Community (part 1)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The top 10 reasons I love shopping at Hennings
(also known as "why I drive passed 5 closer supermarkets to go to Hennings")
in no particular order...

1) When I ask if they have the milk (or anything else) I'm looking for, the answer isn't simply "yes" or "no".  It's a reason why and an apology that the milk wont be delivered until the next day, and then a question of if they can help me find something else that might work to tide me over.

2)  That you'll usually hear "X Henning, to the front/ line X/ to X Dept."  That's right... The family still works there.  And they care- a lot- about the experience you are getting at their family market, even though it is now the size of a super market, complete with hot bar, coffee bar, bakery, deli, fish counter, etc.

3) When my kids decide they are done shopping and want to get ancy, I've never once gotten a dirty look. Instead, staff have come up and talked to the kids, played with them, etc, and gotten a smile and laugh where I have failed- often enough to get me through the final 5 minutes of my trip.

4) When I lived within walking distance and would bring my cart down, there were never crazy looks when I said I wanted my groceries under the stroller in lieu of bags.  Instead, the bagger (see #5) would ingeniously figure out how to stuff $150 worth of food in the undercarriage of my stroller.  Once, a kid even offered to walk it home for me (since I had an extra bag to carry) over his break!

5) Baggers.  They still employ the young kids in our community as baggers and cashiers.  (and the not so young kids too!).  I have rarely bagged my own groceries.  And they do a phenomenal job!  No broken eggs, no mashed bread.  You want plastic- you got it.  Paper- sure thing.  Bring your own bags- no problem.  And can I push that out to your car?  Really?  I don't mind...

6) And, if you dont take them up on the offer to take your groceries to your car, there is usually a nice guy ready to take your cart back to store or to help unload your groceries.  Which is a LIFESAVER when it is cold/rainy/windy and you have folks to strap into carseats (or you are alone and just dont want to be cold/wet/blown away).  I've tried to tip and no one has ever taken me up on it.  To me, you unloading my groceries and then taking the cart so that I can hook up two crankopotami in their carseats is worth something extra.  The fact that you think it is part of your job is why I love you so much.

7) If they dont have it, they will get it.  I've asked for some of the craziest vegetarian things and they've always tried to get them.  Sometimes, the things dont sell well and they dont get them in the future (which then they'll actually apologize for!) but sometimes they become staples.  We've got coconut milk ice cream, a variety of faux meats, and a slew of organics.  Other chain super markets (Whole Foods excluded) dont compete.

8) L-O-C-A-L.  We are blessed to be able to go to local farms and dairies, where animals are treated with kindness and slaughtered respectfully; but, if you cant get to the farm yourself, trust that you can pick it up at Hennings.  And for a decent price too!  I've never been happier than when I walk in and see a "grown in Harleysville" or other local town in front of something.  They support local agriculture and dont break your bank to make a profit.

9) It's clean.  Not once have I ever found the store to be nasty or have I passed by produce because it looks like it ran by the best-eaten-by date and kept going.  From the food areas to the bathrooms to the eating areas, the staff take pride in their store and keep it clean.  And, if there is a mess, you can be sure it will be addressed right away.

10) Community.  They employ teens, the disabled, the elderly, and everyone in between.  Every week, they do a discount day for those 60 and over. They are always donating profits to local organizations, like the fire department and community center.  They give free meals from the hot bar to emergency personnel in uniform (and you can usually spot a policeman, EMT, or fireman dropping by for a quick, nutritious, home-cooked meal).  They really care.  It's not just a business- it's THEIR store; it's YOUR store; it's MY store.

Now, this isn't to say that you cant find a good deal at a chain or that a chain market wont have great employees.  But there is something to be said for keeping things in our local communities.  Shopping at our local, small businesses.  Supporting our local farms, dairies, and CSAs.

Right now, in the midst of holiday shopping, we spend, spend, spend, trying to stretch our buck and hitting up mega-stores to make every penny count.  Sometimes, I think, we lose sight of the people behind those low prices.  I love my Amazon.com as much as the next girl, but as I walk through my downtown and see the mom-and-pop shops struggling, I cant help but be convicted by my click-and-ship mentality.

I drive by five closer supermarkets to do a weekly Henning's run.  Even with shopping at Whole Foods, which is closer, for some things (and I love the WF personality, too), I feel like I need to get back and connect with my love of community (even if it is my former community).  I wish that the stores within walking distance had that feel.  They dont, but the one that is closest to it, I keep giving tries, in the hopes that I can find something like we had in our new town as well.  But, until then, I'll keep taking the 15 minute drive to the town next to ours...

1 comments:

jenicini said...

Wow can I have a hennings too? :)