Simply put, a grocery store is any retailer that specializes in selling food products. The term ‘grocer’ is derived from the French word grossier, meaning ‘wholesaler’. Many modern grocery stores offer the products of several specialized stores, combining the services of a bakery, butcher, and produce market, although establishments that do this are more specifically referred to as supermarkets. As they require a fairly large area, supermarkets are more common in newly developed areas. In more densely populated places, there is often not enough space for a supermarket to fit. In those places, small markets and grocery stores are still prevalent.
Historically, picking up all your groceries required trips to a few different establishments, but conveniently, all those trips have been collected and combined into one. Though, to many, this concept might be quite unfamiliar, grocery stores weren’t always places that you would go up and down aisles, selecting all you need and putting it into a cart. You used to place an order with the grocer, who would go and collect all your items for you. Hard to imagine today, as each grocery store would likely require dozens of employees dedicated entirely to filling customer orders.
Supermarkets have lessened the need for specialized grocery stores, although they still do exist. Generally, those stores fill more of a niche market, perhaps selling uncommon or premium quality ingredients, or ethnic foods not commonly sold in supermarkets.
For more information on Victoria BC’s grocery stores, start by checking out our member offers below.