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Friday, May 22, 2015

Where To Go First? The Old State House in Providence

There have been seven State Houses in Rhode Island.  For many years the Rhode Island State Legislature met in different towns and cities in the state:  Newport, Providence, Warwick, Portsmouth and South Kingstown.

The Old State House replaced the legislature's former meeting place, the courthouse, that burned in 1758.

Eric on the steps of the Old State House

State government grew and Rhode Island needed to consolidate its legislative sessions in one place. This building was replaced by the current State House that was built between 1805 
and 1904.

Our next stop, the current State House, is just a few blocks away.

The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitor Bureau in the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence

A favorite first stop for Eric and me in a new city is the Visitor Center.  We like to get the "lay of the land" while spending time with locals, who have great recommendations on where to find a great place to eat.

The Rhode Island 
Convention Center
is very impressive,

Eric & I picked up a few
maps & brochures at the

During our visit here I found out that there are numerous tours of Providence start at the Convention Center.  Thayer Street has LOTS of fun, interesting places to eat.  It just depends on what Eric and I are in the mood for later today.

What's Going On in Burrillville, Rhode Island?

Eric planned our drive to Rhode Island on secondary roads.

I got a picture of the Burrillville
 sign when we entered
Rhode Island.

We were enjoying our twisting and turning drive through New England when Eric and I noticed a police car and a police cargo truck in front of a house.  Our guess was that the house was being raided for drugs.

After Eric and I returned from our day trip to Rhode Island, I did an internet search with "Burrvillille, Rhode Island" and "police search home."  Eric and I were wrong.

The house, on Douglas Pike, in Burrillville was being searched because it is the last place Worcester, Massachusetts man, Domingo Ortiz was seen on May 5.  

His mother reported him missing to the Worcester Police.  The search for Mr. Ortiz brought the police to Burrillville, Rhode Island.

I hope that he is found soon and that he is safe.

Breakfast at Churchill's Village Eatery in Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Fellow campers, Bobbie & Gene
recommended Churchill's
Village Eatery for breakfast.

There were some open
tables when we arrived
at 9:00 am.

A diner at the counter

Eric's Breakfast: Eggs Over
Easy, Bacon, Home Fries
& Rye Toast

I ordered Eggs Over Hard
with Sausage, Home Fries
& Rye Toast for my

While Eric paid for our
breakfasts, I read Churchill's
Award Wall.

They are a consistent winner
of The Sturbridge Readers' 
Choice Awards.

We are now fueled up and ready for our drive east to Providence, Rhode Island.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Market Basket in Hudson, New Hampshire... Another State & Another Supermarket to Explore

Eric and I have been "on the road" since September, 2012.  We have visited 39 states and 5 Canadian provinces.  During our travels, I've developed a fascination with supermarkets and have written blog posts on 42 supermarkets in the United States and Canada.

After Eric and I returned our grandson, Sean, to Mommy, we went to a Market Basket.  Eric always has a few items on his shopping list,  I love walking around supermarkets, taking pictures and writing about what I see during my visits.

Retail sales of food, clothing, auto parts, etc. is based on information gathered from psychology, studies, observation and experiences of the owners, employees and shoppers.

Retailing relies on regimentation.  The aisles in many stores are straight,  The ends have specials displayed on them,  One thing I've seen in many grocery stores is individual creativity used in many displays.  What will I learn at Market Basket?

Marilyn, my daughter Diane's mother-in-law, is a loyal
Market Basket shopper.  She relies on the company's
 great prices & weekly sales.

I like the hand written sign with the latest specials
listed next to the store's doors.

I was approached by a Market Basket manager who told me I wasn't allowed to take pictures in the store.  That made me sad.  Market Basket was full of customers bustling around the store with lists in hand.  Employees were busy stocking shelves.  This store sells a lot of groceries, household products, cards and other merchandise.

The displays in some of the aisles were clever.  The Baby Aisle had a great display of plastic dishes and sippy cups.  

Market Basket may be camera shy because they had a tough year.  The company was at the epicenter corporate and worker tensions from June, 2014 through August, 2014.  Beloved CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, was ousted on June 23, 2014.  Employees went out on strike and continued their demands for Arthur T.'s return.  Eight of the strike organizers were fired. More employees walked out on their jobs.  Suppliers refused to deliver much needed stock. Shoppers boycotted Market Basket stores.  The company lost an estimated 70 million dollars a day during the strike.

New employees were brought in and part-time employees had their hours cut.  Next came allegations that Market Basket was a hostile workplace.    Owners of rival supermarket chain, Hannaford, put in a bid to buy Market Basket.  After much negotiations, Arthur T. bought a majority stake in the company and the striking employees returned.  Nearly a year later, Market Basket management may be feeling leery of shoppers with cameras.

Market Basket, like Price Chopper and Dollar General Market may not allow pictures inside their stores because the supermarket business is a tough one.  Profit margins typically run from one to two percent for supermarkets.  After paying for leases, utility bills, suppliers and employees, there isn't much to return to the stockholders.  Whatever competitive edge a supermarket chain has created it doesn't want to share with its rivals.  

My unscientific study of supermarkets is of an industry with many levels of services.  Some have the basics - produce, meats and fish, frozen foods, dairy, canned goods, a few household cleaners, diapers and pet foods.  Some, like Hy-Vee, are a shopping experience with Sushi Chefs, a Dietitian, a lovely buffet and my favorite, the cold case with milk, eggs and juice adjacent to Check Outs.