Tiny1 – I live near Peoria, IL, a mid-West city with a population of 110K and a SMSA of 325K. I could never find a tri-tip either and I gave up asking at grocery stores after always getting that deer caught in the head lights look OR being lead to the meat bin where the guy would point to a beef roast and say that is what a tri-tip is – WHICH it wasn’t!
After a while I decided to seek out a local small butcher shop and I recited my usual “Hi’ I’m looking for a tri-tip. Got any?” The owner looked surprised at first and said “I keep them for myself and for my kid’s families but if you want one I’ll sell you one!”
My advice is look around!