Living Like The Locals: Common Stores In The Cape Fear Area

Young Old Fart says…

Whether you’re visiting, relocating, or attending college in the Cape Fear area, there are several things you must become accustomed to. While I’ll tackle other norms another day, I want to focus on the types of stores you’ll see around here.

I spent the majority of my childhood and angsty years in Edison, NJ where Applebee’s was the Friday night hotspot and chillin’ at Menlo Mall (until it became all ritzy and too expensive for my broke bum) was the place to meet new friends and wreck havoc. Basically, I knew where to go, what to get when I got there, and the specials of the day. When I first moved to Wilmington and started attending UNCW, I underwent “culture shock.” Who the heck were these happy people that called me “ma’am” and offered to help me with my groceries? Why was everyone always smiling and asking me about my day? (I doubt natives to the Cape Fear area understand my confusion, but notherners get where I am coming from). Worst of all, I was missing the stores and restaurants I had gotten used to, I missed my “homes away from home.” Ultimately, I had to suck it up, get over my losses, and embrace my new area like a true local.

Here is just a sampling of what you may find in the Seahawks’ hometown:

  • While I was used to Starbucks being located on every corner, the most popular coffee chain down here is Port City Java. But do not fear Starbucks lovers (fyi they are SOME Starbucks locations around here), PCJ  offers the same types of caffeine-induced concoctions that are just as overly priced. The one difference: you can actually pronounce the names of these products.
  • My favorite “fast food” place in Edison was my beloved Baja Fresh. Notherners, don’t even ask natives about this place, they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about. Instead, they’ll refer you to either Moe’s Southwest Grill (which we also have in NJ) OR the collegians’ absolute fav Flaming Amy’s.
  • The one way to truly torture me was to force me to go grocery shopping on a Sunday in NJ. It was an experience that guaranteed to supply an elbow to the face, poor customer service, ten naughty curse words, and at least two cart-to-ankle run-ins. While Shoprite, Pathmark, Stop and Shop, and Wegmans were the destinations of my Hell…Food Lion, Lowes Foods, and Harris Teeter are the pleasant grocery stops of Wilmington.
  • Finally, one of the saddest losses of living in NJ IMHO were the few happy memories I would have during the Christmas season. One of my fav holiday activities was going to Macy’s and checking out their Xmas department after dropping off my letter to Santa (don’t judge, Santa’s my homeboy). Unfortunately, Wilmington does not have a Macy’s and there doesn’t seem to be any in the neighboring towns. While you can find JCPennys, Sears, and Kohls, the next closest thing to Macy’s is Belk. Sadly, I went there this past Xmas and was highly dissapointed…it just ain’t the same : (

Well, while there are many other things newbies will need to learn about Wilmington, the above list will just have to do for now. Until then, A WARNING TO ALL NEW JERSYANS: If a Cape Fear native offers to help you with your bags, or gives a cheery “hello”…PLEASE bite your tongue and force back the urge to give them the one-finger salute (it gives everyone from the Garden State a bad rep…

unlike the popular NJ-based reality tv shows, Jersey Shore and Jerseylicious, they just make us seem so clASSy).

Kittens and fudge,

YOF