Buy Your Groceries at These 6 Small Businesses

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Maybe Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s is your go-to grocery store because it has everything you think you need. But there are plenty of amazing small business grocery stores out there that shouldn’t be discounted.

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Sure, that specialty market you’ve eyeballed might be outside of your neighborhood, but it also likely stocks items you can’t get at a big-box grocer — and offers the opportunity of a unique shopping experience. Additionally, when you shop small businesses you’re helping build your local economy, and you’ll often get more personalized service than a large chain grocer would be able to provide. 

To inspire you to find out what treasures a small, local grocery store might hold in your area, here are six amazing small businesses for groceries across the U.S.

Metropolitan Market

Metropolitan Market is an upscale grocer that has been serving the Seattle area for over 50 years and features nine locations. Not only can you find the grocery staples you need, but also plenty of specialty products that the small chain sources locally and globally. 

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Here’s what Yelp reviewers had to say about this PNW fixture.

“The prepared foods are better than what you’ll find at the best Seattle restaurants. Their house label products often exceed every comparable branded item in quality for the price. Service is exceptional. Produce is fresh and local.” – Yaz D.

“In general, Met Market has top quality produce and meat/ seafood with a lot of local options for food items … My favorite thing about Met Market, though, is their bakery. They are famous for The Cookie, which is divine. It is my favorite chocolate chip cookie since I like them thick, gooey, and chocolatey. – Susie C.

Phoenicia Specialty Foods

Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown, established in 1992, is located in Houston, Texas and features over 15,000 products from 50 countries. Besides produce, fresh meats, seafood and artisan breads, you’ll find gourmet foods, household basics, boutique wine, craft beer, flowers and housewares.

Here’s what Yelpers had to say about this one-of-a-kind downtown destination that draws both Houstonians and tourists alike. 

“I didn’t know this grocery store would be a huge warehouse! Think Costco with a Mediterranean twist. You’ll find products from Armenia, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran and much more. You’ll find freshly baked pita bread … honey, pistachio butter, knefe, baklava, chocolates … and the list goes on.” – Elvira D.

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“On the one side, you’ve got a HUGE area set aside for what I presume is stock for the local restaurants to buy goods. You can seriously buy gallons of garbanzo beans or oil, several pounds of rice and other items of note. There are also ‘reasonable’ sized goods in these aisles, as well. They also stock kitchen and cookware items and frozen goods.” – Ashley K.

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Berkeley Bowl

Berkeley Bowl, with two locations in Berkeley, California, opened it’s first store in a converted bowling alley in 1977. The store stocks what you’d expect in a grocery store, including everything from baby supplies to seafood and an amazing selection of herbs, veggies and fruits.

Here’s what Yelpers had to say about this unique small business. 

“The fact that people visit from out of town is a clear indicator of how unique this grocery store is! The stars here are the produce section, bulk food section, and the cheese section. There’s an incredible variety. It’s not often that I don’t find produce that I want.” – Michael T.

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“The selection here is *chef’s kiss*. No other supermarket can compare. I discovered the bulk section today and it felt like I entered a new world … the world of bulk purchasing all the grains, dried mushrooms, granolas, teas, and spices that I only need 2 ounces of for a one-off recipe and I don’t want to spend $10 and a heavy bag on.” – Karen C.

Zingone Brothers

Zingone Brothers, located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, was established in 1927. The Zingone family prides itself for being at the same location for three generations. This mom-and-pop store is known not only for it’s quality fruits and vegetables but also it’s affordable prices.

According to Yelpers, when you shop at Zingone’s, you’ll be treated more like family than just another customer.

“Zingone Brothers market is what people think of when they say they love the Upper West side — quality, character, caring.” – David B.

“I have been ordering from Zingone’s for 40 years as unbelievable as that sounds … What they offer, meaning personal attention and genuine care for customers rather than “customer care” is a fading art … they keep it alive!” – Tian D.

Langenstein’s

Langenstein’s, which opened in 1922, is a fifth-generation grocery store in New Orleans. It offers grocery staples, seafoods, meats, gourmet items and prepared New Orleans’ delicacies, such as crawfish etouffee. It has three locations and serves the Greater New Orleans.

Here’s what a Langenstein Yelp reviewer thinks about this century-old small business. 

“There’s nothing like their crawfish Monica or stuffed mirliton, and their produce is impeccably fresh, and they carry items you might not find even at bigger stores — leeks, and fennel, rainbow carrots, and heirloom varieties of grapes in season.  Add in the super fresh seafood section, and a small but tasty selection of wines, and you are all set. This is a truly local institution and a jewel of the community.” – Nancy G.

Duckweed Urban Grocery Store

Duckweed Urban Grocery Store was the first grocery shop to open in downtown Tampa in 2011. What started as a cute little 550-square-foot store has grown into a total of six Tampa locations. It bills itself as “Your Local Market With Locally Sourced Goods & More.” You’ll find fresh, organic local items, daily essentials and specialty items, including world-famous William Dean Chocolates.

Here’s what a Yelper had to say about Duckweed. 

“Duckweed may not be a huge store, nor does it have the thousand of items that your local Publix may have; however, what it capitalizes on is its location (the only grocery store downtown) … and the high quality of its products. You are guaranteed to find fresh and healthy foods and a pretty good selection of beer and wine, as well as chocolate and baked goods — most of which [are] locally made!” – Ryan P.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 12 years of collective experience. Her articles have been featured in MSN, AOL, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and The Network Journal. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

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