Big box o’ groceries

So, the other day I went to the Colton Wal-Mart and was surprised to find that they now have fresh produce, meats and other refrigerated items along with the frozen goods and non-refrigerated groceries they used to carry.

Only now, they carry a lot more groceries than they used to.

They even have a small deli and a small bakery.

A friend told me that the Redlands Target is also gearing up for fresh produce and meats. They’re remodeling now — and have already expanded their non-refrigerated grocery selection — and are expecting to have everything available June 1.

The Upland Target has already been reconfigured and is selling fresh groceries.

The best way I can describe it is that they are mini versions of their “Super” counterparts.

The Upland Target carries a decent quantity of a smallish variety of goods.

In other words, they don’t have a huge selection, but what they do carry, they’ve got a lot of.

If you’re looking for bananas, you’ll probably be in luck. Kiwis, not so much.

The Colton Wal-Mart, on the other hand, seems to have a decent variety of items, in maybe slightly smaller quantities.

It’s much closer in feel to a Super Wal-Mart’s selection than the Upland Target is to a Super Target’s.

I’ve still got questions about the whole trend, though.

I know mixing groceries in with other household merchandise is not a new concept. I’m old enough to remember Gemco and Fedco.

For one thing, I’m kind of curious about what goes into the decision to add fresh groceries to a big box store.

In Colton, it’s kind of a no-brainer, since the nearest full-service grocery store (Stater Bros.) is over a mile away.

In Upland, it’s a little dicier, since there’s an Albertsons in the shopping center directly across the street from Target.

In Redlands, the nearest grocery store is the Food4Less that’s (ironically) in the same center as Wal-Mart, about a mile and a half away.

And what about that Redlands Wal-Mart? Would they add groceries there, since there’s already a Food 4 Less in the same center?

Or isn’t Wal-Mart planning to just open a Super Wal-Mart nearby and close that location?

Wasn’t that the crux of Measure O?

And what about all the union hoo-ha over these non-union big box stores? It seems like this is only going to inflame the situation more.

Are you willing to cross a picket line to shop at Target or Wal-Mart, if it comes to that?

It’s all so convoluted.

How do you feel about this latest twist? Do you welcome the opportunity to pick up some strawberries along with your new Merona top? Or are you dreading yet another stop on your grocery trek?

Feel free to sound off below.

Update: Business reporter Andrew Edwards has taken a look at the trend in reference to a possible grocery union strike. You can read his findings here.