- 150 E. 4th St.
- Clifton, IL 60927
- (815) 694-2342
- No Known Website
I’m sure those of you stuck in Mid-Michigan right now aren’t going to feel too sorry for me. I’m stuck in a small town in Iroquois County, Illinois with no power after a pretty good ice storm. While we didn’t get the inches upon inches of snow, we got a heavy coating of ice which did a pretty destructive job of tearing down tree limbs and power lines. My parents house is one of the unlucky few without power. My brother, however, has power and, more importantly, heat, so I took a little drive five miles north to crash at my brother’s this afternoon.
Last night, my brother was raving about this new treat he had at his office the other day. This area isn’t really known for it’s ethnic cuisines. In fact, if you’re not looking for a burger and fries or pizza, you might have a hard time finding a place to eat. So, when he had baklava for the first time this week, he thought it was a treat that the rest of the country had never heard of.
After he got done telling us how great it was, he turned to me and asked if I could make it. I hate phyllodough almost as much as I hate working with chocolate. I told him it was a huge pain in the butt and it was going to cost him. When I ended up at his house by myself all day, I thought I would be nice and try to make him something. Obviously, he doesn’t have most of the stuff to make baklava, so I headed up to the local grocery store to see if they had it.
The only grocery store in Clifton is Jensen’s IGA. It sits just off the main highway that runs through town and for a town of 1300 people, the store has much more than you would expect. IGA is the world’s largest voluntary supermarket chain. Almost any grocery store can apply to be a member of the IGA. I can remember when the store in Clifton used to be a Red Fox which was a regional chain of supermarkets. When Red Fox went out, the new owners signed on with IGA which gives them access to store brand products as well as marketing and brand recognition with customers.
Jensen’s IGA isn’t a large supermarket by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s big enough to offer a large selection of products. There’s a small, very small, fresh produce section and even fresh meat. The meat department has a butcher shop even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen a butcher back there working.
The general merchandise section only has four aisles, but they do stock name brand merchandise at a pretty good price. While they may not be as good as a hypermarket’s prices, the closes hypermarket is in Kankakee 15 miles away, so when you factor in gas, if you just need to pick up one or two items, Jensen’s is probably the better deal
My family has had pretty good luck there in the past when they needed something quickly. For the way that they cook, Jensen’s has them covered. My brother and I were surprised one night to actually find a five pound bag of chicken wings. Heck, they were even open on Thanksgiving when my sister-in-law realized she was a couple ingredients short. I’m pretty sure my brother made two trips to the store to pick up last minute items.
Today’s trip was a little bit of a bust and I have to admit, I’m kind of relieved. I wasn’t looking forward to attempting a dessert I really don’t like anyway, so no baklava for my brother tonight. Instead, I made him peanut butter cookies which he was talking about also really liking last night.
As far as small town grocery stores go, the IGA stores are some of the best. The buying power these small, independently owned stores really benefit the communities they serve.