Living in Fountain Square has a ton of perks; great restaurants and bars, amazing events always popping up, First Friday celebrations, and of course, a variety of quirky, fun shops to explore. Finding a convenient grocery store is also easy, since there is a plethora of options.
Four of the main stores in town, Wildwood Market, Kroger, Marsh, and Family Dollar, are each great places to find household essentials like groceries and toiletries. But how do you know which one to go to? The truth is, each of these stores offers their own benefits to the Fountain Square community. If you’d like to save time (and money) on your favorite brands, here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll find at each location.
This little urban market has a very small town feel to it, with loyal customers frequenting the market as often as every day. The true theme at Wildwood is encouraging customers to shop local, in order to support local businesses and farms.
What’s Great About Wildwood Market
You’ll find fresh, local produce and dairy, amazing organic and gluten free snacks and foods, locally roasted coffee beans, and fresh bread from Lucy’s Bakery (free of preservatives). Plus, Wildwood also has their famous sandwich of a day lunch special that locals love.
You’re going to pay a little extra for produce, bread, and dairy here, but you have to remember, you’re paying for quality. Bananas, for instance are $1.50/lb while a fresh loaf of Lucy’s bread will run you $5. Also, it’s unlikely you can do all of your weekly grocery shopping here, but you might want to swing by first.
This downtown grocery chain has two convenient locations, a small store on Mass Ave and a large one in the heart of downtown. While Marsh has pretty much everything you can expect from a chain store, these locations also offer great local options.
What’s Great about Marsh
You’ll find huge varieties of items, with coffee ranging from international to local brands and produce from organic to local to national brands. Bananas here are $.59/lb ($.69 for organic) and bread comes in a variety of prices, form under a dollar a loaf to $4-$5 for fresher varieties. They also have a great meat counter for fresh meat, with some local options. They also offer a decent rewards and coupon program and provide a pretty great salad bar.
While there are local options, you won’t find food quite as fresh or with smaller local brands like you will at Wildwood. Also, the Mass Ave location is quite a bit smaller than the downtown location, so you’ll find less options there.
Similar to Marsh, Kroger offers shoppers fairly low prices since they are able to buy so much in bulk. They also have a wide range of brands, ranging from local to national, and have in house products made there like hummus, hot foods, and breads.
What’s Great About Kroger
Kroger’s coupons and fuel points generally offer slightly better discounts than Marsh’s coupon program. Prices for canned goods and non-perishables tend to run a little lower than Marsh. There is also a slightly larger selection of milk and dairy, as well as poultry (particularly when comparing Kroger to the Mass Ave Marsh).
Again, Kroger can’t compete with Wildwood’s local touch and it’s also slightly out of the way, whereas Marsh is in the center of downtown. Also, produce tends to look fresher at Marsh and Wildwood.
Price is the main driver of this convenient store which offers a surprising variety of grocery items for FS residents. While many might overlook shopping here for groceries, there are quiet a few finds here that make this store stand out.
What’s Great about Family Dollar
This is a great place to stock up on essentials like toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, and other non-perishables, especially when there’s a great sale. Dish soap, spices, and other supplemental grocery supplies can also be found here, inexpensively. Their prices are almost consistently lower than the above two chain stores, which is great for anyone on a tight budget. Plus, it’s right in the center of Fountain Square, making it an easy place to run to for necessities.
There won’t be many local brands found here. Also, the quality of some of the products are inferior to the other three stores, which might not matter for paper products, but may make a difference when shopping for food.
So Where Should You Shop?
Depending on where you live in Fountain Square and what you like to buy, each of these four groceries stores has something to offer you. If you like local brands, you might want to start at Wildwood Market and finish up at Marsh or Kroger (whichever is closer to you).
Likewise, if you need paper plates in a hurry or non-perishable grocery items, it’s definitely worth saving money at Family Dollar. It all depends on your budget and location. Just don’t dismiss any of these stores without popping in and checking it out first.
And if it’s fresh produce in large varieties you’re seeking, don’t forget to check out the farmers market on Wednesday mornings at the City Market downtown.