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Cape Cod FINALLY gets a good supermarket...better wake up Stop & Shop

Okay, most won't get all worked up over the opening of a new supermarket, but here on the Cape it's hard to go anywhere but Stop & Shop where prices are high, value and service is low, and quality can sometimes be....ahem....marginal to be kind. Sure, there's a tiny Trader Joe's in Hyannis and that is a plus. There are a few Shaw's/Star Markets, too, but they're not much better than S&S and are a bit more pricey. And if you care to make the trek to Mashpee there is the excellent, and slightly upscale, Roche Bros. But bring the wallet as it's pricey.

I had my first ever visit to a Market Basket yesterday. It finally opened it's doors this week at exit 1 in Sagamore after much anticipation. All I can say is W-O-W. Not because it's the biggest store ever. Nor does it have the most unique offerings. (No salad bar, chicken wing bar, fruit bar, seafood bar, etc). The layout's a bit confusing with dairy first and veggies last with the frozen foods. It does have an extensive lineup of hot and ready to cook prepared foods, and everything looked pretty good, but nothing that blew me away. There is a separate seating area, however, called the Market Cafe where one can sit at a table to eat and look at a couple of big flat screen TVs. Some seemed to enjoy this amenity.

So what's the wow? The pricing, quality, and the service is miles above S&S! I mean, it's not even close. I do the food shopping for our household so I'm very familiar with how much everything costs, and every item I picked up was at least 30% less that I'd pay at Stop and Shop. And that's just regular priced brand name items. Sale priced, or store brand items were off the charts. Meats and produce were not only better quality but better variety, and again, priced at about a 30% savings.

It was grand opening week so one would expect a lot of employees there to serve you. But these were happy, enthusiastic, helpful employees, albeit clearly tired due to the constant throngs of shoppers. Every register was open. Every register had a bagger, and even young people who would push a cart out for the elderly and help unload the bags into one's car. When was the last time you saw that at a supermarket?

I left with a smile, and a cart full of groceries for just $80. Last night we had a beautiful fresh wild-caught swordfish steak ($8.99 lb.) on the grill, and tonight I'm cooking up two choice NY Strip steaks ($7.99 everyday) with some sugar sweet corn (5 for a buck!) .

It's about 13 miles away from me, as compared to 3 miles for a Stop and Shop, but I'll do all my weekly shopping there from now on.

I'm loving this place and saving a boatload of money doing it

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  1. Congratulations CCG. We're reaping the rewards of Market Basket on The Cape's opening this week too at our local MB in Reading. Lots of items on sale up here. We live a short stone's throw from a Shaw's in Melrose and ever since MB opened near us we have to be really needing a last minute somethinorother to return to Shaw's... MB has a wide variety of good ethnic produce and groceries too. And as you've noted the prices are great. Happy shopping...

    1. CCG>>>>
      That's great. I still; make a monthly trip from Connecticut to do a major shopping in MB for both variety and an average 45% saving over Stop and Shop. There have been many threads on MB on the old New England Board

      1. Thanks as always. Even though I can walk to S & S from my office, I've been doing more of my shopping at either Roche Bros. or--increasingly--the market in Barnstable Village, also TJ's and Lamberts, primarily due to the marginal quality @ S & S, as you noted. The Market Basket location is not optimal during the summer, but I plan to check it out, as I am feeding two teenaged boys and spending a fortune on groceries.

        5 Replies
        1. re: lisaonthecape

          Like you Lisa, I prefer to shop local and give my business to independants like Lamberts and Barnstable Market. I'll add Wholesale Produce on 28 in Hyannis to that list. But the savings is just too great to ignore at MB, and as long as it's not Sunday, its location really isn't an issue even in summer.

          1. re: CapeCodGuy

            CCG,
            When I lived in MA, I considered shopping MB as shopping local. It is a privately held MA company owned by a family in the Tewksbury area, unlike Stop and Shop which is owned by Royal Ahold in Europe and Shaw's which is owned by SuperValu of Eden Prairie, MN.

            I do my day to day grocery shopping at an independent here in Trumbull, CT, but spend about $600per month during my trip to Market Basket in Oxford, MA (110 miles each way, but $600 buys more than $1000 of Stop and Shop priced same item goods).

            1. re: bagelman01

              Was off Cape so passed MB and stopped in. Cherries were 3.29 a pound, blackberries 2.49 a pack (small), nectarines 1.99 a pound..so overall each, about .20 cents a pound less than at S&S in Dennis. If I am passing by on my way back from off Cape I would pop in, otherwise the gas spent to go back and forth is not worth the savings for me. Folks in the Upper Cape area will do well here I suspect.

              1. re: phelana

                To be fair, that's a rather small sampling, although I just got back from S&S and bought cherries on sale for $ 3.99, actually a 70 cent difference. But I certainly agree that it's not worth the drive to pick up only few items. Back to S&S, I couldn't help but notice that the broccoli crowns were horrible looking, the corn on the cob on sale was twice the price, and again not real fresh looking. And the ''fresh'' swordfish was $14.99 vs. $8.99. Trust me, do a full food shopping and it will not only be worth the extra gas, you'll save enough money to fill the tank!

                And bagelman, good point in mentioning that shopping MB is keeping it local of a sort. It makes me feel better giving them 90% of my grocery business moving forward!

                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  CCG>>>
                  There is one MAJOR drawback to MB. They do NOT maintain a website where you can view the circular. You may find it comes in the Cape Cod Times, or you can sign up for a copy to be snail mailed (if you live in MA, not to CT).
                  There is an unofficial website: www.mydemoulas.com that is maintained by a loyal fan. They often have a copy of the circular posted, but sometimes it may be out of date, so one must check dates on the circular on line.
                  They caryy many items that Stop and Shop, Shaw's Shop-Rite and Big Y don't. I like to get fresh sliced Canadian Bacon in the deli to make my own Egg M*Muffins on the weekend. I don't like the packaged stuff or Boar's Head at $11.99 lb in the few Markets that stock the item, but the stuff at $4.99 in MB is great. My wife loves MB's own deli Roast Beef and it usually is available for less than $7lb. Occasionally we have bought a whole one and she has heated it in the oven and sliced dinner sized portions and serve with her own mushroom gravy. Hew family loves it.
                  Also, the deli carries turkey pastrami, turkey salami and turkey balogna sliced to order which I can't get at local delis. Their meat departments are very accomodating about getting cuts and sizes a customer wants, such as beef or veal tongues.
                  Lastly, I go to store #8 in Tewksbury about every 8 weeks (I used to be there every week on business) and I can drop off a deli and fish and meat department order with the deli manager at 8 am on my way to business and on the way home at 5 it will all be packed for me waiti9ng in the walkin sliced as ordered.
                  Lastly,
                  I am very appreciative thatr they make a point of hiring the mentally challenged and providing meaningful employment as baggers. AND they carry your order out to the car at no charge.
                  Yes I sound like a cheerleader, but I have reason to be.

        2. what I love most about MB...and I live close to one in Somerville...is the high turnover on produce with the cheap prices. Fresh herbs, all kinds, ethnic ingredients....It's a veritable united nations shopping there, and they keep the prices low b/c they re-stock during shopping hours so that plus the crowds can make it stressful, but also the crowds are much more polite than in my whole foods locations....they also stock things like real buttermilk (Kate's) .... at our location, shucked canned oysters sometimes and cuttlefish,...it goes on and on. Real shopping for real people. glad you got one near you!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Madrid

            Well its a mystery answered for me as many people had mentioned the new MB coming. Couldn't quite figure out what the buzz was about. Now I know. Not sure when I'll personally get there as its a bit far but I will. Love the new Barnstable Market.

          2. I heart MB

            1. I was there Saturday and it was utterly mobbed. Yet it was so well staffed that I was checked out and rung up and on my way in a jiffy. The vibe there was totally winning.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Big Fat Moe

                I stopped there for the first time on Saturday as well and was totally impressed with the quality, service and prices. I found lots of items at what I consider "BJ's Club" prices without having to buy a HUGE package of something for just hubby and myself. I'm a Cape weekender and will be planning to visit MB whenever I can!

              2. Stopped by for another weekly shopping and I have to say, they are still going strong, and I can't believe how much they allow you to stretch your food dollar. Quality and freshness is still first rate. Selection is still broader than both S&S and Shaws. I recently stumbled on an article that compared a "basket" of national brand name items at S&S, Shaws and MB and found that MB prices are at least 31% lower than S&S and 33% lower than Shaws. That doesn't factor in that S&S has a 9% difference in prices internally depending on the market. Cape stores, unfortunately, are at the high end, so you can expect a 40% savings on AVERAGE. Keep in mind that this excludes store brands, which IMO, is where MB excels. A great example is this week S&S Roast Beef in the deli is $9.99 per pound and at MB it's only $4.99. How about lobsters at only $3.99? There are literally hundreds of like examples.

                I'm still loving this store. If you are on the Cape, it's well worth the drive from almost anywhere.

                4 Replies
                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  I have been shopping at MB since it opened in Sagamore. I have a 2 mile ride to get there. But in the process I have to drive past Stop and Shop on 6A. I've noticed a major change in the amount of cars parked in the lot. I have several friends that work at S&S. Even though they get an employee discount. They are shopping at MB also. Must be a bad feeling to know your employees are not loyal to the company they work for. I asked one of my friends if she had gone there. She answered no because she gets gas points. Oh boy spend a hundred to get 10 cents off on a gallon. I told her that S&S figures that into the price of an item. You really don't think S&S and Shell Oil are going to loss money. In fact during the summer S&S makes a ton off the visitors that do not have a card. S&S also prices thing by region. Were MB does not. The same price you pay for an item in Sagamore is the same price you pay at any one of their stores in Mass.
                  Market Baskets produce dept. is hands down better then any S&S store I've ever been to. I bought a box of strawberries at S&S one day. I went to use them the fallowing day and I need to give them a shave as they were growing a beard. I don't think I'll ever go to S&S again. Unless they are giveing stuff away for free. If they do I'll be checking the experation dates.

                  1. re: jigger1

                    The MB is New Bedford where I reside is amazing. They have already put one S and S out of business and the Shaws near Buttonwood park looks like its not far behind. While I never want to see folks lose their jobs....the trush is MB's product/service/price point are unrivaled.

                    1. re: CapecodKid

                      I'm amazed at the help you get at Market Basket. If you can not find an item all you have to do is ask one of the workers. They will take you directly to were the item is.I was there the other day and there was a disabled person in a chair. They had a worker help get items down off the shelfs for them. The workers are very courtious and friendly. I see them out in the parking lot helping the elderly place thier grocerys in the vehicle for them.
                      When I go I buy a ton of stuff that is on sale either 2 for the price of one or 1/2 off. I save ton and walk out with my basket full. I've found that the price on a lot of items are lower then the Stop & Shop brand,

                      1. re: jigger1

                        Agreed about the terrific service. I love that almost every register is open and they all have a bagger. Like you, I frequently see people out in the parking lot helping elderly loading their groceries.

                        Funny thing I noticed. I had just returned from MB shopping and I was putting away my items. I had purchased a bottle of Mirin, or rice wine, and I had paid $2.49 for a 12 ounce bottle. The bottle that was empty had been purchased at Stop and Shop, at $5.99 for 7 ounces. My El Presidente pub cheese was $2.50 at MB and $5.99 at S&S. So, just in those 2 items.....$5 at MB and $12 at S&S. Huge difference! Now multiply that by a cart full of groceries, 52 weeks per year.......