Love in the frozen-food section

Roundy’s decision to dump its Rainbow grocery stores in Minnesota and head back to its roots caused a momentary heart skip for many people today. But it’s not like days of yesteryear when we had a meaningful relationship with the grocery store. Nobody knows our name, and with a few exceptions, what you can get at one store is pretty much the same as what you can get at another, minus the trappings of branding and marketing, of course.

For a few people, though, there is an emotional attachment to a particular grocery.

Take reader/listener Bill Childs’s story, for example. The Rainbow is where love fully bloomed.

Twenty years and a few months ago, in January or February 1994, I was finishing up college at Macalester; Dena had graduated the spring prior. We’d known each other for ten-plus years and had been dating for a little over two years. (We started college at the same time, but I took a little longer, having taken a semester off to work on Paul Wellstone’s 1990 campaign and a year to open a record store.)

I lived on Dayton Avenue, and Dena was on Selby, if memory serves. We did most of our grocery shopping at the Rainbow Foods in the Midway area, there near the basement bowling alley (no idea if that’s still there, but I went there pretty often for a time). We were going through the frozen foods area, just having a nice time shopping together, when I said, as I occasionally did, “This is great. We should get married.”

This time was different, though, in that Dena said, “Okay. When?”

Within a few hours, we had a date set and had called our parents. We got married on July 9, 1994, at the Wabasha Street Caves, which had just recently been bought by a construction company. And this summer, we’ll celebrate our twentieth anniversary in New York, where we’ll see Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig & the Angry Inch.

Probably won’t go to a frozen foods section to celebrate, and we certainly won’t eat frozen pizza.