Save A Lot store 506 in Bremen is closing officially on July 10, and many regular customers of the store are very upset at the news. As our family’s main food buyer, I have developed an awareness for where to get the best selection of groceries at the best price, and Save A Lot has long been my first choice of where to go in Bremen for both fresh and packaged food.
When our family moved to Bremen, the options for a good deal on food were significantly limited compared with our previous residence in Roswell, Georgia. Though this was expected, I was frustrated by having to drive to Carrollton to find options beyond the big chain stores here. When bemoaning these limitations to our friend Suzanne, she suggested I visit Save A Lot, pointing out that she shopped there for many things including paper products and canned goods.
I took Suzanne’s advice and visited the store once we had moved less than two miles away from it. It immediately reminded me of the small-town grocers I grew up with in Tennessee. Though it is an older building, the store was clean and regularly well-stocked. The first couple of years, I mainly visited there for paper products and some non-parishables.
Then, I bought some name brand canned pinto beans, which were less than half full when I opened them. Upon returning the beans, Save A Lot replaced them and offered some of the store’s brand of pinto beans to try. Not only were these canned beans superior in taste, they were significantly less in price. I began to notice the store brands from Save A Lot matched or exceeded the quality of other options. Their seasonings, snacks, mixes, and baking goods are all delicious. Since then, I have specifically stuck with the Save A Lot store brands.
I came to realize that Save A Lot was the best deal in grocery shopping. Certain staples of our regular menu were easily located, and I could usually find all of them pretty quickly. Whenever I would go, I rarely had to wait to check out, though other shoppers were usually present every time I went there. Shoppers’ time was respected, and the store’s convenience could not be matched.
Around 2016, I began buying more meat there, specifically family packs of beef and chicken. Boneless chicken breasts would be $1.49 a pound, and T-bone steaks were $3.79 per pound. Five pound sacks of potatoes were $2.99. The cost of their fruit was at the same amount or within a few cents of the other local competition. For gas for the outdoor grill, Save A Lot was the cheapest deal in town. When we’ve hosted friends for a dinner or packed a cooler for a picnic, most if not all the food has come from there. The savings have been significant over the years.
It was also during this time that I struck up a friendship with the employees at the store. Tammy, Courtney and Sabrina always take an interest in me as they do with all their customers. Since I don’t usually use a cart, it was easy for me to drop in every third or fourth day for whatever I needed. I would usually make the trip within 15-20 minutes of their closing. While many people would have been annoyed by this, my Save A Lot friends would joke with me that they had been expecting me.
It has been a great disappointment that Save A Lot is permanently closing. The people and the company will be greatly missed. I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment, as so many neighborhood and community shoppers have come to rely on the store for their weekly purchases. I contacted the company to see if they might relent, but have not had my call returned.
Those who have been employed there and those of us who have frequented the business, see it as a significant loss for the community. It cannot be replaced.
Alex McGill is an educator and musician living in Haralson County.