Monday, September 19, 2011

B&T Discount Grocery--worth a gander.

One of our goals with this blog is to find local bargains within the small businesses of our community. It's easy to find deals in the huge chains and easy to overlook the small places you drive by every day. A short journey down 59 towards Ravenna will take you to B&T Discount Grocery. Located at 3011 State Route 59, just into the Ravenna mailing area, the store would be easy to miss if not for the giant B&T sign and the scrolling AAA Homes sign just past it. A left into the parking lot and there you are. 

Now, I have to be honest, my first impression of the store was not a pleasant impression. I walked in with my toddler son and found a cart. We were audibly assaulted immediately by rather loud talk radio that seemed to be an angry type of station. Normally I can't tolerate shopping in places that choose to play this type of broadcast, but I was determined to check out the store. Two employees, who I assume were also the owners, were chatting with a customer. Some kind of verbal altercation occurred in which the female employee started swearing, rather loudly, at the other employee. I don't particularly shelter my child from such language but such unprofessional behavior is still shocking, even in a small business. I shook my head and went about my business, after all, there might have been great deals in store for me!

When I first entered the store, I noted the beverage cooler near the door was stocked with various alcoholic beverages as well as individual cans of non alcoholic beverages. The store also carries tobacco products and Ohio lottery games. I checked a ticket that I'd forgotten about when I came in, alas it was a loser but it allowed for some friendly banter with the male employee of the store. His pleasant attitude really helped me to get over the rough feelings of the other employee's actions when I entered the store. He also found us later in the trip to let us know that he was marking down some items that might spark our interest.

The first aisle I encountered was stocked with all manner of chip and snack foods, with brands both familiar and unfamiliar. They were arranged in a tiered stack of bins and the prices, while not amazing, were very decent.  That row was lined on the other side with coolers, I checked a few of the expiration dates on the dairy products and juices, both out of curiosity and because one of the Simply brand juices looked off color. The juices had expired in July, while the dairy products seemed to be right in date. As the store is a salvage grocery, it's not for those who are squeamish about expiration dates. A lot of products are still good well past their expiration dates, including milk and eggs. I'm not sure about juice that expired in July, however. 

To my delight, the first aisle ended in a selection of locally grown produce. The produce was very cheaply priced, much lower than you will find at a normal grocery store. The selection was small, but it was a Monday morning and I imagine that the delivery times on local produce varies. Across from the produce was a small freezer section with vacuum packed steaks and ground beef, sausages and other items. I noted that the frozen corn dogs that I purchased last week at Walmart were half the price at B&T. 

There is quite a selection of non perishables, as can be expected for any discount or salvage grocer. Some of the cans and boxes are scratch and dent, which means savings for you if you aren't hung up on the aesthetics. They had vast quantities of both Campbell's Chicken Noodle and Tomato soups, the Chicken Noodle was 75 cents a can and the Tomato was 65 cents a can. From what I could tell most of those cans were in pristine condition. Sprinkled in with the more familiar brand names were occasional foreign and specialty branded items. I looked at something labeled "Natural Sea Salt," and I will have to take their word on it because the rest of the packaging was in an Asiatic script. I like finding little items like that for bargain prices because my family can try new and diverse things. There was also quite a selection of beverages both familiar and unfamiliar. Dry cereals took up most of one wall, again a lot of these are near or past expiration but that really shouldn't affect the taste much since the packages are sealed. 

In addition to their selection of grocery items, they also carry necessities such as diapers, Depends, and health and beauty items. The diaper selection seemed to have everything from generic, off brand, diapers to Seventh Generation diapers. The prices on the diapers were not bad at all and comparable to some of the deeper discount sale prices you can find at chain stores. Although I did not go through the health and beauty items one by one (it would have brought my two year old to the end of his patience) we did spot check a few items. They had seemingly good prices on shampoos, body washes, and bubble baths.

All in all, the store seems to be a good stop for those who do not coupon, the prices are low enough to make it worth the trip, especially for things like snacks, canned goods, and food for bagged lunches. The store does not accept manufacturer's coupons, but they do accept Visa, Mastercard, and EBT. Bags are 5 cents each but you are encouraged by signage in the store to bring your own reusable bags along. As the inventory in a business of this nature revolves and changes rather quickly, regular trips will probably net you your best deals.

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