What’s good fam! This unexpectedly warm winter weather has allowed the beautiful folks of Cbus to hit the streets and gallivant around without the worry of that cold fluffy stuff, and I for one couldn’t be happier! Now, before you slay me for my aversion to snowflakes and open fires, your time will soon be here my snow loving, boot hugging friends.

I’ve observed some wonderful things whilst out and about in the city. The partnerships to support the local community by collaborating together is so heartwarming. From the Extra Life campaign led by the lovely Cheryl Harrison of Drink Up Columbus, to the recent Columbus Soup donation awarded to Abe’s Kitchen, our city loves to give back in the most awesome of ways.

Another thing I’ve noticed are insanely huge crowds at grocery stores and bare shelves. Recently I experienced a moment of trauma and hysterics when a friend asked me to pick up a bag of flour from the grocery store. I immediately said yes, confident that I’d handle the mission like a boss. I mean, it was just ONE item.

What she wanted was quite specific and because I am the absolute worst shopper, I figured my best option was to hit up a big box store to guarantee product availability. After 7 minutes of circling the parking lot for a space I made it inside, narrowly escaping injury from a young child who flew past me. Apparently I didn’t receive the memo that the grocery store was actually a football field in disguise. Go figure.

As I made my way up and down each aisle, confusion built as I tried to decipher the product placement code. Desperation began to take root as I discovered misplaced tag after misplaced tag. Soon the aisles became one big blur, and I couldn’t tell one item from another. Almost involuntarily I fell into a brisk walk while chanting “find the flour, find the flour,” willing myself not to morph to a full-on run out the front door. I found myself facing hard decisions. Would I find the unbleached, multigrain, twice sifted organic flour, or would I crawl into the fetal position on the floor and watch two ladies fight over the last can of cranberry sauce? As I struggled to maintain my composure and focus, one thought coursed through my mind: this is for the birds.

It’s an undeniable truth that grocery shopping is an unavoidable task for most of us. As I trudged back to my car, I began to wonder “If I must do this, why not shop at establishments that stock a plethora of local brands like Bake Me Happy,  Luna Kombucha, CaJohns,  Middle West Spirits, and other Ohio Proud products?

It was at this exact moment that the light bulb flickering above me in the grocery store parking lot began to shine bright. Kid.You.Not.

If you’re like me and would happily venture out to local markets and groceries to complete this necessity but don’t know where to go, I have great news for you. I created a heat map just for us!! I have even better news. The map is right here. Look down. Straight down. Yes, there it is!

Did I miss your beloved grocer or market that has an abundance of local products flowing out the door? Leave me a note in the comments section below.

Until next time, get your local-owned on.