For many, the closing of Spencer’s Fresh Market’s Atascadero location is a sad event. It had real music from its speakers — not that nameless dreck imitating real music. The locally sourced produce, meats, great deli and specialty goods were top-quality. With its relatively compact size, it was a neighborhood-style grocery shopping experience, instead of wandering around one of the vast, sterile, corporate-feeling groceries.
I later shopped one of the large-chain grocery stores, to see how it compared. Item after item had little variety — just lots of the same stuff. Gathering the basics required traveling to every corner of the store; led through a marketing maze, I was forced to walk past unwanted sections simply to increase the probability of impulse buying. The produce looked good, but wasn’t clearly sourced, and was consistently bland-tasting.
We were lucky to have the Atascadero Spencer’s for so long, and appreciate its community involvement and high-quality products. Though less convenient, I’ll travel to other Spencer’s locations, and hope it returns to North County soon. Remember to shop our wonderful local stores and smaller chains like Spencer’s, or accept the disconnected shopper’s blues when faced with only the overly-corporate-feeling, large-chain stores.