The neighborhood markets in Northwest Arkansas are dominated by Walmart. Bentonville, Arkansas is the home for Walmart headquarters, so those of us who dwell and shop in the area, usually get the first taste of new layouts and ideas. So now Walmart has this shop online and drive through-in pick up option, but Oh to miss the adventure of the unique community market.
We have not only the mega stores (super centers) but an assortment of the Neighborhood Markets that exists in different parts of our small area. Even with such a homogenized running of markets by Walmart in our homogenized area, there is the hint of variety and diversity emerging ever so slightly. This is just a taste of the markets. I haven’t been to those in Fayetteville or more rural places like Centerton, so I’m sure they have their own flavors not covered here.
Market 1: This market is closest to our home and across from a gated community and was the NEW design. This market always has headquarters folks walking around and taking notes and nodding or asking customers if they found everything they needed. This market is pretty basic and populated by mostly women who are dressed in any variety of expensive workout clothes: tennis, golf, or yoga. Even if the weather is say 30’s, they are still wearing leggings of some sort. (We are not in the gated community, so I don’t know any of the folks who I see at the market). The perk of the market is the Kosher section however very small it is; it is the only one in our radius (including the Walmart super center) that has this section. The produce is shockingly “meh” for such a workout community and the deli serves more of the construction workers who are now a part makeup of the patrons. So much new construction surrounds the area that a whole new aspect of folks is now regularly served. This has added a nice aspect to this market.
Market 2: This was one of the first markets built. It is across from the Community College and has the distinction of looking older and having less. It is basic and for quick stops and has all the transient feel as the Market 1 has leggings. It also has the distinction of being in front of the ever popular Sam’s Club. So bulk buying folks will overlook this market. This market has more of the Hispanic food section, but still smaller than the BIG Walmart. This market seems to have a really good bakery and deli. Small but it seems to keep up for such a limited area.
Market 3: So this is to the north-west of us and farther than the others. Newer and in a very different area. This has more family and not so young professionals roaming about. It is bigger than the other markets. Not quite a BIG market Jr. but it has more of the beauty and home good sections than the other markets. The produce section is wonderful, but the bakery and deli are non-existent. This market has a whole Indian food section. So wonderful. Large bags of spices and beans that I can’t find at even the BIG Walmart. Oddly it has no low-fat half and half, a better variety of pizza crusts and Go phones. Welcome.
Last but not least of Markets I have ventured to is actually more of the mega store: aka super centers. This store is in Jane, Missouri. I ventured here when I lived in Bella Vista. First, Benton county was just voted wet like a year ago. Now, all the markets big and small have converted and have beer and wine aisles. BUT this wasn’t always so. The store in Missouri was FIRST and the go to place for many because it was built with a whole beer, wine and liquor section-just like there was a garden section. No food variety or specialty items at the time. This store was the meeting section of all the retirees who came from Bella Vista and all the rural folks from Missouri. So here grandma could buy frozen pies and vodka or the occasional young professional could buy a box of wine or bottles (but the options for a special wine was quite limited). But if you needed lots of diapers and lots of beer, this was also the place. So many young-young couples with children in tow and retirees clamoring for space to shop.
With more markets opening each year around such a small area, I will be curious to see how each creates its own culture. I hope they become more distinctive.