Grocery stores might all sell food, but what sets them apart is their selection, customer service commitment, and overall environment. But which one is the best?
Walmart is an American retail corporation that operates chains of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores. Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and officially opened in 1969.
As of July 31, 2021, Walmart has 10,524 stores and clubs in 24 countries, operating under 48 different names.
2. Stop & Shop
Mostly concentrated in the northeastern United States, Stop & Shop has a generally positive rap. “It’s a fairly massive supermarket with a fairly decent selection of products and fairly high prices to go with that selection,” one customer wrote on Yelp.
“The meat department isn’t bad, and the deli area is large and staffed by very helpful people who will go out of their way to help you out.” Fair enough.
Safeway is pretty, uh, safe as far as grocery stores go—it’s not really super notable, but popular enough to make the list.
One thing that’s interesting about Safeway, though, is the pricing: A recent review of Safeway versus Whole Foods found that Safeway was actually a bit more expensive than the store nicknamed “Whole Paycheck.” In WH’s defense, there are plenty of surprisingly cheap eats from Whole Foods!
4. Giant Food Stores
Another store you might not be familiar with unless you’re in the northeast, Giant Food Stores is pretty average when it comes to all of the different survey points on the list, but fans love its focus on diversity.
The stores try to reflect the neighborhoods it calls home and isn’t as cookie-cutter with how each store presents its products.
But unlike many grocery stores, Meijer is doubling down on the “big box” stores instead of making smaller locations.
“They’re continuing to do (big-box) stores because that’s what they do best,” Jon Springer, an editor at Supermarket News, told Crain’s Chicago Business.
“They have a reputation for that kind of store, and they operate them well.” The downside? Meijer typically prices its items a wee bit higher than other big boxes like Walmart.
The overwhelming benefit of ShopRite is the value, according to customers. “You can never beat the ShopRite prices anywhere else in northern New Jersey,” a happy customer wrote on Yelp.
“Stop & Shop prices [are] way too high! Acme [has] bad meat, plus super-high prices. Pathmark is about as good as ShopRite, but ShopRite has their Can-Can sale, which I always stock up on all canned foods.”
7. WinCo Foods
Unlike many of the stores on this list, WinCo Foods is primarily based along the west coast—mostly in California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Washington.
The secret to its success, according to Forbes, is its commitment to employee ownership. According to the magazine, several employees—ranging from stock boys to cashiers—have multi-million dollar retirement accounts, courtesy of the company.
When employees are literally invested in the success of their company, that means better service—and a better shopping experience.
Kroger is more than a grocery store; it’s an organic paradise. The chain is about to surpass Whole Foods in organic food sales—$11 billion in 2015. That’s a lot of kale!
“We worked very hard to shift our product selection to meet that need, and in some cases to be ahead of that need,” Kroger spokesperson Keith Dailey told Business Insider. “In our view, Kroger helped to move natural and organic to the mainstream by making products more affordable and accessible.”
You probably don’t know about H-E-B if you live outside Texas, but you should. The name originated from the initials of the founder—Howard E. Butt, Sr.—and is known across the Lone Star state for its wide selection of H-E-B-branded products.
The company is also known for making its stores a reflection of the communities and neighborhoods they’re in, which makes shoppers feeling truly at home.
Even though Costco received pretty middle-of-the-road ratings in the Market Force survey—probably because of the membership fee—the store still has massive appeal. Once inside the doors, frequenters know you can save a ton of money.
You’ll need to bring your own bags—and a quarter to use a cart!—but it’s well worth it. Oh, and the double guarantee is reason enough to shop there.
If you buy something and don’t like it, you can bring it back with your receipt and they’ll give you another item and your money back.
12. Hy-Vee Food Stores
Hy-Vee Food Stores is known for having a “helpful smile in every aisle” and it’s totally true. This mostly-Midwestern retailer is heralded for its clean stores, large organic selection, on-site dietitians (!), and friendly staff.
The best part about Hy-Vee is probably its Fuel Saver program, which nets money for a future gas purchase when you buy advertised options. Customers reportedly spend less than a dollar on a gallon after a big shopping haul.
The niche grocer still ranks high on this year’s report for cashier friendliness and store cleanliness, but stumbled a bit on checkout speed and product availability—maybe because they can’t keep its frozen cauliflower rice in stock!
With all of that said, Trader Joe’s is still a great place to save on staples—and you can’t go wrong with the store’s famously affordable wine.
Publix, a chain of stores along with the southeastern United States, took second for the fourth straight year. The chain scored high in all six areas measured by the report, including cleanliness, product availability, and cashier friendliness.
Wegmans is undoubtedly the Cinderella story of this list. The relatively small chain of stores located on the east coast had quite the rally cry and pulled in double the votes in 2016.
The reason? It’s revolutionizing the grocery shopping experience with awesome stores and a huge selection that shoppers compare to a little city inside a grocery store.
Inside, you’ll find a bakery, deli, pizzeria, take-out food, sit-down restaurant, home goods store, French patisserie, a cheese shop with over 300 specialties, caterer, butcher, sushi counter, coffee shop, and a pharmacy.
“You can’t talk about Wegmans without talking about its emphasis on the experience, on the theatricality of going to the grocery store,” Jon Springer, retail editor for Supermarket News, told The Washington Post. “It’s really very different in that respect.”
In this article, we’ve been able to come up with the 15 best grocery stores that you will find near you and also a list of all the grocery stores in the U.S.
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