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Aspen grocery shoppers respond to tight times

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” It’s no secret that people are eating out less because of the recession, but even at local supermarkets, buying habits have changed.

“High-end waters were selling really well in last few years; this year that went down,” said Bob Gilmore, manager of Village Market in Snowmass Village. “The distributor themselves said they were way down in sales.”

Tom Clark, owner of Clark’s Market in Aspen, said the store has seen more demand for fresh foods such as meat.

“We’re speculating people are trading restaurant visits for the grocery store,” he added.

However, he said Clark’s Market isn’t seeing “trading down” ” consumers choosing regular products over organic products, for example.

But at City Market stores, spokeswoman Meghan Glynn said she is seeing an increase in coupon use and demand for store brands ” both for City Market’s higher-end “private selection” label and its lower-end “value” label.

The chain stores are also seeing increased sales in core grocery staple items, and a decreased demand for “meals-on-the-go,” said Kelli McGannon, another spokeswoman.

Gilmore, whose store is across from the recently-shuttered Little Nell Residences project in Base Village at Snowmass, also expects to offer fewer hot prepared meals in the coming months, citing the construction downturn. Many of the town’s construction workers primarily came in to purchase premade lunches, he said.

“We’ll probably be very careful this year … to make sure we don’t over-produce,” he said.

And in general, Gilmore said he’s seeing price matter more to all consumers.

“Instead of not even caring what the’re picking up, now they’re looking [at price],” he said.

City Market is addressing that trend.

In response to the recession, the store recently lowered prices on produce, with the “More Value for the Way You Live” campaign said McGannon. She wasn’t sure how much prices had been lowered, but she said the store had made significant reductions on popular produce items.

Stores aren’t the only ones dropping prices, said Gilmore. He recently received some new pricing information and said it appears manufacturers are feeling the pinch and starting to drop their rates.

“We’re all looking … just to survive right now,” he said.

kredding@aspentimes.com


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