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What stores/chains would you drive long distances for?

I just asked a question about the ubiquitous Trader Joes and it made me think... what stores/chains would you drive long distances (greater than 20 miles) to get to? We moved from a highly-developed urban area to a more 'small town' environment and a lot of my favourite places are now 20-30 miles away, or even further. Then I wouldn't drive more than five miles to get to the store... now I'm seriously thinking about the trek.

The closest Whole Foods is in West Palm... they just opened a new Trader Joes in Wellington... if we really want Krispy Kreme we have a choice between going up to Melbourne or all the way down to Fort Lauderdale (I wouldn't drive that far 'just' to get donuts but when DH was working in Melbourne he brought home two dozen...) and one of the few remaining World Market stores is up in Melbourne. And of course, then there's Penzeys Spices which opened a store in Orlando which is their ONLY store south of Jacksonville.

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  1. It not just miles it's time. 30 miles in the city, even highway, can be a couple hours. And there are likely similar stores closer by. In the country 30 miles to anything can be usual. You do plan and group trips, though.

    1. We once drove almost an hour to eat at a Sonic.

      In the past we would drive about 60 minutes one way every few months to the closest Trader Joes for our preferred coffee and a few other things we could buy lots of that would keep for the time until our next trip. Since then they've opened one nearer to us.

      1. I'll drive about once a month to a Trader Joe's that's about 15 miles away, maybe 2-3 times a year to a Wegmans that's over 30 miles away. Between the gas costs, the time, and the higher prices, it's just not worth it on a regular basis. I have hopes that in the next two years, Wegmans will be constructing a new location less than ten miles away. That would be fantastic.

        Contrast those distances with how little I need to drive to my usual markets: A&P - just under 2 miles, Stop & Shop - less than 7 miles; and if I want slightly upscale, there's a King's just over 5 miles away.

        You couldn't pay me to drive to a Whole Foods, but I'd drive 20 miles for a half-dozen hot Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. :)

        I echo some of what divadmas said - it's not just the distance, it's also how insane the traffic is, or the convenience of negotiating the area. There are some stores east of me by about 10 miles, but I rarely travel that road as it's just far too congested, and "amateur hour" drivers prevail. I'll drive a slightly longer distance in the opposite direction to many of the same stores, but in an easier-to-travel area.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mcsheridan

          I have to drive 15 miles just to reach any grocery store.

          1. re: Becca Porter

            We drive about 35-40 to reach civilization. It's inconvenient at times, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's a trade off.

            1. re: Becca Porter

              One of my sisters does likewise, as she's in the northeast part of NY State. I once did a 45-min one way with her for a Wegmans/BJs run, but then, she really stocks up.

              But here in NJ, the most densely populated state in the country, and with some of the craziest drivers you ever *did* see, a 15 mile trip can be more than annoying.

          2. None.
            Zero.
            Zip.

            TIME is the most precious commodity of all.

            1. If I had no access to Asian ingredients such as rice noodles, rice paper, fish sauce, and hoisin, then I would make the 20 miles trek and stock up.

              1 Reply
              1. re: seamunky

                This is me. I currently will drive about 25 miles to get to the nearest Asian supermarket a few times a year to stock up on Asian grocery supplies; not the basics but some of the more unusual items (plus, I just enjoy browsing the aisles looking for interesting things to try cooking with.) I used to live in a big city with a good Chinatown, but no longer.

                There is also a Wegman's near the Asian markets I will sometimes check out if I'm making the trip, mostly for their meat department. I don't find the rest of their selection all that much to get excited about.