Sometimes shopping at one of our four Whole Foods every week is just not possible, or affordable; and when you are located in Utah and newly veg or just working on it, Whole Foods is pretty much all that comes to mind for healthy, veg shopping. The other thing that comes to mind is $$$$ (ouch). Well guess what? There are actually a few local grocery store chains that have a great selection of healthy, organic & vegetarian foods. There are also a few to avoid (imho). Out of the "big 4" here in Utah, I'd say two are great and two aren't.
Harmon's is a locally owned grocery store which has been around forever. I remember my mom driving far from home each Saturday just to shop at Harmon's for their great deals. Honestly, when you see their commercials on TV and knowing that they are a Utah grown company, you would not think they would be as progressive in their selection of health/organic/vegetarian foods. They have an amazing selection however, probably one of the best in the state for a regular chain grocer. Most of their stores also have an amazing bakery and for those of us who still eat cheese, their selection of cheeses cannot be beat. If you make it to one of their newer stores (138th So. for example) you will be blown away.
Smith's is another (used to be) local grocer (they started here in Utah but were bought out by Kroger several years back). They have two types of stores, Food & Drug and Marketplace. Their marketplace stores are similar to Super Targets, in that they have groceries, but also home & garden and clothing, etc. Another thing most all Smith's stores have is a damn fine selection of natural/organic/vegetarian foods. They even have wood floors in these sections of the store, just so you know "here is the natural foods area". This has always been rather silly to me, but hey....wood floors must scream HEALTHY to some.
Anyway, vegetarians/vegans and those just looking to eat healthy and find healthier food at the grocery have a good home at Smith's. Most Smith's stores also have a great bakery, a decent selection of imported cheeses and definitely some of the friendliest employees around.
In my experience, and maybe it's just the stores in my area (but I doubt it, because my area is full of hippies driving Outbacks and those who are known to eat very healthy...and normally shop at Whole Foods), but there are a few stores in this city that just are not very veg friendly. Sure they stock the usual Morningstar Farms, but who doesn't these days? And yeah, they have a flavor or two of soy ice cream and a decent choice of soymilk, but seriously.....I'd rather shop at a store you can tell is trying hard to stay ahead of the curve, not one who keeps their stock to a minimum because they feel they have to.
The stores I have found to not be very veg friendly at all are Dan's Food and Fresh Market (formerly Albertson's). Neither store has a very good bakery either, especially Fresh Market, as long as I am calling them out. I will give Fresh Market kudos though in that they always have the lowest price I have found on Silk soy milk.
So when you can't make it to Whole Foods (or Good Earth) weekly, or just can't afford to, you do have some decent options in Smith's and Harmon's