HomeGoods Isn’t the First Place You Think of for Groceries — But Should It Be?
I grew up with a crafty, coupon-clipping grocery shopper of a dad, which primed me for a lifetime of unconventional grocery stops. It wasn’t uncommon for him to stop at one store for the best jelly donuts (RIP, my beloved Gooding’s), another for cold cuts and nothing else (Publix), and yet another to stock up on his preferred hoagie rolls for his Philly cheesesteaks (Wawa, naturally). I’ve absolutely taken my dad’s habits into adulthood; I believe any place can be a grocery stop if you really think about it. There’s World Market, REI, and yes, my new favorite in the rotation: HomeGoods.
With inflation still contributing to the higher prices at traditional grocers, discount retailers like HomeGoods offer a fun reprieve from the chore-like task of restocking your pantry. As it is with the furniture selection at HomeGoods, the grocery items make a statement all their own, too. Much like spotting a Goldilocks-perfect gold velvet ottoman or the sole ceramic dog wizard figurine that really ties together your Halloween decor, that “found” quality extends to the food section.
In fact, the thrill of the find itself is half the fun of food shopping at HomeGoods.
It’s no coincidence, either. “Shopping at HomeGoods always feels like a treasure hunt, especially in the food section because there’s always something new to discover and it changes per season,” says Jenny Reimold, a style expert for HomeGoods. It truly is a treasure trove, too, with options that extend further than most traditional grocers or your standard grocery list. There are hard-to-find licorice flavors, a smorgasbord of coffee syrups, and a garden variety of dried pasta in all manners of shapes and shades at less-than-specialty prices. Most exciting of all, each individual HomeGoods has its own surprises in store with a candy-box assortment of staples like jars of jams and olives, coffee pods, and seasoning blends that vary from location to location.
As a longtime Maxxinista, I’m no stranger to stopping in “real quick” to HomeGoods (or T.J. Maxx, a sister company to HomeGoods) for a bag of coconut oil popcorn to sneak into a nearby movie or a few unique beach snacks for the ol’ tote bag (venison jerky, anyone?). Think about it: Where else can you buy a bell jar with dueling metallic snakes inside while also stocking up on movie snacks, dog toys, and fresh socks? And while the food section of HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx is hardly new, both stores are making it clear they hope to make a mark as tastemakers all their own.
HomeGoods has its own distinct POV on food, too, with its recent foray into “find dining.” Its flagship pop-up experience, Taste of HomeGoods, was even helmed by none other than Chef Mashama Bailey, the James Beard-award winning chef and partner of The Grey, this past May in Austin, Texas. (Full disclosure: I did get to dine at said pop-up experience, and I thought to myself, Wow, I’ve informally snacked inside of a HomeGoods many times before and now I get to have an elaborate eight-course meal inside of one in a formal setting? With cocktails? And for $24.99, no less? I basically felt like every rags-to-riches princess in all of film history ever all at once — it was a true full-circle moment.)
Each room of the Taste of HomeGoods experience was themed around a particular item from the store, with dishes and cocktails to match as you moved from bohemian living rooms for a sherry cocktail hour to a sleek yet soft library for a luxe main course of short ribs in a kanni sauce (again, all for less than $25). The ingredients of said experience weren’t necessarily sourced from HomeGoods, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next iteration of this experience didn’t involve some Chopped-style ingenuity, because the mind really does spin when you think of all the possibilities after such an experience, like what if Dollar Tree, Crate & Barrel, or Aldi dared to make their own culinary mark with immersive, affordable dining experiences?
Whether you dine at (what I hope are many more accessibly priced) HomeGoods or simply make these stores a part of your weekly grocery plan, I think you’ll agree it perks up your weekly shop. It’s a unique experience, but it’s absolutely the future I want to live in: A little bit lost right between the decorative squirrel bowls and the artisanal vinegars, likely over-filling my cart and snacking my way to the check-out line.
Do you shop for pantry staples at HomeGoods? Tell us about it in the comments below.