CULPEPER, Va. (FNS) -- Shoppers interviewed at the six-month-old Wal-Mart Supercenter here had mixed but mostly positive reviews for the megastore. But, to varying degrees, they also continue to rely on their local supermarkets. The supercenter clearly is taking business from grocery stores in the area, although all the shoppers interviewed still visit traditional grocery stores at least occasionally. Some still do the great majority of their shopping at a supermarket while others said they only make emergency runs to the supermarket and rely primarily on the supercenter.
While most were enthusiastic about the selection, particularly meats, seafood, produce and bakery goods, several shoppers said many items are cheaper at surrounding Food Lion stores.
Distance from shoppers' homes appeared to be a primary determinant of whether they frequent the supercenter. People who live nearby were more likely to do the bulk of their shopping at Wal-Mart, although a couple of shoppers said they were willing to drive farther to shop at the Wal-Mart.
Price was another prime reason for shoppers' retail choices. Several shoppers said they visit the supercenter for specific products that are cheaper there, and they do the same with traditional grocery stores such as Food Lion. Special promotions are also a draw, whether to the supercenter or to a supermarket.
"Cross-shopping" between the food department and other parts of the store appeared to be a common practice. Only one shopper of the 12 interviewed said she never buys food at Wal-Mart (because the prices are too high), while two shoppers said they buy only food. The remainder roam the store.
The shoppers were interviewed in the parking lot of the supercenter during the early afternoon on a weekday. The store, the first Wal-Mart Supercenter in the area, opened in late January. Above are excerpts from the interviews.
I come here about two times a week. It's 2 miles from my home and Food Lion is about the same. I'm finding I'm coming here for everything these days. I pick up just a few things at other stores -- only on special. I buy clothes, toys, makeup, all kinds of things. Shoes. I buy most makeup and personal things here. There's a good selection but the price varies. Overall, it's lower but some things are higher. We've been pretty impressed with the produce -- it's much better than Food Lion. The meats are probably equal.
I am extremely happy with Wal-Mart. I also like Sam's Club for the freshness and the price. I buy absolutely everything here. I drive 11 miles to come here and I think it's worth the trip. The nearest Food Lion is 7 miles from my house. The Wal-Mart is extremely clean, very hygienic. I bought vegetables, fruit, cream, the best of everything for a dinner party and it only cost $27. I come here at least two times a week. I also buy cat litter and cleaning things.
Pat and Don Gerhart
We live in Madison, which is about 25 miles away. We come here about two times a month and otherwise go to the Food Lion and IGAs in Madison. I like the seafood here; you can't get seafood in Madison. Right now we'll do grocery shopping here at the Wal-Mart, but we do the bulk in Madison. We would come more regularly if we lived closer. We buy some things for the home here, like our printer.
Willie C. Reese
I do most of my grocery shopping at the commissary in Quantico 50 miles away because there are no taxes at the commissary. This Wal-Mart is 2 miles from my house. I buy meat here. The selection is good, about the same as the commissary. Some prices are higher and some are cheaper.
I come here about three times a week. It's 15 or 20 miles from home. I shop mainly at Food Lion, which is about 5 miles from home. I come here mostly for my daughter's clothes. I don't really come here for food because the prices are higher than at Food Lion. I also buy things like curtains and household products here.
I come here about once a week. I also go to the Food World about once a week. They're both about 10 miles from my house. I buy meats here because they're cheaper. The produce is nice and I think it's a little cheaper here. Cleaning items and cereals are also cheaper and I buy them here.
I come here five times a week and buy more than at Food Lion. The produce is better here. This is the next closest store to the very expensive Super Fresh. I go to Food Lion for my main grocery shopping, because, at Wal-Mart, the toothpaste will be at one end of the store and the dog food will be over there and something else will be over there. That takes time.
I come here three times a week. I buy everything -- Tide, soap, even food. Everything I've gotten so far is fine and a lot cheaper than at most other stores, although the Food Lion is cheaper. Now I go to other stores like Food Lion and Super Fresh about twice a month. I only go because they're closer. This is about seven minutes from my home and Food Lion is about two minutes. That fact that it's big and spread out isn't a problem for me.
I go grocery shopping about once a month, which is not a lot because I don't like to do it. I live in Madison County, so I either have to go to Charlottesville or Culpeper. This is closer, but my basic grocery shopping is at Food Lion. I come here for things that are cheaper like Healthy Choice frozen meals that my husband takes to work. Produce and fruit are sometimes cheaper and better here so I get most of my produce and fruit here.
Most of my shopping I do at the Food Lion in Orange. It's 15 miles from my house and it's 19 miles to get here, so I don't come here every week, usually just when I need a larger purchase like something for my home or garden. I come here about every two weeks and go to the regular supermarket about once a week. But if I lived in Culpeper I would definitely come here. I prefer the Food Lion for some things that I'm used to getting there, like there's a brand of flour they carry that I'm used to. But the prices and selection for most things are better here.