My wife and I took some time and changed our usual weekly shopping routine and decided to visit the new Market Street store, formally Albertson's. Here are a few of my initial thoughts on the new store.

Moe and I usually shop at the grocery store that is closest to our home, so it was a choice to drive a mile or so out of our way to try out the new Market Street off Loop 250 and Midkiff in Midland.

Getting in the parking lot was a bit of a challenge due to some road construction and waiting on a spot was a bit frustrating...more on that later.

Once we entered the store, we notice that there had been some big changes since we had last visited; namely the Starbucks, the deli, produce section and small cafeteria area. For those folks that want to get in, do their shopping and then grab a quick meal to take back to the family, this is a great bonus. The food is hot, the servers plentiful and the prices fair.

The produce area is much improved from the previous displays. The isles are bigger and it appears there is more variety in the merchandise being offered. Fresh is good.

Probably the biggest and most welcomed change or addition depending on how you want to look add it is, the service. We were asked by not less than five different store employees if they could help us find looking for, if we was finding everything to our satisfaction, or just a look in the eye and friendly 'Hello glad you're here!'.

That kind of service hasn't been seen in West Texas for years. I'm not kidding when I say that; I literally can't remember service being that personal in a local supermarket since the 70s.

Probably the most telling thing about the success of the new Market Street was that I ran into a lot of people I knew. People I would normally run into in my previous grocery store, with big smiles on their faces saying the exact same thing. It will become obvious that locals appreciate friendly service, something that has been absent for a long while. It changed the entire atmosphere of the store more than the other aesthetics.

Of course there are complaints: Number one, the parking. Number two go back and read number one. Other than that one thing--that will probably improve as the new wears off.

For us, Market Street is a very welcome addition to our shopping routine.