And Now For Something Completely Different…

When you set your table with china and silver, when you sink bright flowers into a favorite vase filled with cold water, when you stir-fry edamame and tofu, grill a marinated flank steak, toss pepper-scented arugula leaves with sprays of lemon and drizzles of olive oil, you have an expectation: to gather around the table in precise splendor, everyone eager for an approachable taste of something to transform that moment into a long-held memory.

To include everyone you care about.

I want Hiller’s to be an apt partner in the way you live. Because it’s all about finding a way to make our lives meaningful and relevant. I honor your lifestyle choices in the way I stock my stores.

The average grocery seeks to fulfill basic needs – milk and bread, potatoes and meat. Quality, special needs, preference, they don’t factor into the discussion. It’s a business, a bottom-line driven quest to make money while expending as little as possible. Gather the most commonly consumed items under a rack of fluorescent lights and high ceilings and the people will come.

That’s not me.

Hiller’s shelves are filled with the ways we choose to live.

Lifestyle, a word coined by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler in 1929, refers to the simple way a person lives, a way of going about one’s days, a carefully constructed, sometimes not even consciously, framework for existence.

Existence is complicated, you know, and therein lies the challenge for a grocery man like me.

You seek to exist but your religion dictates you eat only meat ritually slaughtered under the watchful eye of a rabbi.

You seek to exist but your body rejects refined sugars.

You seek to exist in harmony with your ancestors – you need ghee to make your grandmother’s mudda pappu-avakai-neyyi, you desire mole for that favorite roasted turkey with masa stuffing and chile gravy your cousin made when you last visited, you want high-quality fish and exquisite sheets of nori to roll sushi like you did when you lived in Japan.

Another grocery offers the bare essentials: a few boxes of tasteless diabetic products; kosher items by default like frozen Lender’s bagels; disappointing, brown-edged lettuce and too-soft grapefruits; watery salsa and stale taco shells to satisfy cravings for authentic cuisine.

Our choices define us. Lifestyle is far-reaching. It’s how we decide whom to interact with, what entertainment we enjoy, the flavor and hue and spice of taste. Lifestyle is the current that rocks the waters of our lives.

Sometimes you have no choice but to live a certain way – your stomach roils when you consume dairy or wheat, so you seek gluten-free, casein-free, additive-free foods. In most places, it’s oh-so-hard to find what you need.

Hiller’s is a place where you find everything on your list plus even more items you want to try. A place that supports your right to choose how you live. A place that listens to you.

Hiller’s is your partner in living the way you must.

The reason Hiller’s is different from all the other groceries is because I recognize that habits, attitudes, values and tastes have everything to do with getting through the day.

Whether imposed or chosen, lifestyle choices make living manageable. They define who we are and how we go about our tasks, how we face trials, how we weather disappointments, how we celebrate moments.

So go ahead and set your table; make it shine. Slice strawberries and toss them with chopped nuts and balsamic vinegar. Grill a thick cut of halibut. Roast sweet potatoes. Make sure your glasses sparkle, your silver gleams, and each guest is seated beside someone who will enlighten their mind and strengthen their spirit. It’s the way you live. Nothing is more important.


And Now For Something Completely Different… — 10 Comments

  1. But all that sure comes with a price tag, doesn’t it?

    Consider someone like me-studying for a PhD, wife, kids, mortgage, etc. and you will be considering the majority of Ann Arbor folk, methinks. It’s rough to make a living, particularly as a student. When I do shop at Hiller’s (it’s close-sometimes convenience wins out) I often wonder what jobs the customers have that allow them to be participating is such a flurry of large price tags.

    Someday I’ll shop at Hiller’s, I suppose-until then, I am super grateful for the markets that just seek to fulfill basic needs.

  2. Adam,
    In our current economy, fulfilling basic needs is an art. Hiller’s does that at every price point – including with Our Family value brand of products. I invite you to walk through my stores with one of our dedicated staff members showing you that we match – and often beat! – competitors’ prices.

    And we do it without sacrificing or compromising quality. All of our fresh products are of premier quality and our variety, selection, and customer service are unparalleled.

    I’m up to the challenge – even a hard-working man like yourself can call Hiller’s his go-to store.

  3. Excellent response Jim – I’ll take you up on your challenge. And I agree about the health concerns of buying cheap food-every time we eat beef I cook it for extra long and wince when we eat, waiting to die from some disease. I’ve been particularly disturbed as of late, having noticed that the beef from the discount stores are sometimes leaking meat juice-I hardly dare to pick up the packages for fear of contaminating my later purchases. Isn’t that awful? But with my twin girls eat about 4 cans of baby food each per day, it’s difficult to not save every penny possible.

    I’ll throw a list together and do the math. I’ll let you know what I find. The discount stores may be slightly cheaper, but who can argue against quality products?

    I should also add that Hiller’s is one of the cleanest stores I’ve ever seen-what a delight to shop there! And getting my beef in separately wrapped 1 lb lumps is SO much better than divvying up my juice-soaked packages at home. The people there are also extremely friendly-congrats on making such a fabulous business!

  4. Jeff –
    I disagree! They may be less expensive on some items and we on others but if value is your goal, we win hands down. Nobody can match our quality on fresh products like meat, chicken, fish, vegetables or
    fruits. If that matters at all to you and you look at our house brand called Our Family, we will compare very favorably with anyone. Even if you’re planning on finding the cheapest way to live, maybe you
    should reconsider that strategy with the foods you put in your body.
    Jim Hiller

  5. Hi! Mr. Hiller,
    How are you? I would just like to say Congratualtions on the opening of your Commerce Township store. It is a bigger place than where my husband works and very nice and neat. I really should not doubt it because I know your store will always provide the best to the customers. As you may recall, I work at Huron Valley Sinai hospital and the new store is not far from the hospital. I know there are different companies that offer discounts to the hospital employees. With this said, I am just wondering if Hiller’s Market will be willing to offer discounts to Huron Valley Sinai hospital employees. This is just an idea that I mentioned to my husband.
    Thank you and more power to you.
    Justina Coo

  6. Hi Mr. Hiller:

    I was in your store for the first time yesterday in Ann Arbor. What a beautiful store and your employees in the meat department were particularly helpful.

    Have you ever thought of coming to East Lansing or Okemos? We sure could use a store like yours.
    Thanks for making a wonderful contribution to the world.

  7. WALMART!? Who with a conscience shops there anymore????????????????????

    Paying a dime less for something made by a child working in a sweat shop being is NOT cheaper in the long run . It doesn’t help the child, and the people working at Walmart do NOT make a decent wage with good benefits for the most part. It is a store that is HOSTILE to labor, when I purchase something at Hiller’s, I am investing in PEOPLE…the employees make a decent wage and have benefits, the higher wages are spent in the community, the contributions those employees make to local and federal taxes help sustain us all, they pay more into social security and help fund that….LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE!

  8. Adam, Mr. Hiller is correct. I check the ads and prices because, quite frankly things are tough. I have found that shopping at Hiller’s is not more expensive than other places and the bonus is I get better meat & fish, fresher produce and milk without the hormones at the best price in town. I will admit I was never really a Walmart shopper because they tend to put the Mom and Pops out of business and because of what Toni says, but it seems to me that they have spent a lot of money marketing the perception that Walmart is the most economical place to shop. If that is so; then why are they spending so many advertising dollars trying to convince the public they have the best prices in town instead of allowing their prices to speak for themselves.

  9. Well you have stopped selling cigarettes which I think is VERY WONDERFUL!!
    Now maybe you could have your employees smoke IN THEIR OWN CARS or at least at the back of the store so that every time I shop your stores I don’t have to see 3 or 4 people sitting or standing at the front of the stores puffing away. I We know they are employees because they have on their red HILLERS clothes.
    DO you realize just how BAD and TACKY that looks? Even more so now that it has been in the papers and on TV how you have taken the stand to not sell tabacco in your stores!!

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