Happy Easter? Bah, Humbug!

***Here’s an oldie but a goodie in the holiday spirit.***

Easter is my least-favorite holiday.  At Christmas you get good chocolate and lots of presents.  At Easter you get Peeps. No comparison.

As a kid growing up in Eureka, I was subjected to all kinds of barbaric treatment by well-meaning family members. I HAD to have a new coat, made from scratch by a lady on “A” Street, Audrey Hansen and her mother. Anyone remember them? Every coat involved two or three fittings all of which involved repeatedly being stuck with pins. These days we’d call it child abuse. The ladies were still in business when I was in sixth grade and had to have a Tiger Lily costume for the Christmas Pageant. More pins.

My normal hair wouldn’t do for Easter, either. My grandmother would march me down to Daly’s to have my hair permed. Remember that salon on the mezzanine level?  The sulphurous fumes from the frying hair filled the whole store.  Ah, the good old days.

Like it or not, Easter is a big holiday for retail spending. The National Retail Federation tells us each of us will spend $140 on Easter this year.  I’m not even close. I bought some Reese’s and a Paas egg coloring kit.  Don’t ask.  Our Easter Dinner will be a pork roast rescued from the freezer. I like to slow-cook them so that the house smells good for hours.  

That NRF article includes some fascinating data on how people plan to spend the holiday. almost half of you will be in church.  Which is good.  I don’t go myself, but I definitely  approve of church. Almost a third of you will be surfing the web on Easter, maybe doing some online buying. I asked the friendly staff at Partrick’s the other day about their holiday sales and they reported that while their big days are Christmas and Valentine’s,  Easter comes in a close third,  representing maybe 15% of yearly revenues. That’s pretty much the same as on the national level.  

So Happy Easter, everyone.  Support your local candy store and don’t make your kids get their hair fried. And go to the Zoo. It’ll make you feel good.

END

MURPHY’S Anniversary Sale Features Bargains

The Murphy’s flyer this morning features sale prices at all their stores honoring their 45th Anniversary. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs @$1.45/lb.  Also those chicken spinach feta burgers @$3.45/lb,  pork shoulder roast @ $2.45/lb and cantaloupe @ $.45/lb.

They are having in-store drawings every day too although at the Cutten store yesterday it was hard to figure out what the prize was.  45 years is a long time to prosper on †he Redwood Coast so stop by and  say “hi”.

END

SHOPPING MYSTERIES: Loleta Cheese Version

You’ve heard of Mystery Shoppers? This is our new feature, Shopping Mysteries, wherein we will point out various incongruities and contradictions in our local retail scene.  To wit:

The Loleta Cheese Factory is always a great place to take visitors.  Surely they can pick up an edible souvenir at the very cheapest price because they’re right there at the source, right?  Wrong.  The cheese at the store is confusingly packaged in 11-oz chunks, but the bottom line is you pay 53¢ per ounce or $8.48 a pound. 

Loleta Cheese at Murphy’s Market (we shop in Cutten) is $7.99 a pound. 

Loleta Cheese at Winco is, apparently, $6.99 a pound but there were several more cheaply marked packages that were close to their expiration date. 

So there you have it.  The “close-to-the source” mythology doesn’t work with cheese factories any better than it does at our outrageously expensive farmers’ markets. The laws of supply and demand  are not subject to strict enforcement.

END

 

Sticker Shock at Loleta Cheese, Good Eats at Greene Lily, Southside Mike has a home on Myrtle Avenue

I visited Loleta Cheese over the weekend to buy a box of cheese which would have to be shipped. I’ve done this several times in the past and I guess I got spoiled by their generous free-shipping policy. Well, NO MORE!  To mail six cheeses, total value $33, I paid a $12.95 mailing charge PLUS $5 for “handling”.  I understand that they had to raise prices in view of their bankruptcy but how about phasing it in?  Or something.  Anyway,  35% is too much to pay for shipping in my book so I will be looking for other Humboldt-made  products to mail in the future. Jellies are too heavy and breakable, chocolate melts.  Ideas, anyone?

The Greene Lily at 307 2nd Street in Old Town has been garnering enthusiastic reviews since it opened last Fall and I feared it would be too crowded on opening day of the RCMF.  We found plenty of seating in the cheerful space and our breakfasts were excellent.  The chicken-fried steak ($12.95) is the star of the  show but the lady at the next table was enjoying their Cobb Salad, (also $12.95) which looked good. The biscuits are excellent and we shall be returning.  Nice place.

Finally, Southside Mike’s has found a home!!  After being available -sporadically- at the Myrtle Avenue center (think Myrtlewood Liquors and John’s Fine Cigars),  Mike Ross is now going to be grilling there EVERY THURSDAY, FRIDAY and SATURDAY from 10 to 5 but if you wait until after 4pm they run our of things. His awesome tri-tip san ($10) is huge and melts in your mouth.   They were out of the Smoked Mac’n’Cheese ($5) but I shall  return.   ‘Way to go, Mike!  The new website is under construction.

END

Well, that didn’t take long! Fortuna Grocery Outlet building for sale already!

With all this rain, we haven’t even made it to Fortuna to check out the new GO and here the building is for sale already! Talk about a quick flip!  Here, courtesy of LoopNet,  is the listing and while you’re  at it you can also pick up the hotel on the Riverwalk. Read about it HERE.

END

Sports Authority Store Closings List

Sports Authority is closing 140  stores, 19 of which are in California.  The closures do not include the Eureka store,  according to this list.  Nearby SA stores that will be closing include those in Redding, Corte Madera and Stockton and, in Oregon, those in Roseburg, Klamath Falls, Salem and Hillsboro. 

END

Your Handy Clip-and-Save Guide To Dollar Stores and Dollar General Stores And So On

Do you get irritated by those Dollar General ads that show up in the paper with NO info as to where you can actually access the vaunted bargains?  Help has arrived, but to straighten this out, we need to discuss as well as the regular old Dollar Stores the fact that these stores are sometimes doing business under names like Family Dollar. You see a lot of those in the South.

It helps that the plain old “Dollar Stores” are the ones where everything really DOES cost a dollar.  The following is a locator for the honest-to-God  Dollar Stores in Humboldt currently:

Dollar Tree, Valley West Center in Arcata, phone 825-8401

Dollar Tree, 1111 Myrtle, on the CVS/Starbucks side, phone 443-5515

Dollar Tree, 800 W Harris, the Eureka Mall,

Dollar Tree, 721 S Fortuna Blvd, 726-7850, Redwood Village, Fortuna

Bigfoot Dollar, 76 Country Club Drive, Willow Creek, 530-629-2100.

Now, lets talk about Dollar General.  They carry stuff which costs  from $1 to $25. They are at:

650 South Fortuna Blvd, no phone listed and

44 Davis Street, Rio Dell , 764-1734.  

The Dollar General stores are more upscale (comparatively) and carry things like Tracfones.  I assume they are intendIng to expand in the county because otherwise I can’t understand why they  publish an expensive supplement to the Times every Sunday for only two stores. 

Obviously (to me,’cause I’m a cheapskate)) the only ones worth patronizing are the REAL dollar stores. They’re great for wrapping paper and picture frames, also dishes if you check the labels carefully. 

Let me know if you see any more of these critters.  The world of discount retail is shadowy and ephemeral.  Only a few months ago there was a Dollar store of in Bayshore Mall, near the credit union. Just browsing online, it seems to be gone.  And I’m not willing to brave the rain to go check.  Meanwhile, you can print out our handy-dandy guide and keep it in your wallet.   It still works even when ATT goes out.

END

Shopping in Eureka, 1959

The news lately has been so horrible l want to regress to an earlier time. This post from three years ago reflects the same feeling.

     The news lately has been so disturbing and distressing it’s only natural to retreat into reveries of a more innocent time. At least that’s what I’m doing.

     Eureka in the ‘Fifties was very different in feeling than it is now. Going down town to do Christmas shopping was exciting because you could discover what new stores had opened, not just what was the latest to close down.  There was a feeling of prosperity in the air and the trains still rumbled along the waterfront, not that we went down there.  The Bank of America was the edge of the known world to a kid in those days because we weren’t allowed to go any further toward the Bay, not without an adult. Anyone remember the Sportsmen’s Cafe? The burgers were flavored with the excitement of being close to the Unknown, just catty-corner from Daly’s.

      Daly’s could always be counted on for lots of holiday decor, as could the other stores: Bistrin’s, McGaraghan’s,  Lerner’s, the Mode O’Day.  I loved Sears’ Cafeteria on Fifth Street where Millie Sears dished up chicken pot pie, the all-time comfort food.  I remember being with my grandmother and my Aunt Evelyn Olander in a diner called Tiny’s that was on or near the corner of 5th and F.  The place was packed with shoppers and the windows steamed against the darkness. We ate spaghetti, which we never got at home,  and all was well with the world.

     On Fridays there would always be a reason to go to Lazio’s.  Friday lunchtime it seemed  the whole town was there, including the priests from St. Bernard’s. We watched the ladies slinging crabs and picked up chowder to take home.  Eureka was a great place to grow up in.  Let’s hope the New Year brings back some of the comfort and joy we knew in days past.  Happy Holidays to all!

 END