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How Many Food Stores?

How many food stores/grocery stores/markets do you all shop in regularly? To find the food you want to cook with, are you driving every which way? Do you drive to get good prices, too?

I just counted up nine stores that our household frequents. This is just to buy staples for our household.

Wouldn't you love to plan your own grocery store and choose ALL of the products that they sell?

Why stop there, let's plan our own bakery and cheese shop, too...

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  1. TJ's, whole foods, 2 local groceries - one a larger super, one a smaller grocery, also go to asian store about every 2 weeks for fresh thai coconuts, and have lately been frequenting a farm stand for pastured eggs, local produce and cheeses (because i just can't seem to get to our local, wonderful farmers market). so, that's 6 in total.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rmarisco

      Oh, dear, you just reminded me...

      While counting I left out the farmers' market (maybe because it hasn't started yet for the year), and also the Asian and Mexican stores.

      That takes me to an even dozen.

    2. Most regularly, as in week-in, week-out, not many! The local farmers' market (which is year-round) at least once a week. We get a weekly CSA box year-round as well, so those together take care of/dictate much of our produce needs. Then a nearby independent market that's known for its produce department, bulk section, and daily fresh bread selection from many local bakeries for most of grocery needs, including fish, meat, etc., and Trader Joe's for some staples at good prices (olive oil, grade B maple syrup, yogurt, chocolate, etc.). Occasional stops at an Italian specialty store, cheese shop, Asian and Middle Eastern markets, and a very occasional visit to WF for something not carried elsewhere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        Oh, and as for driving every which way, I'm not driving at all. One weekly farmers' market is about five blocks away, and that's also our CSA pickup site (the farm sells at that market), the independent supermarket where I do most shopping is a 15-minute walk, there's a TJ's just over a mile away with the Italian specialty store a couple of blocks more and another TJ's in an area where I'm often running other errands. WF is a 20-minute walk. The other markets I mentioned are easy on public transit.

      2. Have 2 name-brand, full service supermarkets within a few miles... ACME and Shoprite. Have a Bottom Dollar... relatively no-frills... nice produce (good prices)... great prices on eggs/butter and other dairy items. Have a little Asian market that always has nice veggies, though limited selection. Did a little "drive" (maybe 5+ miles) to get to Produce Junction... total no-frills place with VERY nice selection and VERY nice prices.

        If I had the choice to go to a NEW mall or a NEW market... food wins out every time!

        1. There are four markets I shop at regularly: the closest one to me has the only milk I will buy and I buy most of my meats and produce there, and on Tuesdays they give seniors a 5% discount; another a few miles away is the only place I can get IBC Root Beer and Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies; a smaller market in a completely different direction is the only place I'll buy chicken, as it's organic & on ice - not a foam shrink-wrapped package in sight; and a slightly more upscale supermarket (in yet another direction) when I want to splurge on some of their marvelous prepared foods.

          Far less regularly, I'll drive to Trader Joe's for their crusty demi baguettes and whatever else strikes my fancy, visit a local meat packer that sells to the public, or swing by an Asian Food market for sauces.

          I generally only shop one market in a trip, but fortunately they are all in a ten mile radius of my home.

          1. 1. Nat'l grocery store - as seldom as possible for paper and cleaning products. 2. Local (not chain) natural foods store. 3. Farmers market weekly 4. Small gourmet store for cheeses and french butter 5. Small independent grocery store, family owned 6. Local farmer for his really good eggs 7. Asian store about once a month 8. Local small wine store 9. Chain farm supply for dog food.
            I will drive far and wide for quality items, not for prices.
            Rightly or wrongly, I am suspicious of 'deals' on food.

            1. I regularly shop at 3:

              1. Grocery store
              2. Asian market
              3. Farmer's market

              I also have a bakery that I rely on, but I wouldn't say I frequent it. So maybe 3 1/2, then.

              1. 7 - Whole Foods, Wegmans, Trader Joe's, Farmers' Market, local Italian deli, local cheeseshop, H Mart

                1. Three: neighborhood farmers' market once a week for as much of my produce as possible; Ralph's every couple weeks for cleaning supplies, personal care products and Diet Coke; Whole Foods two times a week for everything else. I'm fortunate to have every kind of market near my office or my home, or both.

                  1. We have a huge new Kroger in town that has sushi chefs, a huge fish selection, and a cheese department like WF. That's our main store. Ingle's supermarket has a few things I like. A smallish chain, Food Depot has the best prices on meats, and occasionally has things like beef cheeks, pork belly, or a great price on lamb, as well as the best prices on good strawberries or peaches when it's time to make jam. We usually go to the local farmer's market Saturday mornings. Now and then we make the trip into Atlanta to go to TJ's or the DeKalb Farmer's Market.
                    So one main store, and 4 or 5 occasionals.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kitchengardengal

                      I miss living within few hours of DeKalb Farmer's Market!
                      Now that I'm closer to I-95 my road trips don't bring me remotely close to it.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        We're taking my sister (who loves to cook) and her husband (who loves to eat) to the DeKalb Farmers Market next Friday. They've never been, so I am planning on it being a multi hour - multi shopping cart adventure.

                    2. Weekly: Costco, Cub/Rainbow (Traditional grocery store), CSA share in the summer, liquor store

                      Every other week: Byerlys (higher end grocery store, nice produce but gets spendy but we can walk from home)

                      Once a month or so: Trader joes for the odds and ends they have, and SuperTarget, cause I'm there for something else and I also need milk/OJ

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: autumm

                        My list is similar (since I'm in Minneapolis). Live across the street from Whole foods so I go there when I need a little produce or frozen veg. Live about a mile from Trader Joe's and two miles from Byerly's.

                        I schlep to Super Target for a few things, especially on sale or on special through Cartwheel.

                        I go to Cub when I want some ethnic items not found in the stores listed above.

                        I also go to the farmer's market in the summer and Midtown Global Market since I drive by there pretty often.

                        Wow. More stores than I thought!

                        1. re: MplsM ary

                          Sounds like you live near my son.

                      2. I no longer drive.

                        We (my SO is a busy engineer) hit one grocery store once a week (he likes Aldi---think "too many choices" at many other grocery stores ). He ~hates~ to shop.

                        We might cruise the Target grocery aisles while visiting the pharmacy there 1X per month.

                        I walk to the Farmers Markets downtown once they are open for the season.

                        I also grow veggies and herbs in my backyard. Those are the best. Who can afford sage and thyme at "market" prices??? I know we cannot. Home picked tomatoes and tender salad greens...also the best. Makes it hard to spend $$$ in the grocery store for these items.

                        1. There's a small family-run grocery for the basics, including meats, It's the furthest away, but Mr. Tardigrade is in the area a few times a week anyway so he just stops there when he's in the neighborhood. Then there's TJ's for wines and TJ-ish stuff, about twice a month. We're lucky to have a well but eccentrically stocked corner grocery for things like bread and milk, and a seasonal farmers' market and a Mexican grocery (for chiles) in walking distance. There's also a Safeway about a mile away, but I don't particularly care for it. So five regulars, counting the farmers' market.

                          What we don't have is a good fishmonger, aside from the guy who shows up at the farmers' market with a very limited selection.

                          I don't drive out of the way to get lower prices, since the cost of gas and wear and tear on the car (and me) add up.

                          1. Currently just one.... two if you count Costco. It's mainly location driven... there's only one to choose from haha! Thankfully it's a nice new store (King Soopers, owned by Kroger). There's also a few farm stores out there but they're only open like May-October.

                            We're moving next week to a rental that is in a very populated area, there's 2 large groceries across the street from each other within walking distance, in addition to ethnic stores nearby, so we'll see if I start mixing it up some more. I may not because once our NEW house is done, we'll be back down to one or two choices so I don't want to get used to having the options haha!

                            1. I'm 1.2 miles from Ralphs, our Kroger affiliate, and 2.3 miles from the nearest Trader Joe's, so if I really wanted to I could hoof it to both, as those are over 90% of my daily shopping – and I do shop daily because I prefer to. It must be my Inner European coming out …

                              There are five Trader Joe's (including the original one!) and three Ralphs within a six-mile radius from my house, so whatever other errands I need to run on any day I'll almost always be near enough to one of each to drop in. Between them they satisfy my cheese and (very rare) bakery needs, as well as keeping the bar and wine cellar stocked.

                              There are Latino, Asian, Arabic and Armenian/Russian markets of varying scope close enough for regular visits, too; sometimes on weekends we like to go down into the San Gabriel Valley and check out one or more of the huge pan-Asian superstores, and have an interesting lunch while we're at it.

                              1. Local traditional market for most meat/seafood/fruit/vegetables/eggs, weekly. About once a week to the 7-11 for milk, and to a local bakery for sweet breads or baguettes. Every couple of weeks to the German bakery for *good* bread as a treat.

                                About once a month to a more standard grocery store for things like cheese, canned goods, condiments, chicken stock, cream, mustard, baking supplies.

                                About once every three months to Costco (sausages, cheese, olive oil, breakfast cereal, coffee, canned tomatoes, dried pasta) and to the expensive speciality grocery store for things we can't get elsewhere - some pickled stuff, spices, couscous, cornmeal.

                                At random intervals (about twice a year) to the baking supply store for nuts, dried fruits, baking chocolate, and to the Indian supply store for spices/chickpeas/lentils etc.

                                And occasion stops at a nearby but not as good grocery store for things needed right away.

                                7-11, bakeries and local store are by foot. The traditional market we walk to and bus back, while the other stores are usually public transit there, and a taxi back.

                                1. 6

                                  ShopRite
                                  A&P
                                  Costco
                                  Farmer's Market
                                  Restaurant Depot
                                  Yoders

                                  1. Weekly:
                                    The new Fairway market in my neighborhood, Todaro bros (small family run with nice selection and not as insane as Fairway can be), farmers market at union square
                                    Every two weeks or so:
                                    Whole foods, trader joe's, asian groceries in chinatown
                                    Less often:
                                    Middle eastern grocery, Indian grocery, specialty spice market

                                    No driving for me, everything beyond my neighborhood is about a 20min bike ride or half hour door to door on the subway

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                      Oh, right, a Fairway opened on the corner! I used to live around the corner from Todaro Bros. on 30th, years ago and I would have loved (read: been spoiled) having Fairway a bloack and a half away.

                                    2. Safeway is walking distance, so if I only need a few things, and the weather is okay, I’ll just walk. If I need to drive, I’ll head to Winco to get heavy items at the same time and hit up their bulk section.

                                      Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Trader Joes and the Asian supers I’ll visit when I’m out doing other things.

                                      With gas at $4/gallon, I won’t drive any distance just to save 50¢ on a box of Triscuits, even though I’m currently addicted to their new Triscuit Thin Crisp Parmesan Garlic crackers. But if the weather’s bad, or I really do need something I can’t get at Safeway, I’ll run the car. I won’t deprive myself over a half a gallon of gas. That’d be silly.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: RelishPDX

                                        You just reminded me that my car is my only real problem – an older Subaru Forester that gets about 16 mpg around town. I'm looking for a more frugal shoppingmobile with room for my 40-qt thermoelectric cooler … Mrs. O is making noises about an electric Fiat, but I think those are too small in back.

                                      2. Most of our grocery shopping takes place at the Star Market three blocks from our house, so there's no driving involved. The other markets that we frequently shop at that are within walking distance are an Asian supermarket, a Trader Joe's, three farmers markets (one fantastic, one adequate, one that both sucks and blows), two Russian markets, a Brazilian butcher, a couple bodegas, and a fantastic bakery.

                                        There's also a fishmonger that's been coasting on its rep for far too long, a Whole Foods, two Stop and Shops and an Indian grocer, but we don't shop at any of them for various reasons.

                                        We do drive once a week or so to Russo's, a fantastic greengrocers, and the BJs that's nearby. At the height of the farmers market season that's more like once every two weeks. And we'll occasionally run out to a Wegmans that's about five miles away, but it's not a regular part of our routine.

                                        1. Weekly I go to either a Hispanic grocery nearby or an Asian grocery about 20 min. away just depending upon which is more convenient. Both have great produce at very good prices. My CSF began a month ago so I have a weekly pick-up.

                                          Every 3 weeks I go to Costco and Trader Joe's since they are close to each other. Once a month I'll go to a regular supermarket and Aldi's.

                                          Whole Foods, Fresh Market and the scattering of specialty stores are visited occasionally for items I can't get elsewhere.

                                          I'm not out and about in the mornings so I seldom am able to take advantage of the farmers markets. Once in a while I time it right and can visit one of the few afternoon farmer's markets.

                                          1. Two independent, and two chain grocery stores are all within a 7-minute walk of our apartment. Costco is a 15 minute walk.For larger quantities or specific items, I'll drive 10 minutes to two other major supermarkets.

                                            On a regular basis, we shop at the two independent grocers, and weekly Farmers' markets; 5 minute walk from home, and two wine stores and two liquor stores within a 10 minute walk.

                                            1. The vast majority of the food shopping comes from the supermarket trip, once or twice weekly. We usually shop at one place but, from time to time, drive a little further to another company's outlet.

                                              Perhaps three or four times a year, we visit one of the discount supermarkets - again, just for a change. We visit the monthly farmers market several times a year but wouldnt describe ourselves as regular visitors. And there's occasional visits to the fishmonger for things not generally stocked by the supermarket.

                                              So, I suppose the answer to the question in the OP is "one - and a few irregularly".

                                              1. Interesting topic. I'm in a tiny town that is still part of the Twin Cities metro. I regularly shop three stores that are local to me or my mom's assisted living place.

                                                I dearly miss the Minnetonka Cub for the variety of ethnic goods and the sales. Every two months or so I make the trek there and load up. It's the same with TJ's. I buy a trunk load of our favorites and when that's gone, it's time to go again.

                                                We hit up United Noodles and the Mexican grocers on Lake and Nicollet at least twice a year. Those are also bulk purchases of our favorite condiments and ingredients. I feel one of those trips coming on, now that your post reminded me of it. Almost out of sushi vinegar. :)

                                                1. Probably about 7

                                                  1 Butcher
                                                  2 Co-ops
                                                  1 Farmers market
                                                  2 Bakeries
                                                  1 Fishmonger

                                                  Visit each at least a few times a month, some as many as 7-8 times. Also have other places like a cheese shop, specialty import shops, and specialty butchers that I visit maybe 9-10 times a year, for when I'm looking to drop some real coin on stuff I wish I could indulge in daily. Also occasionally go to Costco, definitely some value there, depending on what you buy.

                                                  I drive for quality, never for price. Of the 7 places I frequent, 6 are within 10 minutes of where I live, unfortunately the best Co-op is about 15-25 minutes away depending on traffic, I generally go at off times to avoid crowds of hippies. The local big Vietnamese supermarkets are pretty cool too, I need to get in there more.

                                                  1. Trader Joe's, Sprouts, Costco, Fry's is usually my favorite for general all-around 'regular' grocery stores, along with Albertson's, which is closer. There's a Safeway kittycorner across the street from work, which is handy, and when I feel like puttin' on the Ritz I'll go to Whole Foods. And then there are Kimpo, the locally-owned Korean market right near my house with rockin' house-made kimbap and rice cake, and G&L Imports, Asian with a lot of worldwide products, in fact. Last but not least, there's LeeLee Market, a worldwide (mostly Asian) store on the other side of town that I'm almost glad isn't closer because I'd spend a lot more time and money there.
                                                    I enjoy grocery shopping in alternative places.

                                                    1. More than I realized until I started listing them. There are the larger supermarkets:
                                                      Wegmans
                                                      The Fresh Market
                                                      Giant
                                                      SuperFresh
                                                      Whole Foods (occasionally)
                                                      Costco

                                                      ...the ethnic specialty stores:
                                                      Italian specialties
                                                      Mexican specialties

                                                      ...the local dairy farm (Baily's) for milk and half and half
                                                      ...the local farm/farmer's markets (in season)
                                                      ...a nearby specialty/gourmet shop (Talula's Table) for cheese
                                                      ...the local butcher
                                                      ...the local bread baker (weekends only)

                                                      ...and of course my favorite wine shop, Moore Brothers.

                                                      My shopping often has me driving across the county and over state lines, but I don't mind if it means I can get exactly what I want and need.

                                                      1. I have a Fairway, a smaller grocery chain and an independent greengrocer in walking distance of my home that I shop at pretty much every day.

                                                        Weekends I will visit the farmer's market and perhaps the Middle Eastern and Indo-Pak stores or a strip of wet markets in Chinatown. Shopping takes a bit more commitment on my part since I don't have a car, living in New York.

                                                        1. 1 - Kroger. I'm boring.

                                                          If I need a specialty item I'll run out to Whole Foods. I try to avoid WF though because 1 item quickly turns into 10.

                                                          1. Each Wednesday when I get the weeks grocery ads I note the best prices on items we buy and typically plan meals around the meat specials. I regularly shop in 3 of the 4 chains in our town. A 5th, Publix, is under construction very near and I'll likely add them in. There are certain items we get at Aldi; plenty of items from TJ's; a few from BJ's Whse; some but not much food from Wal-Mart but plenty nonfoods. We're at the big Grand Asia at least monthly, and at Patel Bros. not quite as often.
                                                            The state agriculture dept. runs a huge Farmers Mkt that is about to pull me in every week.
                                                            Total Wine for the house red, Chapel Hill Wine for the Rhone & Bordeaux.

                                                            1. I don't drive to go shopping at all. God Bless NYC!

                                                              I walk and take the bus and the subway all over town - Queens and Manhattan mostly, less often in Brooklyn and the Bronx, barely ever go to Staten Island. Food shopping in NYC is one of the single greatest pleasures of living here. I shop at dozens of places regularly - food stores are like museums to me - I just love looking at all the stuff. And unlike the artwork in MOMA and the Met, it's all for sale and so affordable! And, fingers crossed, delicious.

                                                              1. Weekly I go to:

                                                                Stop and Shop-local chain
                                                                Fruit Center Market place-local speciality store

                                                                At least every other week:

                                                                Whole Foods
                                                                Trader Joes

                                                                At least once a month:

                                                                Alfredo Aiello-speciality Italian Market
                                                                Kam Man-large asian grocery
                                                                Bloomy Rind-specialty cheese shop
                                                                Amazon.com-because I can! and free shipping!

                                                                At least once a quarter
                                                                BJ's-a big box store like Costco

                                                                In the late spring/summer I also hit the farmers market at least once a week plus I get my CSA each week.

                                                                1. Chain supermarket for staples, other supermarket for produce and loss-leader specials, other supermarket for meat and goodies, TJ's for a dozen things unique to TJ's, Indian market for grated coconut, spices, and various grains, Polish market for bread and pork, Asian market for condiments and coffee, Middle Eastern market for breads and other stuff, farmers' market in summer for tomatoes and squash, WholeFoods for laughs. And I do this on public transportation.

                                                                  1. Wegmans, for nearly everything - there is no #2 grocery store.

                                                                    Unlike any other place I've ever been, Buffalo has a chain of butcher shops, with incredible service: cut to order, bone out on request, wrap for freezer or immediate use. We go maybe once every two months and spend $150-200.

                                                                    And our every-Saturday farmers' market trips started last weekend.

                                                                    1. I have 2 I do most of my shopping in: Whole Foods and BJ's (wholesale club). I pass both on my way home from work, so it is no big deal to hit up either of them. Also, I take part in a CSA which is where the bulk of my in-season veg and fruit comes from. Once in a great while I will go to the local supermarket chain (Stop and Shop) or Trader Joe's but I could live without either of those.

                                                                      1. let's see:

                                                                        costco about every 4-6 weeks. mostly paper products, some organic meat.

                                                                        local supermarket for b/f's juice and deli meats

                                                                        local dairy for grass-fed milk and cream.. they also carry pastured eggs and are now dioing their pork and beef, so that has meant more trips over there.

                                                                        several asian stores.

                                                                        2 salumerias in the north end.

                                                                        2-3 cheese shops

                                                                        2 butchers

                                                                        farmer's market, but not yet.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          forgot i stop at haymarket 2-3 times a month.

                                                                          berries and asparagus are dirt cheap there right now.

                                                                        2. Sprouts & TJ's once a week, and Costco probably once every 3 weeks or so. They are all in the same general direction so every Friday afternoon I can cover everything.

                                                                          1. Wegmans for regular grocery shopping 1x/week
                                                                            Costco every few weeks
                                                                            BJs every few weeks
                                                                            Target every few weeks when we're there for other stuff

                                                                            I used to participate in a biweekly farm share delivery at work, but dropped it when I realized how much of the stuff we didn't eat. I plan to go to the farmer's market periodically this summer, as there are two: one on the way home from work/school on a weeknight, and one near the library on Saturday mornings.

                                                                            1. Hannafords or Market Basket on a regular basis (weekly?)
                                                                              BJ's Wholesale Club (once a month, maybe a bit less)
                                                                              Sometimes OSJL, sometimes Whole Foods
                                                                              Infrequently, Wegmans.

                                                                              When the local farm stand opens up with local produce, I'll be going there through the summer.

                                                                              1. My big bi-weekly grocery shopping (I'm a single gal and don't need to go weekly) takes place at usually either Harris Teeter or Wegmans. I'll pop in to either Safeway or Giant when they're more convenient if I just need an item or 2. I go to Wal Mart probably once a week mostly for toilitries and cleaning products, but I will sometimes pick up an item or few of food there, too.

                                                                                1. Our food coop has a bi-monthy market place for seasonal local produce and bulk items and I get a box of veg and optional protein add on's from a CSA program and the local urban farm has a weekly farmers market so I am trying to source as much from the neighborhood as possible

                                                                                  For Specialty Items there are a few go to places depending on what I am looking for
                                                                                  Asian Supermarket (Spring Garden) tofu, sauces, noodles
                                                                                  Russian Supermarket (Net Cost) - pickles, fish, bread,
                                                                                  Reading Terminal - meat, produce, local cheese
                                                                                  Italian Market (S. Philly)- seafood, produce, charcuterie, cheese

                                                                                  When I do need a large grocery

                                                                                  3 large national chain stores are convenient to me - ShopRite, Pathmark and Superfresh -
                                                                                  and
                                                                                  2 local chains Cousins which serves a more ethnic demographic (Hispanic & Hilal) primarily and and Thriftway which is pretty awful but very close by

                                                                                  I generally choose the large format store based on what else I am doing but I wont generally shop at more than one every two weeks or so - none of them are great but they all suffice.

                                                                                  1. I walk to two local grocery stores and a produce market regularly - I'm at one or the other of them at least three times a week. We do a big Costco run every three or four weeks, usually - I buy most of our meat there, and stock the freezer each time.

                                                                                    I also visit a local butcher, Trader Joe's, Zabars, the Fairway and a couple of Asian/Indian stores when convenient or when I need a specialty item, maybe once a month. However, I'm finding that with an Amazon prime membership, it's more convenient and cheaper to buy most specialty items online.

                                                                                    1. I think I have it down to three, plus the farmers market. Now that I plan my menus for the week, it really cuts down the food stores.

                                                                                      Oh, it's four stores...

                                                                                      But I rotate them so we're not running to all of them each and every week.

                                                                                      Five if you add a liquor store.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: y528s

                                                                                        The liquor store can be the most important stop in a shopping trip!

                                                                                      2. Two, and we don't drive to either - a meat shop with decent quality meat (the grocery store meat has been... suspect) and the regular grocery store. We order by email or online. We don't go out much because a. the husband and I are hermits and b. I'm chronically ill and in chronic pain, so going out to grocery shop is difficult for me. And there are very few places that allow for online ordering where I am.

                                                                                        1. For the east coast of Florida, I frequent the following.

                                                                                          2 Publix Supermarkets
                                                                                          Bravo Market
                                                                                          3 Dollar Generals
                                                                                          Sav-a-Lot
                                                                                          2 Aldi's
                                                                                          A high end meat market and wine store
                                                                                          2 local seafood markets
                                                                                          2 southeast Asian markets
                                                                                          1 Haitian
                                                                                          1 Jamaican
                                                                                          1 Indian primarily for herbs and spices
                                                                                          A large Caribbean store with fishmonger and butcher
                                                                                          1 Neighborhood and 2 Super WalMart

                                                                                          Where I shop is a factor of convenience as well as price and quality. We do not have a local farmers market as we basically have no family farms in the area, and the archaic Florida laws.

                                                                                          For quantity purchases, I have B.J.'s, Sam's Club, and GFS Market.