Here in Orlando (and throughout Florida), Publix reigns supreme as the #1 supermarket chain. While some people on the Chowhound Florida board love to complain about them, I've always thought they were pretty good. Winn-Dixie was the big #2 in Florida for most of the last two decades (at least), but so many of them have closed their doors over the last few years. They were never nearly as good, though. We also have a few Albertsons' up here, but now it seems like some of them are closing as well, perhaps to be converted into new Publixes. Then of course you have Walmart SuperCenter and Super Target, and the high-end gourmet places like Whole Foods and Fresh Market (we don't have Trader Joe's in Florida yet).
Growing up in Miami in the '80s, I remember many other random supermarkets around town, all of which eventually closed or turned into Publix or Winn-Dixie. Grand Union, Pantry Pride, Wooley's, the hilarious-sounding Piggly-Wiggly, X-Tra. I wonder how many of those were declining national chains versus doomed local institutions. On that note, I was struck during a recent visit to New York City that they don't have many huge supermarkets up there, but count on little neighborhood market/convenience store/"delis" for all their grocery needs. Some of these were super-nice and some were dingy and crappy, but it was interesting considering you can't drive more than ten minutes here without hitting a gigantic Publix.
But what do you all have near you in your home towns? Where do you shop, and where do you go out of your way to avoid shopping?