Neighborhood Grocery Stores: Creative, Resilient, Customer-Focused

Bob and Muhlissa Spendlove provide personalized service for their customers.

One of the few types of businesses that has not struggled for foot traffic during the pandemic are grocery stores. Considered essential businesses, grocery stores had to quickly adapt to new safety procedures. Some made more proactive accommodations for their customers to ease safety concerns.

Trader Joe’s in the Five Corners shopping area provides a designated shopping hour for older adults from 9–10 a.m. Neighborhood grocery stores also became more popular as customers found comfort in smaller spaces with less people and the ease of a quick shopping experience.

With disruptions to the supply chain, you might have noticed that some common household items were hard to find in the larger grocery stores. Yet, neighborhood food and convenience stores noticed an uptick in customers as they were able to meet the shopping needs of those hard-to-find items while providing a more personalized customer experience.

The Grainery

One small grocery business that specializes in health food options and has been in Burien for forty-five years, The Grainery, made a concerted effort to address the needs of their customers, many who were older adults that had expressed concerns to them about entering public spaces. Owners Bob and Muhlissa Spendlove listened, and they now provide curbside and contactless pickup for customers, with an employee delivering the groceries straight to your car. This attention to detail and personalized service is just one of the benefits a small business can offer.

Location:  13629 1st S. Avenue, Burien

Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m–6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sundays and Mondays, Closed

Man puts grocery bag in trunk of car.
Bob Spendlove, co-owner of The Grainery, delivers groceries to a customer’s care. Photo credit: City of Burien/Amanda Snyder.
Lorraine Chachere
Economic Development Specialist at 
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