by: Adam Hostetter/Sports & Entertainment
When people think of shopping for groceries, most choose Wal-Mart. The cheap food, along with everything else a person could need, in one store is tempting. However, it is not always worth it; consumers can just as easily shop at local stores and find lower prices with shorter commutes if they take the time to look around.
When one goes to a parking lot, they usually look for a space to park their car. They do not look for a giant pig on a pedestal. Such an oddity is found at the Windsor Food Center on 16th street in its namesake town. In a similar fashion, a big metal rooster was the greeter for Mark’s My Store on 15th Street in Mattoon. These stores have niche markets, selling products that may be hard to find elsewhere, in addition to common household stock, produce, and other food goods. The Windsor Food Center has their signature Barnyard Burger, and Mark’s My Store has all sorts of uncommon sodas in glass bottles. Sure, consumers could just get some glass bottled soda at Wal-Mart, but when one sees soda brands like “Dang!,” “Zuberfizz,” and “Ski,” it sparks a curiosity.
Some other grocery store alternatives to Wal-Mart are Ruler Foods in Charleston and ALDI’s in Mattoon. Both of these stores have the lowest prices for milk in the area at $1.59, even beating Wal-Mart’s price of $3.73. Each store mentioned had their prices compared for four common items: potato chips, soda, milk, and toilet paper. Wal-Mart had the lowest price of 86 cents for a four pack of regular toilet paper while every other business mentioned was at 99 cents. Both ALDI’s and Ruler Foods were at $1.49 for a big bag of store brand regular potato chips. For the soda addicts Wal-Mart is still the best deal, twelve pack of Coca-Cola is $3.98. That is $1.01 less than everywhere else it sold. Even so, buying a twelve pack of store brand soda instead of Coke, Dr. Pepper, or Pepsi can save well over a dollar. Shopping for the best value can be found in local stores, and finding some interesting goods is fun too.