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  • GO Buyer Shares the Secret to Finding WOW Products for Your Shopping Bag

    We sat down with Kai to chat about how our buyers find the best products and offer them for less than traditional retailers. Here’s what she had to say:

    Kai Mitchell

    I don’t understand why I can’t find the same things every time I shop – why is that?

    Kai: As a buyer, we look for amazing opportunities to bring products to your store. Sometimes this means that we purchase close-outs, over-production lots or promotional packaging that can’t be currently sold in other stores.

    We are able to get products that might otherwise end up unused or disposed of because it couldn’t be used in a traditional retailer. The product is still fresh and usable – and you can buy it for a fraction of what you would pay for the same thing, in a different package elsewhere. Once these special purchases sell out, they are gone. That’s why we say to come in often and stock up when you see a WOW deal.

    For example: a manufacturer was asked to create a special promotional 2-pack of deodorant for a national retailer. They forecasted more than the retailer actually purchased and they offered the excess to us – and it ends up on the shelves for you.

    Why is it that I can find products at GO for so much less?

    Kai: We’ve been around since 1946 and in that time we’ve developed some long-lasting relationships with vendors that trust us to be a great resource for them. Often times, a new vendor comes to us with an offer because they’ve heard about the way we operate. And there are other times where we seek out vendors – we meet them at tradeshows or find out that a product was sold to a new company.

    Our philosophy is to get back to our vendors immediately when they make us an offer. We take the products from them immediately so they don’t have to store it longer than necessary. We also purchase the products for a fair value – which our vendors place a high value on, enhancing our relationship with them. Many of our vendors also like knowing that they are helping a community – from the small business aspect of the independent operator to how that operator helps the community they are servicing. We really do live the “it’s just like family” philosophy and that extends to our vendors.

    I was in one Grocery Outlet and it didn’t have what my regular store had… was it sold out?

    Kai: It might have sold out or it may have been a special selection for the store. Sometimes one store will have something different than another, but there are many products that all of our stores will have in-stock. Variations come from the differences from store to store – this is the beauty of the independently owned and operated. We will make items available to purchase and the operator will bring it into the store if it is something that they think their customers will snap up. So one store may carry lots of NOSH items because their community loves the natural & organic selections, where another store may have a smaller selection but has an amazing selection of wines.

    We heard that you are now buying for the Health and Beauty section – what can we expect to see?

    Kai: We’re looking for WOW deals from conventional brands and natural product companies. Selections we’re looking to expand are the cosmetics we offer our customers – bringing in more high quality make-up choices for you. We’re also looking to expand our hair care selections – offering more variety of the brands you know and some hidden gems too.

    What’s the favorite GO product you have in your home right now?

    Kai: I love the organic maple syrup… who doesn’t love syrup?

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  • Beauty Blog: Get the Skinny on Skinny Girl


    This past week Grocery Outlet ran an AD featuring the new and exciting Skinny Girl line by Bethenny Frankel. Many of us know her for the Skinny Girl Margarita and assorted other mixed drinks, but she seems to be a jack of all trades these days: skincare line, shaping body wear line, nutrition line…what’s next?

    We got an awesome deal on Skinny Girl products, so naturally we are sharing it with you! The unusual thing about this buy is the breadth of product we got—we are almost able to carry the complete Skinny Girl line! That amount and variety of product is rare in a closeout deal.

    More importantly, these products are a great value. If you go to Target, Walmart, CVS, or even you’ll see that this skincare line retails anywhere from $5-$16—but at Grocery Outlet, we’re selling Skinny Girl for $1.99-$4.99. Yes, you read that correctly.

    Items that I’m most excited about:

    Skinny Girl Lip Balm Shimmer—for when you want to keep things fun but not flashy. The Plumping Lip Gloss also has a lovely shimmer to it. And for $1.99—what’s not to love?! With ingredients like Shea Butter and Castor Seed Oil, lips will look luscious and be moisturized!


     Skinny Girl


    Skinny Girl Cleansing Facial Cloths—I’m addicted to facial cloths, because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to walk over to the sink and wash my face. These particular facial cloths have Aloe, Chamomile, Cucumber, and Willow Bark, which have natural anti-inflammatory properties. They’re only $2.99 for a pack of 25! These are great to pack in your bag to use after hitting the gym, yoga studio, or even doing a little gardening outside—or you could be like me and use them instead of washing your face, which might not be the best thing to do, come to think of it.

    Skinny Girl Tinted Daily Moisturizer SPF 15—I wear sunscreen every day—if you don’t already, you should too! Finding a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen is wonderful, especially if you’re not one to wear very much makeup, but want just a little bit more coverage. This is a great product to use as your base if you wear foundation. We carry this in three different shades: Sand, Beige, and Mocha. For $3.99, it’s hard to beat this awesome deal.


     Skinny Girl on Shelf


    If that wasn’t enough to get you excited about the Skinny Girl Skin Care Line, you should know that Skinny Girl does not test on animals. All of the products smell great, feel great, and are a great value! So hurry in and try Skinny Girl before we run out!

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  • Bargain TV: Frozen Food Month!

    March is National Frozen Food Month and Grocery Outlet is celebrating in a big way with spectacular deals! Get a peek "behind the curtain" as Christopher tours the cold distribution facility that all frozen food and deli items are received and delivered fresh to our stores. 

    If you were an ice sculptor, what would you sculpt? Do you ever get nosicles? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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  • Lesson 2: The Cash Only Diet

    Frugal Find 

    A 12-Month Series by Guest Blogger Julia Wessels, from The Frugal Find

    I'd like to talk today about the "Envelope Budget" or the cash-only method.   I'd like to suggest that you'll actually save money every month by using cash.  Seems like a contradiction right?  I’m suggesting that by spending CASH (note – not debit, credit cards, or checks) but hard cold CASH, you’ll actually SAVE money!  We are a cash-only family – simply put if you can pay cash for it, you should.  I know at first it might sound crazy, you might think if I have cash I will just blow it!  However, I think quickly you will see just the opposite happen. You will begin to ask yourself, do we really need this?  You will find yourself meal planning.  You will find yourself with money at the end of the month.

    “When you pay cash, you can “feel” the money leaving you. This is not true with credit cards. Flipping a credit card up on a counter registers nothing emotionally. A study of credit card use at McDonald’s found that people spent 47% more when using credit instead of cash. This is money you could have saved!” – Dave Ramsey

    We do not pay cash for any bill that can be paid through our online bill pay, and I highly suggest online bill pay – it’s free and you’ll never incur a late payment again.  We get our cash out each week and divide it up between our envelopes, some of them accrue while other are spent each week.

    For example, our Car Registration envelope accumulates while our Grocery Envelope is spent in full each week.  The difference is that you do not want or need for your Grocery Envelope to have excess, it is not a “savings account”—if you have extra money in there every week, I’d bet that there's another category that could use a little bump up or, if you’re working on paying down debt, it should absolutely go there first.

    Hopefully these steps will help you to understand the process...
    Step 1Define your categories.  What can you possibly pay for cash with? One key here is to only include categories for things that you can’t pay online or through an invoice or bill. Anything that doesn’t come as a bill in the mail is probably a good candidate for cash.

    Here's a list of our envelopes.  You may notice that we do not have an envelope for gas. It’s not that we don’t have it budgeted; it’s because I don’t want to leave the kids in the car while I go into the gas station to pay the attendant. We use our debit card for this expense. You’ll need to figure out what best fits your family's needs.

    1. Groceries
    2. Toiletries
    3. Clothes
    4. Gifts (Birthdays, Christmas, etc)
    5. Date Night
    6. Eating Out
    7. Spending Money
    8. Car Maintenance
    9. Kid’s Date
    10. Kid’s Allowance
    11. Trip Money
    12. Car Maintenance
    13. Car Registration
    14. Hair Cuts
    15. School Supplies/Events

    Step 2 – Determine how much you spend in several categories per month, ie. groceries, toiletries, clothing, etc. Not while on a budget, but what you have spent on a regular basis. This make take some time, and you may have no idea because you haven’t kept any track at all so you may have to start this process now for the next 30 days. Now hold on to your seat, you’re going to be shocked.

    Step 3 – Figure out how much you THINK you will NEED in each category.  The key here is to be flexible, because it will change. It will change more than once, twice, and possibly even three times. Life is always changing and so will your budget. Another baby? Up goes the toiletry budget! Or maybe you just potty trained your 2 year old, well that saves $30 a month!

    Step 4 – Get the cash! We go every week  to withdraw our cash, it is easiest if you can keep it to an even $20 amount so you can go to the ATM machine at your bank, saves you a trip inside the bank. This has got to be the best part, it’s like playing a game of monopoly. Divide your cash, you may need to go into the bank every once in a while to get $5’s, $10’s, etc depending on your envelope amounts.

    Step 5 - Start saving money! When the envelope is empty, that’s it, your money is gone and you CANNOT purchase anything in that category until the next envelope payday. But remember, the first couple of months you need to be flexible. Also, please remember to make your budget realistic, if you undercut yourself too much, you will give up. So that is why my family has an eating out budget, because the reality is, while we shouldn’t eat out, we do. We put $15 a week into our eating out budget, if we save it up we can go out to a sit down dinner, otherwise it gets us a pizza night once a week.

    “Hey I just wanted to share with you that after starting the envelope system 3 months ago we have finally met budget AND we were able to UP-IT! Also my husband told me the other day that for the first time he doesn’t feel like we are living paycheck to paycheck. We are buying things dirt cheap before the real need for them hits. It has been a hard but wonderful journey. One I really didn’t think we could do! Thanks so much.” – Cassandra

    That is just one of hundred’s of  reader’s experiences.  I’d LOVE to hear about yours in the comment section below.  Do you use cash or an envelope budget system?  What does it look like for your family?

    See the first post in Julia's series here: Saving Money by Meal Planning.

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  • Refreshing Summer Sips

    We're kicking off the weekend with the latest Bargain TV episode. Don't let this summer slip away without enjoying a refreshing Summer Sip.

    What's your favorite beverage to sip when the weather is hot? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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  • Summer Food Safety

    Cooking outdoors is a summer activity best shared with family and friends. But in order to stay healthy, it's important to follow food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing food borne illness. Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely:

    Store to Home
    When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry last, right before checkout. Put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags to guard against cross-contamination, which happens when raw meat juices drip onto other food packages.



    Cook Thoroughly

    Cook food to a safe minimum temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat & poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

    Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures
    Whole poultry: 165 °F
    Poultry breasts: 165 °F
    Ground poultry: 165 °F
    Hamburgers, beef: 160 °F
    Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks, roasts and chops): Medium rare 145 °F, Medium 160 °F
    All cuts of pork: 160 °F

    Don't forget to check out your local Grocery Outlet store for great values on excellent cuts of meat!  Our meat is cut-to-order just for Grocery Outlet, then packed and delivered fresh several times a week. All of our fresh-cut meat is USDA Natural—minimally processed with no added ingredients.  So-called “sale” meat at regular stores is not well-trimmed, so you pay for parts you can’t eat, but Grocery Outlet trims extra-close, so you get the most for your money.

    We provide quality meat at great prices.  It’s just that simple.

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  • Pet Product Giveaway!

    I'm excited to announce that we're doing a Frugal Furry Friends Pet Product Giveaway Contest here on the Bargainista Blog.  We have so many great pet bargains in the store, and now we get to share them with you!

    Leave a comment with your favorite story about your pet (past or present) and the gift basket you'd like, and we'll pick a lucky winner for each basket on Monday, October 18th. One comment per person.  Duplicate entries will be disqualified.  Contest runs from 10/4-10/17.

    And now, here are the baskets:


    Little Dog Gift Basket

    Little Dog Gift Basket: Beneful IncrediBites, 2 plush doggy bone toys, and a bamboo dog bowl.


    Big Dog Gift Basket

    Big Dog Gift Basket: Milk Bone holiday gift pack (box of Milk Bones, 2 packages dog treats, and a plush toy) and quilted striped pet bed.


    Cat Gift Basket

    Cat Gift Basket: Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Adult Cat Dry Cat Food and Pedi Paws nail trimmer.

    And here are our latest Grocery Outlet pets:



    Foster, Diana's dog.



    Smurf, Jackie's cat.


    Stella and Trixie

    Stella and Trixie, Rich's dogs.



    If you like this, check out our Grocery Outlet Pets Album on Facebook!  Lots of cute furry critters over there. 

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  • Organic and Specialty Friday Frugal Finds

    Today I toured our organic and specialty foods aisle to see what we've got in stock.  It's been on my mind as I work on edible press kits at Grocery Outlet HQ.  We send out these kits to the media to alert them to our current news and extreme bargain products.  Think of this post as your personal edible press kit—except you can't eat it, unless you hit the store and pick up some of these great products.


    Annie's Mac & Cheese 99 cents


    Annie's is the gold standard when it comes to healthy and natural groceries.  They source their ingredients from sustainable farmers, and all of their packaging has some recycled content and is recyclable itself.  You can read more about their sustainability practices here.


    Nutella only $2.99 at Grocery Outlet!


    If you like nuts and chocolate and haven't tried Nutella yet, you should.  It's fantastic, and super delicious on waffles, pancakes, and crepes.  I like it with bananas too.  It's only $2.99 when you buy it at Grocery Outlet.


    Agave Nectar at Grocery Outlet


    Agave Nectar is the hottest natural sweetener right now.  Low on the glycemic index, it won't spike your blood sugar, plus it dissolves quickly, making it ideal for tea and coffee and other liquids.  It has a clean, sweet, slightly herbal flavor.  I like it a lot and was surprised to find it at GO.


    Muir Glen Organic Pasta Sauce at Grocery Outlet


    Muir Glen organic pasta sauce is a great find.  These guys are masters at all things tomato.  It will give a little zing to your pasta, and at 2 for $5, you can afford to try something new.


    Imagine Organic Beef Broth


    Making any soups or stews this autumn?  I love French Onion Soup, and I used Imagine broth to make it.  Their flavors are rich and delicious, and I don't think you can find this cheaper anywhere else.  I'm stocking up because I know I'll use a lot of broth in my holiday cooking.  I know we have the chicken broth available too; I found it last week.


    Newman's Own pretzels at Grocery Outlet


    I still miss Paul Newman.  He was a great guy and a stellar philanthropist. We have his pretzel thins in stock at only 2/$3.  That's a great price for an excellent item, plus when you buy a Newman's Own item, all proceeds go to charity.  That's pretty amazing if you think about it.  The Newman's Own Foundation has donated over $300 million dollars to different charities since 1982.  We're thrilled to be able to carry Newman's Own products.


    Tea Pear


    Last but not least is a newcomer: Ito-En.  Ito-En makes wonderful tea products.  My favorite is Tea Apple, but I tried Tea Pear today and it was very good—light, crisp, and refreshing.  It's a mix of white tea and pear juice, so it's naturally sweet

    That wraps it up for me this week.  Stay fresh, stay frugal.

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  • Frugal Furry Friends

    Grocery Outlet bargainistas love their pets—they’re part of our families.  We’re sure you love your pets too, which is why we’ve recently put our focus on expanding our pet product selection.  I interviewed Paul, our pet buyer, to get the scoop.

    Paul, have you noticed any big changes in the pet category this year?

    We’re getting better deals on pet food due to a higher volume of close-outs than we’d normally see in one year.  A good example is a new vendor, Castor & Pollux—a very high-end gourmet pet food company.  They make specialty organic and natural dog and cat food that we are able to offer at up to 66% off the retail price.  This is a very special deal that you’ll only see once, so stock up now while you can.  We can always hope for more.

    Another change is that two of our key suppliers changed their packaging on three of our key categories: dry dog food, dry cat food, and canned cat food.  Subsequently, we’re seeing a lot more product coming through our doors.

    Are there any products that are really difficult to get?  

    Purina Dog Chow and Cat Chow, and Gravy Train Dry Dog Food are hard for me to stock.  These are cornerstone brands and their manufacturers try hard not to have much excess inventory.  When you do see these items, buy more than one because they won’t last long.

    What are the most exciting products we have in the stores right now?

    I’m most excited about the Castor & Pollux, and Purina Beneful—both have excellent value for the caliber of product.  Also, we have Milk Bone Plus 24 oz dog bones coming in, and Milk Bone dog treats.  I know those will be popular with Grocery Outlet dogs.

    For our cat lovers, I'm thrilled that we have 9 Lives cat food in stock. It's a great brand and a good value for our customers.

    How did you manage to get these great deals?

    Both were packaging changes by the manufacturer.

    Are you a pet lover yourself Paul?

    Yes!  I have a dog, Focus, that I rescued from the Berkeley Animal Shelter and a cat, Bear, that we rescued from the Castro Valley Animal Shelter.

    Thanks Paul!  And to kick things off, we want to share with you some of Grocery Outlet's frugal furry friends...

    Jasmine the cat

     Jasmine, Mark's cat.



    Scout and Georgia Porter

     Scout and Georgia, Melissa's cats.



    The Nimh.

     Nimh, Kelly's cat.



    Herman, the resident mascot of our downtown Seattle store


    Jeff's dog.

    Jeff's dog, Kaylie.


    Winston and Levi

    Dave's dogs, Winston (left) and Levi (right).



    Maggie, Bryan's cat.



    Smokey, Maria's horse.

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