Support your local businesses! I resent being in bondage to Wal-Mart, but that's just the way it is when you are on a tight budget and live in a small town. Every time I walk through the doors, I wish we had an affordable, local option for all of our groceries.
I try to shop the local produce stand in the summer, go to Dollar General for paper products (also a major chain, I know... but somehow the small building with bright yellow sign is not quite so offensive), and there is also Stoke's Grocery. Stoke's is a little jewel of a local market which is great for stopping in for milk, bread, and last minute items... it's just expensive to do all of your shopping there.
I am going to take liberty to digress a moment about this grocery store called Stoke's. It looks like a ramshackle, hole-in-the-wall warehouse. The inside is not too much better- very bare bones, and up until recently, the employees were still allowed to smoke while stocking the shelves!
Here is a quote from the Daily Journal describing Stokes: "Today, Stokes Grocery, officially called Stokes Cost Plus because customers pay the asking price plus 10 percent, is a rambling building with a hodgepodge of freezer cases, shelving and coolers Stokes has purchased at auctions. He gradually bought the businesses adjoining his grocery and basically just knocked down walls to connect the spaces."
While the appearance leaves a bit to be desired, this place is a treasure! If you are ever looking for something not carried at Wal-mart, check Stoke's! From an assortment of canning jars in the dead of winter to random, rare ingredients... Mr. Stokes probably has it. One other great thing about a local market is that if they don't have it, Mr. Stokes will usually be happy to order it for you! Wal-Mart employees just point toward a forsaken comment box and tell you to take it up with the "manager" (who seems never to be available).
PARDON THE DIGRESSION...
Speaking of local establishments, we have a great little coffee shop. I love my weekly coffee shop run- I go for a run while the girls stay and drink a steamer or hot chocolate and knit. When I finish running, I get my coffee (gotta love a place where they ask you if you want your "usual") and pay the tab.
Last week we had a cross country get together at the coffee shop. The moms and girls brought handiwork and came to have a night of fun. We had a great turn out!
Julie, Kirsten, Danielle, and Martha enjoying their assortment of beverages and desserts!
I have missed my runners! I will be glad for us to get started again in the spring! While we were at the Coffee Addict, several sweet families gave me Christmas gifts. I have some fuzzy spartan colored socks on my feet right now, in fact! Thanks to all of my runners who brought me sweet and thoughtful gifts! The Johnson family gave me something particularly special... They had photos from our season turned into a book! Roan made sure that every runner was in at least one picture, and there are pages dedicated to practices and almost all of our races! Thank you, thank you, thank you!