Broadening Your Grocery Story Horizons

Are you stuck in your rut of going to Kroger every two weeks for the same groceries? Maybe you’re a Target person. Walmart? Marsh? Do you know exactly where everything in the store is located that you basically work there? While these large, chain groceries stores have competitive prices, familiar products, and good reputations, have you ever ventured out into Bloomington for the more local, and perhaps more unique, grocery stores? For some, these stores and marts are like hidden treasures around town, and if you haven’t been to any, I highly recommend stopping by. Whether you go to promote more local and smaller-owned stores, or just for a new experience, you’re sure to find what you need and more during your grocery adventure.

These grocery stores and markets are listed in no specific order because everyone’s shopping and dining experience is different. Perhaps you need a closer location, or you’re looking for a wider variety of fresh produce, or your budget (and diet) needs a change of pace- something on this list is sure to please. Listing every grocery store and food market available to us in Bloomington would take pages to list, so here I have just provided a few of my favorites. Bon appétit and happy exploring!

La Bonita Restaurant & Market, located at 1709 N College Ave, Bloomington, IN, 47404

La Bonita might be a little hard to find, but don’t let that dissuade you! You’ve probably heard of the restaurant part of La Bonita, but did you know the other half of the premise is a market that sells authentic Latino and Latino-American foods and products? If you’re looking for Latino foods or products, I recommend stopping in at La Bonita, because there’s a good chance you won’t find certain authentic products at larger grocery stores- and maybe you’ll stay for the great food and drinks at the restaurant.

Added Bonus: If you need to make a call to a loved one, friend, or whomever, in a Central or South American country, La Bonita offers a phone service so you can contact them. La Bonita also provides a money order service if you need to send money to a Central or South American country.

Bloomingfoods Market and Deli, 3 locations

East location: 3220 E 3rd St, Bloomington, IN, 47401

West location: 316 W 6th St, Bloomington, IN, 47404

Ivy Tech location: 200 Daniels Way, Bloomington, IN, 47404

Because of Bloomingfoods' several locations, there’s a good chance you’ve been there or have driven by. But what makes Bloomingfoods cool is that it’s a co-op. If you’re not sure what a co-op is, check out this page from the Bloomingfoods website. That being said, there’s plenty of fresh, organic, and local food located in each of the Bloomingfoods locations. While I have not been to the Ivy Tech location, both the west-side and the east-side locations are quaint, clean, and are organized well. Each of the locations also serves food to order based upon seasonal produce, and make sure to check out the garden in the front of the east location!

Lucky’s Market, located at 2424 S Walnut St, Bloomington, IN, 47401

Maybe you’ve noticed the Lucky’s coupons in the mail, but usually just toss them because let’s be honest, you’re not really a coupon person and you’ve never heard of Lucky’s before. That can change now! If you haven’t stopped in, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. If you go for the huge produce selection, or perhaps the huge alcohol selection, you’ll be more than happy with the variety of healthy products- some you are probably familiar with and some you’ve probably never encountered before. Browse the cheeses, the deli, the bulk products, the pre-made food or food-to-order, as well as the pharmacy section and other natural health products. If you’ve got time to spare, you can even stay and get a beer or some food at the built-in restaurant- you won’t be let down!

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, located at 3600 W 3rd St, Bloomington, IN, 47404

Despite its smaller size is comparison, Fresh Thyme is definitely loaded with great food, produce, and products! With so much fresh, natural, and organic products in the store, it makes sense that a large portion of the items are produced and sold by the store itself. The emphasis at Fresh Thyme is definitely on health, so whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to eat healthier, I can’t stress how awesome Fresh Thyme is. With such a large produce section, you’re sure to find whatever fresh fruits and organic veggies you need. If you need some cool new food ideas or healthy recipes, check out the website and explore your options!

B-Town International Market, located at 2901 E Covenanter Dr, Bloomington, IN, 47401

With such a large international Asian population in Bloomington, it would make sense that we have several international and Asian grocery stores and markets! While B-Town International Market is not the only one (and I encourage you to explore) it is the only one I’ve been to and I do love it. Selling a lot of Korean and Chinese and other Asian products that you normally wouldn’t find at your chain grocery store, you can also find here fresh produce at good prices as well as ready-made items to take home. Don’t speak a word of any Asian language? Do not fret, the store is easy to navigate and you can easily ask for help and find what you need.

Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, located at Showers Common, 401 N Morton St, Bloomington, IN, 47404

You’ve probably been to a Farmers Market before, but have you been to Bloomington’s? While this option is definitely a seasonal occurrence, we still have time! Continuing until mid-November on Saturday mornings and afternoons, Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market will be held in Showers Common packed with local Indiana farmers and stands selling a variety of foods and items. You’ll definitely find your seasonal produce, but also stop by for the steaks and other meats, herbs and flowers, organic soaps, lots of cheeses, and honestly whatever local Indiana farmers and sellers want to bring to the table! Not sure if they have what you’re looking for? Stop by the information stand and ask away. Paired with some live music and a friendly atmosphere, if you don’t end up buying anything, stopping at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market is always a great time.  

If nothing on this list helps, explore Bloomington for some of the other grocery stores and markets. If you need a more specialized or ethnic item, I’m sure there’s a place in Bloomington that has it in stock. Just remember, your next favorite grocery store haunt is only a hop, skip, and a jump away!

Check out these related blogs:

A Vegetarian's Guide to the World of IU Dining

Get up earlier and enjoy Bloomington Farmer's Market!

Tasty Tuesday: Bloomington’s 5 Hidden Gems

About The Author
Emilie MossEnglish Major, Class of 2018, Naperville, IL

Hi! I'm Emilie and I'm a junior majoring in English and minoring in Spanish at IU! I've always had a passion for reading and writing, and combined with my love for IU, I look forward to sharing ideas, content, stories, whatever it may be, with everyone else! In my free time I'm usually listening to music or playing piano, cooking, exploring as much as I can, and reading the work of other bloggers and writers.