mike . . . But so far I have never gone there. I should walk there . . . But if I am going to drive to get groceries so I don’t have to carry them all the way home, I drive to Corryville or Walnut Hills. True, selection is not always the best. But for the reasons or items I go there for, they work.

All that said, it is really rare that I even have to go to Kroger. A majority of my shopping can be done at Findlay Market. I still drive there as I again couldn’t carry everything home. (Bring on the Streetcar!) But for meats, cheeses, produce, and some specialty food items there is no reason to go anywhere else for the most part. I get a number of things at Avril's on Court Street too. Plus, you cannot beat the service that you get there and there I can also walk. I used to go to Kroger or the Target on Marburg Ave. say to get things like cleaning supplies for clothes and kitchen. Yes, I drove the 7.1 miles to Target. The distance of most of the rest of the tri-state drives to go to a big-box store I imagine. I don't think too many are walking to that particular location. But now I go to Park + Vine to pick up that kind of stuff. It really is like a new General Store. They got a little bit of everything. I expect to see Mr. and Mrs. Olsen behind the counter and not Dan. And I can walk there . . . just like in Walnut Grove. (Yes, "Little House on the Prairie" references.) So that leaves things like beverages and over the counter medicines and toiletries (aspirin, toothpaste, razors, etc.) left to still get. And it is for those items I generally still trek to a nearby Kroger or the Target. However, all of those items too I can, conveniently enough, pick up at a number of downtown drug and convenient stores. Yes, I probably pay more for them but in a pinch they work quite well. Heck, if I am say baking cookies some evening and I run out of butter, eggs, and chocolate chips, I can get all of those at the Walgreens at 6th & Race. And they are open until 10:00 pm. Not quite like those suburban, 24-hour places but good enough.

So next time, please do not give me these horrible looks with head cocked like I am so unfortunate in my shopping situation. I’d rather have that "problem" than say other problems: daily parking fees, commuter headaches, or awful traffic at the Fields Ertle Road exit. I’ll happily get up about the time most of you have to leave for work. And I'll walk home and be on my couch 10 minutes after leaving the office. Will all that extra time, maybe I’ll make a nice dinner . . .


5chw4r7z said...

I get that all the time also. I always say "the same place you do, I get in my car and go shopping"
Once they do have a grocer downtown, I wonder what people will use for the shining example not to live downtown, they are running out of excuses.
If they do put a grocer downtown, I think it will greatly change how I shop. Instead of getting supplies to last a week or so, I would probably make more trips for fewer supplies. An occasional trip to Target for commodities and that would be it.

WestEnder said...

There is no need to drive far for hardware, either. The ACE hardware in Northside (across from Bughouse Video) has everything.

It's not walking distance from downtown, but it's a lot closer than the burbs. And owned by a local merchant to boot.

Mike said...

I wonder too, when (or if) we eventually get a larger Kroger or Trader Joes, if it will hurt some of these smaller retailers, especially Findlay Market. I really don't need that. If some of the corner markets would carry more dairy (we always need milk with kids) and keep some later hours we would be satisfied.

Mike said...

Also westender;
We have a hardware store right by the Courthouse that is newly expanded, and we have Rohs Hardware at 1403 Vine; not to mention Doppes in Queensgate and a few other hardware stores around.

John said...

Dan, good post. I have never understood that argument either.

I have a feeling that a larger grocer downtown wouldn't hurt Findlay market. It could do the opposite. I mean more people = more customers to draw from. And what charm exists at the local Kroger?

Veggie Option said...


Nice post! I hope you don't mind that I have linked to your blog.

Dan said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Veggie - Thanks for the link. I hadn't check out your site before. I'll get it listed on my site tonight.

I do worry about the smaller places if a chain grocery comes in. CityKin I think has posted about Avril's expanding to have more grocery items which is a move I support and would probably continue to support no matter what.

The hardware store discussion was something I hadn't touched on but did think about Downtown as a place where you can get already get a good bottle of wine (City Cellars), nuts & candy (Minges or Murray Brothers), and misc. party supplies like plates, cups, etc. (Cappel's). And heck this holiday season you'll be able to get pointsettas, pine roping, and even a tree at City Roots!