TOUR: Big Bunny Market - Southbridge, MA (2024)

Big Bunny Market
Owner: Peter Cournoyer

Opened:1960s in current location; 1950s previously

Cooperative:none

Location:942 Main St, Southbridge, MA

Photographed:November 30, 2018; October 10, 2020; and April 3, 2021

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What other supermarket has a giant rabbit on the top?! Welcome to Big Bunny Market, Southbridge's well-known independent supermarket. It shares ownership with the smaller Micknuck's Fresh Marketplace about five miles west. The store dates back to the 1950s but was constructed in its present location the following decade, then expanded several times to its current 32,000 square feet. It's a bit of an institution in Southbridge (and you can read extensively about its history here).

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My former boss lived in Southbridge and once, when in a team meeting about an upcoming event, said that he could go buy an elusive food item "at the Bunny." About half the team nodded along in full understanding and the other half was like "...I'm not gonna ask too many questions about that."

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My initial pictures are from way back in 2018, although I took a few pictures of the bunny with mask in 2020 and then a few more interior pictures from 2021 when they redid the store with a few small updates. I would estimate that the present-day decor dates back to the last major renovation maybe around 2000. It looks great inside, though, and it's maintained very well.

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2020 bunny with giant mask. They also put various team jerseys on the bunny at the appropriate times.

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You can't miss this sign from all directions! This store is just outside of downtown Southbridge. Southbridge has another, larger, supermarket to the east of downtown.

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Let's head in! There's not exactly a grand aisle here, although the first aisle is extra-wide and contains the meat department and some international foods. Service butcher is at the back. Then, on the back wall, seafood, deli, and bakery are in the middle with dairy in the back-right corner. Frozen foods are in the middle of the store with dairy in the last aisle. Produce is in the front-right corner with beer and wine on the front wall.

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Big Bunny uses Best Yet and Full Circle brand products from C&S.

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Here's a look across the back wall of the store. You can see there's a slight pitch to the roof here, in the space that was the original supermarket.

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Big Bunny seems to be very popular here in Southbridge, and it looks like it serves a larger area than just the immediate neighborhood. But every time I've been here it's been quite busy.

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By the way, we're only about four miles north of the Connecticut border here.

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Big Bunny, like many New England independents, uses a line of spices under their own brand manufactured by the Nutmeg Spice Company of Connecticut.

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The grocery aisles are clean and well-stocked, and although it's a smaller store, the selection is extensive. Lots of local brands, too. Frozen foods run up the middle of the store, although probably originally this was around the last aisle of the store.

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Now over to the back wall, where we have the service seafood counter...

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...and the bakery department, which I always enjoy making a stop at, on the back wall...

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The decor is custom-designed for this store, with various local landmarks called out on the signs. The aisle markers make me think of the decor we saw in LaBonne's.

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Dairy begins in the back right corner and continues down the last aisle. Older cases have had doors affixed to them recently.

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A couple of my visits here have been in the fall, and one of the less-known industries of central Massachusetts is apple orchards. (More on that to the north of Worcester for sure.) Big Bunny clearly buys massive quantities of local apples to fill the shelves, and you can see some of the apples overflowing into the dairy aisle below.

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And in the front corner, we enter the produce department. I love the chalkboards with prices, making it feel more like a farmer's market. And a lot of the produce is local in season, and the rest comes from a wholesale market outside Boston.

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The original Big Bunny sign seems like our friend Bugs Bunny, which has now been moved inside the store. If you look at the historical photos on the history page I linked above, you can see the bunny statue wasn't always on the roof.

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Here's a look at how the produce is displayed -- again, set up more like a produce market than a typical supermarket. In my experience, their produce is always cheaper than everyone else's, but the selection isn't always that big.

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And I told you about the apples! Notice that some of the apples are actually labeled with the orchard they come from.

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Looking across the produce department. You can see it's very old-school, but kept up well.

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And a 2021 photo showing the produce department rearranged slightly with a new floor (only in this corner).

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Beer and wine are on the front wall between produce and the registers. This feels like an addition after the store was set up, not least because the fixtures look newer and there's no signage.

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And a look across the front-end...

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Tomorrow, let's take a look at a small independent grocer in downtown Southbridge!

TOUR: Big Bunny Market - Southbridge, MA (2024)

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