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Calling all Gator chefs de college cuisine! Here’s where to find your grocery stores.
Those of you from Florida — or any of the Southeastern states, actually — will be familiar with the major supermarket chain, Publix. Publix is a Lakeland, Florida-based supermarket featuring every department found in most grocery stores. You’ll find fresh produce, a deli and a bakery, fresh meat and seafood, canned goods, dairy and frozen foods, soda, beer and wine, flowers and stationery, candy and more. Their Pub Subs are the uncontested taste of home for Floridians, both native and UF-adopted!
Conveniently, Publix has recently opened a smaller location directly across from the north side of the UF campus, featuring prepared foods that include more than just those famous subs. Your student can satisfy their craving for bento bowls, sushi, Florida-produced grocery items, and Starbucks coffee, all in one place. This location hopes to augment students’ near-campus take-out and dining-out options.
There are three other larger Publix locations that UF students typically frequent, including a store on University and SW 34th street (just outside the northeast corner of the campus) and two more in the Butler Plaza Area. The larger location in Butler Plaza West on Archer also features an adjacent Publix Liquor store, and the smaller location in the Butler Plaza’s Esplanade is known for its enviable wine selection.
More Links in the Grocery Chain
Other major chain supermarkets available to your student shopper include Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and Aldi. Trader Joe’s enjoys a (well-deserved) devoted following, and I don’t know a UF student who isn’t happy to be able to shop at their convenient location in the same Butler Plaza area mentioned above — easy access, easy parking, easy on the wallet. Fresh Market is a bit further away, but definitely worth the drive or Uber ride on Tuesdays, when they have their weekly fresh meat market specials. And IMO, their olive bar is the best around.
Whole Foods has also opened at the renovated Butler Plaza on Archer Road. In addition to its fresh produce, seafood, meat department, and prepared food section, it also has a create-your-own acai bowl bar, a pasta bar, and a hot food station. Their lounge area seats up to 100 people and sells beer. And for those who have Amazon prime accounts (remember the student discount for Amazon prime!), discounts include 10 percent off sale items along with exclusive deals. To get these discounts at Whole Foods, download the Whole Foods app and sign on with your Amazon prime log-in info. You can then show your app discount to the cashier or give the phone number associated with your Prime membership.
Another recent addition to the Gainesville community is Aldi. Aldi is known for being very reasonably priced while selling their own brands and offering them in smaller quantities. Students can bring their own bag or buy one of their reusable bags…and don’t forget a quarter to rent the shopping cart. Sustainability brings increased affordability, too! The fresh produce at Aldi is exceptionally well-priced, and they have a marvelous cheese selection. You’ll also want to check seasonal specials there. Aldi is where we can find our favorite red pepper jelly during the winter holidays. There are two locations in Gainesville – one at Butler Plaza next to Lowe’s and one on NW 13th Street.
Alternative Grocery Fun
Two other food stores worth checking out are known for being organic and food-to-table type markets. One is called Ward’s and the other is called Earth Origins. Ward’s, about three miles northeast of the UF campus, is a family-owned, local grocery store that relies heavily on local vendors. My daughter was first introduced to this affordable local treasure by her friend, a Gainesville native, who religiously buys his freshly roasted coffee beans here. Along with the coffee and groceries, they also shop their extensive bulk foods offering, inexpensive live herbs, and vast selection of wine and beer — all at college-kid affordable prices.
Earth Origins Market is a bit further away, near The Oaks Mall. They like to call themselves the “green neighborhood market,’ and accommodate various diets and lifestyles including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, keto, and more. Visit their website to find out how to save 10% on your grocery purchases there.
Ethnic stores are another great grocery resource. Look for them tucked into various corners around campus or in the local community. A few favorites include Eastern Market, India Bazaar, La Aurora Latin Market, and (a personal favorite) Chun Ching Market. And nearly every day, there’s a farmer’s market somewhere in town. With a short Uber ride, your student can enjoy a happy excursion that will also fill their fridge.
Get the App
Can’t make it to the grocery store? Shipt will deliver groceries right to your student (for a fee, of course). There is also Instacart, which delivers from Publix, Whole Foods, Costco, CVS and more. And don’t forget about Seamless, which is super easy way to order food, including groceries, and you can cash in on their Perks.
Have your students download the apps for any of the grocery stores that offer them. Publix also has digital coupons. Taking a bit of time to check off applicable coupons may save them (and possibly you) some money. Publix also sells a two-part gift card that you can load directly from your local Publix onto your student’s gift card. It’s a helpful option if your student usually shops for their groceries at Publix.
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