Where to Buy Groceries in Big Bear

Fawnskin Market where locals shop!

One of the confusing things new residents face is how to find out what other locals know and where to shop for groceries seems pretty simple—but there is more than meets the eye around these parts. If you are lucky, your Big Bear neighbors will tell you the secrets otherwise it is pretty hit and miss.

Usually you have to live here about a year before people take you seriously and figure you rate any kind of Big Bear insider secrets. Josh and his gal and Katie and Brandon down the road have found that out. Each household has only been here in Big Bear for about six months.

Funny, I remember my first year when other business owners told me they wouldn’t do business with me until after I had been here a year.

What?! How ridiculous was that? Whether you want to believe it or not, it actually happened…and probably still does.

Eventually, I learned that behind that sentiment was that many businesses come up here and then go under pretty quickly. A similar transience exists for new residents and home owners–they move up here and then, in a blink of an eye, they move away.

Times are changing…

Recently I had a discussion with someone about just what qualifies as a part-timer…which is why I am on this rant…but there are “no timers” here as well.

“No timers” own property up here but never visit. Then there are (horrors of all horrors) people who just buy so they can rent out their places.

We hate them.

Did I really just say that? *Blush*

I am NOT going to get into the rental issue here—at least not today. (Even though I recently got an earful about rental nightmares from someone who used to rent their property…you would not believe those stories!)

Anyway, shopping for groceries is a necessity everyone faces but only locals know the real strategies to use before a storm or holiday weekend.

Most people go to Vons or Stater Bros because they are the biggest stores around, and as a result they have pretty good pricing and selection.

I prefer Vons because I hate crowds, which incidentally, is why I live in Fawnskin. Vons has recently remodeled and has a greater selection of higher end items and organics.

Also, the staff does recognize the locals. They are trained to ask you if you need help and only a few are phony about it–most of the long term staff are awesome. They also will open up additional checkers it they see more people standing in line.

These things come in handy when you are a local immersed in the insanity of shopping alongside the weekend warriors.

Supermarket warfare shopping resembles the wilds of Africa. It is a battle of the survival of the fittest.

You can usually tell who the out-of-towners are since:

*they generally block the aisles with their carts and kids (or spouses, or friends—you insert here)

*they hit you with their carts in line—thinking that will nudge you along faster

*and the real kicker is that they feign surprise when they are told they are in the Express lane when they have two carts full of groceries…

Gee, nobody has tried getting away with that before! (Sarcasm–in case you missed that.)

But I digress…

On the down side of Vons—the store has managed to piss me off more than once—I hated enduring the remodeling (and don’t like what they have done) and I hate that they took away the double coupons.

How do I deal with it? I took my main shopping elsewhere and only just recently began going back.

Across the road, you can visit the meat counter and butcher over Stater Bros. Many people think that the store is a lot cheaper; I don’t find that to be true. But I have not done any comparison shopping lately, besides I’d pay a few cents more over at Vons to avoid the crowds.

Stater’s also has imports that I don’t find elsewhere and many locals like their pastry bakery since we don’t have a real bakery around these parts any more.

If you are going to shop at either of the large chains, the secret is to shop early in the morning. This is especially true for Stater Bros—otherwise you usually have to wait in long lines to avoid the bumper cart derby in their aisles.

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the need to navigate around the old fashioned chat groups (people not the cyberspace kind) that gather together and clog the passageways over at Stater’s…the store does not require a shopping cart operators license—but they should.

The locals’ secret for quality meats is not at either of the big chain supermarkets…

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 and is filed under Mountain Lake Resort.

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2 Responses to “Where to Buy Groceries in Big Bear

  • 1
    February 5th, 2008 19:14

    Love the new web site and the recent articles.
    Von’s still has double coupons..at least for me.!

  • 2
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    February 6th, 2008 11:12

    Hey! Guess I should start clipping those coupons again. I gave up when they quit offering them. Glad to hear they are back. Thanks for the note and dropping by.