In the late 1980s, Larry's Markets redefined the supermarket in Seattle. They carried everything you expected at a supermarket, at prices I never found to be significantly higher than most other stores. But that was just the baseline. They had stuff no other store carried: I once counted the mustards; IIRC there were 37. They had vegetables I'd never heard of, a wine and beer selection on par with a good specialty store, a spotless meat department, what would now be called "artisan" bread, a deli counter with prepared foods you were happy to serve your guests. The stores were airy and well-lighted; the staff were pleasant, friendly, and knowledgeable. They had a policy of putting more checkers on immediately if the lines got more than three deep. When they got popular enough that it started to get hard to find a place to park, they started offering free valet parking. Grocery shopping stopped being a chore and became a pleasure.
Over the last fifteen years, whenever I would think about what I missed about Seattle, Larry's Markets would be somewhere on the list. Not in the top ten, but in there. When in recent years I would visit Seattle for a week or so, I'd do my grocery shopping at Larry's, and find that they were still head-and-shoulders better than anyplace around Boston.
This morning I was getting my morning NPR fix by listening to the Seattle station online, when I learned from a little local interest item that Larry's Markets has gone bankrupt, and a sporting goods store, of all things, will be taking over two of its biggest stores. Sigh. One less thing to miss about home.