I'm a firm believer that I should write about the good as well as the bad. I had an experience on Saturday, and it was too cool not to share.
Let me begin by saying that I've always been a big fan of local businesses. We prefer local restaurants to chains. I prefer local vendors to national conglomerates. I have a horrible love/hate relationship with Walmart: I love the low prices; I hate the Walmart machine.
When I moved to Utah 14 years ago, I had to find a new grocery store; they don't have the same stores here as they have in Illinois. For the 10 years that I lived downtown in Salt Lake City, I adopted Albertsons as "my" grocery store. It had all of the things that epitomize downtown. In fact, we called it our "ghetto Albertsons." Sometimes I miss those day...where the bloody guy was being chased through the produce section by the EMTs....or the drunk guy whose "old lady was out in the car" came in to buy a 12 pack of beer because he just got out of jail that day....or the fight I got into with the ignorant clerk who was so rude to a young black man that I just couldn't keep my mouth shut....ah downtown, how I miss you. Sometimes Bradley and I take a trip downtown just to get good Greek food and look for hookers and tranvestites. It's great fun.
When we moved to the suburbs, I was again out of my element and forced to choose a new grocery store. We had heard about Harmons for years...seen the commercials...but had never visited one of the stores. I decided to give it a try, and I was sold! It is honestly the best grocery store ever! We joke that they have everything at Harmons, and they do! They also have a custom cheese bar and a custom olive bar...oh, and a "dollar store" within the store. They take your groceries right out of the cart for you so that you don't have to load groceries on a belt...and...wait for it....they have COMPLIMENTARY drive and load. I can't say enough good about them.
Saturday, I had an experience that will keep me as a Harmons customer for life.
I was in a different part of town, and I stopped at a Harmons for my Saturday grocery shopping. I came in with a list and LOADED my cart....I mean it was overflowing. As I rolled up to the check out line, a man came up to me and said, "Can I just say thank you." It was Bob Harmon....the owner....who I'd seen on TV many times. I said, "For what, spending all of my money here?" He said, "Thank you for choosing our store." Stop and think about that for a minute.....how often does that happen....that 1) the owner of the store is out and about on the floor; 2) that he stops by to make a personal introduction. You don't get that every day.
Harmons has dozen or so stores in Utah. I told Bob that this isn't my normal location and that I was just in the area because the girls were playing softball nearby. He asked how many girls I had playing softball; the answer is "2." He produced a free fruit coupon for them and told them to have a piece of fruit on him.
I've gotta tell you....I was so impressed with that brief interaction. That is hard work and relationship building at its finest! This country was founded on folks who worked hard, had dreams and open businesses. Harmons has been around for almost 100 years. Four generations of Harmons have served the people of Utah. It's clear why they are still in business and doing so well. They have a great story, and their history can be found on the web.
I hope that if you have a local business that provides excellent service in your neighborhood that you frequent that establishment. For me....I'm a Harmons girl. Bob Harmon sealed that deal for me, and the great folks who work at my local Harmons keep me coming back again and again!
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