Last night my favorite whole foods market looked like it’d been hit by a tornado, and it had nothing to do with the high winds that breezed through Indianapolis two nights ago. No, it’s worse, The Sunflower Market is closing! The Sunflower Market, that had a cute little sunflower logo, the best price on Go Lean! Crunch, and a freezer full of Indian TV dinners. The Sunflower Market, where I shamelessly ate half a mini-pound cake in public for the first time in my life. The Sunflower Market, that sent me coupons for $5 off a $25 purchase. I halfway wish it had been hit by a tornado because then we could blame the elemental forces of nature for this soon-to-be gaping hole in my life and not greedy corporate overlords.
I read an article on Tuesday that the store was closing, so I decided to stop by Wednesday night to see what was left. Not much. I wish I had a camera phone to document the devastation. The sushi bin was as devoid of fish as the muddy pond in my grandparents’ back yard. The fruit section was halfway empty, as if the tropics had been hit by a winter freeze. And all the Go Lean! Crunch was gone (and presumably gone lean). I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat my Mango cereal again, since I’ve never seen it stocked anywhere else. The dairy section was pretty hard hit too, so I’m glad I’m not a Fage yogurt addict like everyone else on the planet. There was one last Indian TV dinner sitting alone in the freezer case, so I can say I was the last person to buy Channa Masala at the Sunflower Market, and at 25% off too.
Walking through the store was somewhat fascinating because you could clearly tell what the most popular products were. That’s because they weren’t there. Only the black print on price labels told you what had once dwelled on the shelves. There is a Wild Oats store fairly close to me, so I will soon be visiting them to see if they stock Tandoor Chef’s yummy Palak Paneer (Spinach and Indian cheese in a highly seasoned tomato onion base). I only have one left in my freezer and if Wild Oats doesn’t stock it, I might have to save it for a special occasion. But it’s not all about the food I might no longer be eating. I had a small emotional attachment to this store. I liked the atmosphere, the location. I liked the logo. I liked walking down the Monon Trail, getting some groceries and walking back. It’s the experiences I had coming and going to the store and walking through its aisles that I’ll miss. That, and all those free samples they had on Saturdays. (Hopefully all those cookies I ate that one time didn’t bankrupt them.)