From The Antioch Press (Antioch, CA):
Savvy Shoppers Turn to Discount Stores
By Ruth Roberts, Staff Writer
With gasoline and milk prices hovering around $5 a gallon this summer, pain at the pump and agony at the grocery store are forcing many consumers to rethink how and where they do their shopping.
And while that's good news for venues here in East County such as the Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet, it's also bodes well for the growing number of discount divas who are learning how to spot a deal when they see one…
George Medeiros, owner and operator of the Grocery Outlet, says the influx of regular customers to his store has also grown. Since he and his wife Lori opened their Antioch location nearly 13 years ago, their store has enjoyed a continuous, steady increase in sales. Add to that equation the current economic condition said Medeiros, and you've got a business that has found its niche.
Everybody wants to save; there's no mystery to that, said Medeiros, who estimates he sees an average of 700 customers come through his store each day. Business is good and in the past year or so I'm seeing a lot of new faces; a lot new regular customers.
So what's the secret? How are these retailers able to provide a quality product at such discounted prices?
No secret, said Mindy Boone, manager of the Antioch Grocery Outlet. Just the know-how to buy overflow items, discontinued products and bulk foods that other stores don't have the room to stock. Buying in bulk allows stores like the Grocery Outlet to pass the savings onto their customers.
You can get a lot of the same things here that you can get in other stores, but at much lower prices, and they're just as fresh, said Boone. We have a lot of great deals here and people know that.
Name-brand items on snacks and other food items, as well as non-food products from companies such as Colman, are certainly a strong draw, agrees Medeiros. But for long-time patrons like Lee Ryan, it's the overall package that brings him in week after week.
This is the place to be, said Ryan. There is a ton of selection, the prices are great, and so is the customer service. We've always shopped here, but now we're just doing it more regularly.
Customer consistency and confidence are the mainstays of discount stores such as the Grocery Outlet, said Medeiros. Even restaurants that have long enjoyed the advantages of shopping in bulk are revving up their efforts even more these days.
Institutions come in here all the time because we offer the freshest, largest selections on items, said Medeiros. That's the key: give the customer what he wants. It's been working well for us, so we're just going to keep doing what we're doing.