S&S Market

When the H&E Market closed a few months after Ron and I moved to Tulsa, we were heartbroken. The little mom-and-pop grocery store at the corner of 33rd West Avenue and Oklahoma 66 was nearly as thrilling a discovery as the fleet of ice-cream trucks that tool down our block on a regular basis.

The H&E had much to offer: a full line of groceries; friendly employees who would carry your purchases out to the car for you; tiny bottles of Coke and blue Frostie cream soda in the cooler; a meat counter serving thinly shaved ham, thick slices of bacon, juicy steaks, and some of the best ham salad on the planet; and a jar of Kits taffy next to each cash register.

We were delighted when we learned that Tulsa’s Shop and Save Market, located just down the road at 3304 W. 61st St., had hired several of the H&E’s employees — including the butcher, who brought his wonderful ham salad recipe with him.

Like the H&E, the Shop and Save — known locally as the S&S — carries a respectable selection of groceries. You can’t buy starfruit, nori sheets, organic Nayonaise, or Tofutti Cuties there, and the produce section could use work (the selection is limited, and the quality is variable, particularly when it comes to bananas and green peppers), but you can buy enough food to live on for a week, and I suspect a loyal customer could probably talk the manager into making a special order or two.

You can also pick up lunch at the deli counter and fill your gas tank at the pumps outside. The S&S doesn’t have Kits next to the registers, but it does have long strips of Neapolitan-striped taffy pressed flat between sheets of waxed paper, which is arguably just as cool.

Service is still a priority (if you need help carrying your groceries out to the car, someone will happily do that for you), the customers are friendly and polite, and while the selection is relatively limited, the tradeoff is a store that is small enough and laid out efficiently enough that you can buy a week’s worth of groceries and get out the door in under 20 minutes.

My only complaint with the S&S is that it closes at 8 p.m., which is a bit earlier than I’d like. But its location, size, and efficient layout make it a simple enough matter for me to stop and pick up whatever I need on the way home from work, making the limited hours a non-issue on most evenings.

Some items are slightly more expensive than what you find at big-box supermarkets, but here, too, there’s a tradeoff: I always get out of the S&S cheaper than I get out of Reasor’s or Albertson’s, because the S&S just puts the food on the shelves where it belongs and calls it a day, so I don’t have any trouble sticking to a shopping list. (OK, so maybe I buy the occasional bottle of root beer or piece of taffy just because it looked good … but my splurges seldom amount to more than $2.)

At the big-box stores, strategically placed endcaps filled with elaborate displays invariably tempt me into buying an extra $25 or $30 worth of groceries I don’t need (and probably won’t eat) just because they’re on sale or they look good. That pretty much cancels out the $5 or so that I’d save on the total cost of the items on my list by buying at a big box instead of the S&S.

Value: A-
Service: A+
Convenience: A-
Specialty: A+
Overall: A

~ by redforkhippie on January 31, 2007.

2 Responses to “S&S Market”

  1. When I was growing up there it was called the J&J and then became the S&S as I approached adolescence. I still remember everything about the place. I also loved H&E!

  2. Shop and Save has reopened! 11-2011 (aka S & S Grocery )Come by and check out the best meat market,deli in Tulsa! Come on by and support a grocery store that has been open since the 1950s when the Robbins family first opened J&J Grocery at that location! Located on SW corner of South 33 RD W AVE & West 61 ST across the street west of Westbound Club & Scottys Bar.

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