Grocery stores are not the number one tourist destination, I know, but you never know when you will get some crazy craving.

I am guessing that most of these stores are not open outside of Turkey.

Also, I do not think most of the guidebooks give a detailed description of these stores. And besides all of that, you may be like my father-in-law who loved visiting the grocery stores and seeing how they compared to his neighborhood Albertsons in California.

Given all of that, I decided this was a good place to start.

For each store I follow this format:
* Compare Store to a sports franchise
* General description and location
* Atmosphere/experience and niche
* What you will find
* The price for five random items

[Lastly, four notes before I get started:
– Turkey is famous for its modest, neighborhood green grocers and markets. I am not including these as there are too many to count. Maybe at some point in the future I will be able to introduce you to these “Turkish Delights” and the locals who run them.
– On a few items I put that I could not find it or could not find a price. I did not do a lot of questioning of employees on purpose. My idea was that if I could not easily find the item and the price, then I should note that. If you need something and do not speak Turkish, then I wanted to make it clear that some items were not clearly marked in these stores.
– I have included two stores in Nevşehir and one in Kayseri that are not in the smaller towns but have by no means exhausted Nevşehir’s grocery category. I have chosen the stores we use, making that the metric. This also explains why I have not included Kayseri except for the one store. I rarely visit Kayseri and do not know much about it. I consider it outside the scope of central Cappadocia.]
– If you read this post before October 2012, you will notice a change here. I have changed the order a bit. After living here for a year, we think that Dilek is the best store due to their friendly staff and outstanding service. I have kept the teams the same and still think that from a cursory glance, nobody would pick Dilek ahead of the others. However, as we have spent time shopping and experienced the poor service at Beğendik and Kipa, we felt we needed to make this change. For those who are new to this post, this explains why Dilek is ahead of the others even though the chosen sports team is inferior.
Dilek
E. Dilek/Kapadokya AVM (Avanos)
> 2011 Milwaukee Brewers – This small market team is leading their division, but nobody really gives them a chance to win it all, and in the end they lose but consider it a successful season. They have some stars and some potential but just do not get there.
> These two bigger mid-sized markets sit on the Göreme side of the bridge and carry everything you would expect in a grocery story. I honestly only go into the AVM if Dilek does not have something. The upstairs of Dilek includes a variety of non-food items like trash cans, toys, dishes, sewing supplies, glassware, etc. They have also rented some space for an internet/computer gaming cafe, and they have a small cafe downstairs for those needing a hot bite to eat. They are consistently busy due mostly to a great location right across from the Avanos pazar on the Göreme side of the bridge in Avanos. We do much of our shopping here as it is the closest store to our home.

> I do not know who owns these stores, but I would guess they are locally owned and not a big chain. The lighting is low, and the aisles are relatively narrow. The cashiers are friendly in my experience, and the staff is generally helpful. They do not stand apart from the crowd of stores in this list. I think their location has more to do with their customer base than any branding they have done.

> Their produce section has 30+ items with a dried foods section as well as a butcher and full dairy section. They have the necessary fresh olives and such normal for any larger store in Turkey. In addition they carry most foods and household items including plastic goods.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.90TL
Coca-Cola can = 1.25TL (lowest)
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = could not find
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = could not find
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 10.90TL
Begendik
A. Beğendik (Nevşehir)
> F.C. Barcelona – This is the high-profile store. They spend a lot of money and have the big names. They are simply the best.

> This store is a cut above. It is located next to the Shell gas station on the Avanos to Nevsehir road. The store in our neighborhood in Ankara was quite small but this one in Nevşehir is quite large, either first or second in size (not including Kipa and Metro which are in a different class of stores).

> Upon entering the store the customer is greeted with a wonderful coffee aroma and nice music. The layout of the store is spacious with many decorations, a really upbeat atmosphere. An example is the egg display in an old wagon with a big chicken. It sounds hokey, but they actually pull off a nice homey impression. The branding is first-class and consistent throughout the store. The other stores could learn a lot from Beğendik. With my MBA glasses on I recognize how much time, energy, and money has gone into creating the feeling one has in these stores. If I have not made it clear, they are targeting the high-end shoppers looking for a nice experience as much as filling their shopping carts.

> Beğendik carries most every food and household item. As would be expected they have a nice bakery and a vast meat section as well as excellent produce. Interestingly the produce is towards the back of the store as opposed to the entrance as most stores here do it.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.95TL (highest)
Coca-Cola can = 1.45TL
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = 2.15TL
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = 2.50TL
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 11.90TL
Kipa
B. Kipa (Nevşehir)
> 2010-11 Miami Heat (NBA) – They spent money on a couple of stars and have little left over for the rest. You think they will win it all but in the end they fall short. Much of their roster is low budget.

> Related to England’s Tesco, Kipa is a so-called “hyper-market” or mega-store similar to Target or Walmart. Occupying a large chunk of the Cappadocia Forum mall in Nevsehir, these stores are located all over Turkey.

> They have everything at relatively low prices, especially when compared with similarly sized superstores. In the book of Jonah in the Bible, Ninevah is described as taking three days to walk from one end to the other; Kipa could be similarly described. It is well lighted with high ceilings like a warehouse and is usually crowded. The aisles are wide as is the selection. The quality is in the realm of Walmart.

> The majority of space in the store is used for food and household items but they also have audio-visual, auto, hobby, and toy sections. We go about once per month for items we cannot get at the other smaller markets listed in this post.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.69TL
Coca-Cola can = 1.49TL (highest)
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = 2TL
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = 2.50TL
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 10.80TL (lowest)
Bim
C. Bim (Avanos & Ürgüp & Nevşehir)
{Note: This is the only website in English. The rest of the sites are Turkish only.}
> 2011 Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) – This is the low budget miracle team. They do not spend any money but somehow end up close to the top. They do not win the championship, but they are close.

> This smaller mid-sized market is the low-price leader in Turkey. They leave the products in their boxes like one would find at a Costco (America) or Metro (Europe) but have much smaller stores and amounts. As I understand it they are owned by a conservative Muslim company, which in my experience has been good and bad in terms of drawing customers. Do not try to go on Friday during the lunch time prayer at the mosque as all Bim stores will be closed. We have our list of items that we get here and go at least once per week to get them.

> The stores are well-lit and the branding is consistent. They are not especially clean or neat but the staff is invariably friendly. They have no pretense of targeting Beğendik’s customer. I commonly see people from the outlying villages when I visit the store.

>They have a basic supply of foods and household items with a regular inflow of random items like DVD players or sleeping bags or digital cameras. Apparently they have a deal with some kind of overstock company. Every Friday they fill a certain section of the store with cheap goods one would never expect to find there. I often have seen lines on Friday morning before the stores open when the advertised goods are especially inviting. We get cheese, paper towels, toilet paper, cinnamon, peanuts, baking powder, ayran, and a few other items here. You will notice in the list below that they do not have Coca-Cola cans, but they do carry off-brand colas that compare favorably in taste and price with Coke. Their small produce section is all prepackaged.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.69TL
Coca-Cola can = could not find
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = 2TL
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = 2.50TL
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 10.80TL (lowest)
Migros
D. Migros (Ürgüp & Nevsehir)
> 2000s New York Yankees (MLB) – They spend the big bucks and are huge. They get the crowds, but they often disappoint.

> Migros is a huge chain with at least 5 sizes of stores. The 5M Migros is a mega-store similar to Kipa (described above). The 1M store in Ürgüp is the smallest but still contains a wide variety of items. The location is not easy to find as it is on the Mustafapaşa side of Urgup next to the pazar grounds. The parking lot is horribly constructed but has plenty of space. The bigger store in Nevsehir is located near the Governor’s office on the road from Avanos where it meets the Nevşehir – Ürgüp road.

> Since the store is small the aisles are tight but the lighting is good and the staff are generally friendly and able to help unlike in many large stores. Music was playing which was expected given their target customer. They have special car-type shopping carts for mothers with kids. I honestly hate them as they only fit one child, and I am usually there with at least two. My kids love them which is the problem!

> They carry most foods and household items and generally have the higher quality items. I find their prices generally higher than most other stores, but as the list below shows, that is not always the case. Their produce department stocks 40+ items and is immaculately cared for. Every time I have been there a worker is straightening the items and keeping the sections full. They have a butcher and fresh olives and cheeses as well as frozen items and a book and foreign/local newspaper stand.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.59TL (lowest)
Coca-Cola can = 1.35TL
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = 2TL
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = 2.50TL
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 12.90TL (highest)
Ekonpazar
F. Ekonomic Pazar (Ürgüp & Nevşehir)
> 2010-11 Atlanta Hawks (NBA) – This team wants to compete with the big boys but does not stand a chance. They are not cellar dwellers by any means, and they have some stars, but for good reason no one considers them to have reached that elite level. They have significant work to do and most likely will not make it with their current roster.

> I went into this store for the first time while researching this list. I was pleasantly surprised. The name and logo gives me the impression of a low-cost, sort of cheap establishment, but the actual store was large, spacious, and clean. The Nevsehir store is on the road from Avanos entering Nevsehir while the Ürgüp shop is right in the middle of town on the backside of the main open square.

> Well-lit with roomy aisles they seem to be compteting with the higher end stores like Beğendik. The prices reflect this, but they fall a bit short of that level. They are definitely nicer than Şok or Bim or the local stores, but compete on price. Actually, the prices do not vary significantly among most of the stores. I would be happy to shop at these stores if we lived near them, but they are not nice or cheap enough to get me to change my habits.

> Entering the store one encounters the large produce section overflowing with beautiful, fresh fruits and vegetables. They carry most every food and household good including loose dried fruits and nuts.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.70TL
Coca-Cola can = 1.45TL
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = could not find
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = could not find
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 11.90TL
Incemkt
G. Ince Market (Avanos)
> Manchester City (EPL) – This team is overshadowed by their same city counterparts. They may have some surprising wins but they are not and never will be an elite team.

> Located next to Şok in Avanos and twice as big as its competitor, Ince Market seems to be another locally owned grocey store. They have two entrances and everything is crammed in the aisles. The store is not clean and some of the staff have been very helpful while others seem to be bothered by the customers. I find that generally in Turkey the staff of locally owned stores are not as well trained as the national chains’ employees. This is probably not a big surprise.

> As I said above cleanliness is not a focus of the store, nor is lighting. The store feels dark and crowded but not to a degree that it is forbidding. I shop here when I am in Avanos and need to pick up something simple. I generally would go here before Şok and after Bim. They seem to be similar to Dilek in their target and branding.

> They carry everything they can fit in terms of food and household cleaners and such. Their produce section is stocked with 25+ items but is not very well tended. They have a mini-butcher. We bought a frozen whole chicken once and it turned out to be rotten when it thawed. They took it back with no questions and gave me a new one.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = available but I could not find the price
Coca-Cola can = available but I could not find the price
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = 2TL
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = 2TL
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 11.90TL
Sok
H. Şok (Avanos)
> Sivasspor (Turkish Liga) – They stay in the top tier division but they are not going to win it and generally do not get even a hint of the spotlight outside of Sivas.

> This smallish store is located in the center of Avanos directly across the street from the main square. It is a national chain with middle of the road prices. They have very little to set them apart. I am not sure why people shop their other than location. I suppose like most stores they have a couple of items that are cheaper than the comptetition. When we lived in Ankara we shopped at our local Şok regularly until the Beğendik opened.

> The store is well-lit but the small overall size means that everything has a crammed feel. It is not exceptionally clean and it is common to see the workers standing in front of the store smoking on their break.

> The produce section, containing about 11 different fruits and veggies, does not look especially fresh or clean. They have no other special sections except for a couple of freezers for cold drinks. Otherwise they have a basic selection of foods and household items like cleaners and paper towels and toilet paper.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.79TL
Coca-Cola can = 1.35TL
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = 1.95TL
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = 1.75TL
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 10.80TL (lowest)
Aksel
I. Aksel AVM(Ürgüp)
> Kansas City Royals (MLB) – Cellar Dwellers. They do not have the resources and cannot keep their stars. They are destined to live in the basement. They are not going bankrupt as they do have their fans but given their current structure, they are not going anywhere.

> Located close to the center of town, this locally owned market is at the bottom of the barrell in my opinion. One gets the notion that they have not spent a lot of time thinking about the customer experience. The lighting is poor and the items are crowded in aisles. The prices are not especially high or low.

> I entered the store for the first time to do research for this post and did not have a good first impression. I was walking around the store looking at items and noting prices. As I got to the back of the store one of the staff approached me with that look that I must be trying to steal something. I asked her a couple of prices of items that were not marked and kept walking around. She followed me like a bad cop until I left the store. I was very uncomfortable and do not plan on going back to the store. I am not sure how many foreign men enter the store to steal food, but maybe it is a problem I should be more aware of. Regardless, I clearly made them nervous, and I will not cause them to suffer again.

> Again, they have most everything that the other stores have. Their produce section boasted 20+ items, and they had a cooler for fresh olives and cheeses but they did not look very appetizing. They also had the dried foods that are so famous throughout Turkey, but these are plentiful throughout Ürgüp in much nicer specialty stores.

> Coca-Cola 2.5 liter = 2.70TL
Coca-Cola can = could not find
Nacho Cheese Doritos (@ 600g) = 2TL
Lays Klasik Potatos Chips (@ 600g) = 2TL
Lipton Doğu Karadeniz Cay (Natural Black Sea Tea) (1000g bag) = 11.95TL

J. Metro (Kayseri)
> Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) – They are across the border. They can compete but they are just short of the top. Maybe if they moved closer to the center of the action, they would be a force. It is hard to say.

> If you are from America, think of Costco or Sam’s Club for your equivalent. As far as I understand it Metro is out of Germany. They sell everything imaginable out of a giant warehouse style box store, most of it in bulk. Honestly, their prices are not any better than other stores, but we liked going there once a month or so for whole wheat tortillas (which we found here at Migros) and a few other items. We also bought most of our school supplies there.


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Duke Dillard moved to Turkey with his wife and 6 children in 2007. He got an MBA at Bilkent University in Ankara, where they had their 7th child. After 4 years in Ankara the whole family moved to Cappadocia, and this blog was born. We love Cappadocia and Cappadocians and want to help visitors make the most of their time here. You can connect with Duke on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and/or link circles on Google+. Click here to read more about Duke and his family.