For years, we LH residents have told everyone who will listen that we do not, under any circumstances, want to see a new Tom Thumb anchoring the Town Center, because that would mean at least one of our two Tom Thumb locations would close — either Skillman-Royal or Skillman-Abrams.
It’s a moot argument now. This past June, with very little fanfare, the Skillman/Abrams store shut down.
It may have been funky, but my family liked that Abrams Tom Thumb. The location was convenient for us, and there are certain staples that my husband swears are better at Tom Thumb than at nearby competitors.
Mr. R swears the organic “O” milk brand is the greatest-tasting milk in the state, if not the world. To me it tastes like all other milk, so I asked him to describe the difference. He came up with one word (referring to the 2 percent reduced-fat version): “Creamy.” The brand is distributed out of California; the Kroger brand is from Ohio. Maybe the cows drink different water?
Mr. R also likes the generic jams Tom Thumb sells. He has stocked up on more jars of generic jam than our pantry can hold.
Another preferred staple is the French bread from the Tom Thumb bakery. Why? “It’s the difference between people who know how to bake bread — and everybody else,” Mr. R says.
The promise of a renovation at the Skillman-Royal store did excite my imagination. Would it be more like my destination Tom Thumb, the one at Greenville/Lovers Lane? The store’s willingness to carry fresh sushi used to lure me south every week of my life, until other nearby stores began competing — notably the Kroger at Plano Road-Northwest Highway.
Kroger’s recent renovation not only spiffed up the decor but also changed the personality and vibe of the experience shopping there. They carry fresh sushi, and they even have a sushi chef on-site. And for an alternative, we can go to the Whole Foods at Park Lane.
Bottom line, I rarely go south to Lover’s Lane for groceries any more.
One recent Friday, after the renovations were complete, I drove over to Skillman-Royal to give the new/old Tom Thumb a test run. Would there be something new I hadn’t seen before? And — did they solve their sushi problem?
Here are my observations:
I like the new carts, especially the small size for quick trips.
Full-service Starbucks at the entrance is a plus, and there is plenty of seating.
There is only one entrance/exit, so it probably makes sense that the bulk of the renovations are evident there. But they closed the second entrance by covering it with black paper. It looks a little improvised, to say the least. Plus, it detracts from any “new store” trance I might have worked up.
Sushi-O-Meter reading, on a scale of zero to 10? I give them a two. That’s three points lower than the score I have assigned Super Target.
Yes, they have sushi in the deli self-serve case. The problem is the “best-before” date, which was three days into the future. Sorry, but on sushi, any date that isn’t today or tomorrow tells me they aren’t moving it fast enough. There was no raw fish — but that indicates another problem, with selection.
I realize they probably don’t sell a lot of sushi. But my point is, they never will.
Although I won’t go out of my way to shop there, I am rooting for the success of the renovated store. It’s the anchor of the large shopping center at Skillman-Royal, and the last thing I want to see is one more distressed shopping center in Lake Highlands.
Which brings me back to speculation about the Town Center. Now that we have only one Tom Thumb in Lake Highlands, you don’t suppose …? No. NO. They wouldn’t do that, would they?