11.07.2012

Central Market: A Love Story



The background for this post starts long ago, December of 2009 to be exact. My parents had been planning a fabulous holiday Hawaiian getaway for my family and we were all stoked. But when Melissa found out she was pregnant with Calvin, we knew it was going to be too close to his due date for her to fly, let alone fly to a tropical island less than a month before. We considered going without her little family but quickly decided that it would be too sad to leave them. So instead we rented a house in Austin, TX. We flew into San Antonio (where Melissa and Aaron lived at the time) and then drove to Austin. 

The house was great. The weather was great. We were all pumped for a fun weekend ahead. We drove into town fairly late into the evening and sent the boys off to find a grocery store so we could have some milk and cereal the next morning (this family is serious about our breakfast). When we woke up, Melissa and I headed to the kitchen ready to eat. There were a few varieties of cereals including a shredded wheat situation. I was pleased to find a cereal I had never heard of: Mango Peach Passion. 


When Melissa saw the cereal choices she began to cry. Literally. 
(Remember she was 8 months pregnant at the time.) 
I remember her saying something like, "I just want the brand name Frosted Mini Wheats. None of this off-brand healthy garbage." 
My dad and brother-in-law tried to defend themselves. Aaron said, "Well they didn't have Frosted Mini Wheats. I checked the whole aisle but it was as fancy grocery store and they only had the expensive stuff." My ears perked right up when I heard the words "fancy grocery store" while I ate every spoonful of the mango peach passion with much delight. 

I went back with my dad later in the day and I couldn't even handle the awesomeness. There were huge vegetables and fruits as decorations outside the store. The inside was even better. In fact, it was amazing. I had never seen so many varieties of potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, and apples. I loved the layout of the space, the design of the signs, the uniforms on the staff, ALL of the samples, and the land of cheese that is bigger than a master bed-room. I was in awe and I wanted to stay forever. 



I came home and called the graphic-designer-temporary-home-teacher-boyfriend I had at the time. I literally talked for an hour about this grocery store and how it rocked my world. I think I was just overcome with the word "variety." There were so many choices and so many different types of people making those choices. Clearly the boy was tired of talking about food because he broke up with me 2 days later (yep, over the phone while I was still in Texas). But, no worries because so much good came out of this discussion; I decided to move to Texas. You may be thinking, wow, Bec. Hold your horses, it's just a grocery store. But to me Central Market is much more than a grocery store. 




Thanks to the dedication of my parents, I have had the great fortunate opportunity to travel quite a bit in my short amount of living.  And I've seen some great things and experienced a myriad of cultures, but there was something about going to Central Market that made me want to stay there forever. I wanted to get to know all of these people who cared about food like I did. I didn't want to just make a quick tourist visit, I wanted this to be MY grocery store. I decided that as much as I love everything about Utah and all the people in it, I needed to break out of my comfort zone and spend some time living in an unfamiliar place. And it was Central Market that gave me the initial push I needed. 





So let's fast forward to my life now. I got a job. I moved to Dallas. I settled into my apartment and felt pretty lucky to be walking distance from Wal-Mart and Target. One day I was chatting it up with my new friend Mike (who had so kindly just moved my new couch into our apartment), and the topic of food came up. 
He said, "So would you consider yourself a foodie?" 
I said, "Oh, yes. Definitely." 
He replied, "Then you'll want to check out a pretty cool grocery store. It's called Central... "
I cut him off right then and there. "They have a Central Market in DALLAS?!?" I yelled. 
"Yeah, it's right down the street, like half a block walking distance."

I was ecstatic. And I went the very next day. I slowly sauntered in the bulk foods sections admiring all of the nuts, chocolates, and individual spices. I grabbed a few items that Mike had specifically recommended and then headed to the floral section where I can get a little something special. It is great because you can buy individual bunches of flowers for $3. You get all the fun without the big price tag.  I've been hooked ever since and I visit the store at least every other week for most all of my grocery needs. 



When I started working for The Richards Group, I saw lots of Central Market posters around the office. We have a policy that any decor on the outside of our desk has to have been created by our company. So I wondered if Central Market was our client. It wasn't until a couple months later that I learned we were indeed their agency. I knew that I had to get myself on the Central Market team, but I wasn't quite sure how to make that happen. 

I got an email back in February from my supervisor needing a volunteer to work on the mobile site for the Central Market chocolate festival. I wrote back immediately and volunteered. I got the mobile site up without too much trouble and I am happy to report that I have been on the Central Market digital team ever since. And it has been pure bliss. I get to create all of their emails, make their facebook pages, advertise their festivals, and update their desktop and mobile site. 



We had a hatch chile peppers event and it was fun to see the process from the meetings to the actual implementation of all the advertising. I got the weekly specials in the mail, I made the form online, and then I bought the actual chiles in the store.  






Last week we went live with all of our holiday extravaganza. This was my favorite page I got to make. You get to move the food and decorate your own tree, complete with twinkle lights! 



Can you tell I love this store? I don't think I have ever loved another store or  brand quite like Central Market (Well, maybe Costco. I really love Costco.) But Central Market has become a little "happy place" for me. I go there when I need food, when I need some space, or when I just want to get in touch with the locals. Sometimes when I walk to Central Market with my wide brimmed hat, wearing a skirt and sandals, with a tote bag in hand and I think, wow, this life I have is pretty darn perfect. 




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