BB’s Grocery Outlet
I am a former extreme couponer. Back in the day, I was one of those crazy ladies who would get tons of stuff for free using coupons. Then, the TV show and social media ruined it. Too many people learned how to do it and companies closed the loopholes in coupon policies. I even had a deal/coupon blog that I sold years ago. On that blog, I remember once doing a post about BB’s Grocery Outlet. I argued against going there. It didn’t make sense to me to shop there and get “seconds” when you could clip coupons, go to the regular grocery store, and get first quality items for the same or less money.
Consider me reformed. I am now a regular shopper at BB’s Grocery Outlet.
What is BB’s Grocery Outlet? Who owns it?
Per their website, BB’s Grocery Outlet is a small chain. They have 5 stores. I’d consider it to be southeastern PA, they call it south-central. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. They’ve been in business since 1986. The website says they started on an Amish farm, so I would assume that it is Amish-owned. You will find many Amish and non-Amish people working there.
Basically it’s a closeout store. Everything there is “seconds.” Mainstream grocers won’t or don’t want to sell you expired or near-expired items, dented cans and so on. Or, say it’s an item that has packages within a package, like Quaker instant oatmeal. (I buy that often there) That oatmeal usually comes with 10 packets of oatmeal. But if the box gets torn and a packet or two is damaged, they’ll tape it back up, or otherwise repackage it and sell it. At a huge discount.
I have seen Kirkland items, which means they are getting some items from Costco. I have also seen price tags from now-defunct pharmacy chains. I know that some of their produce comes from the produce auction. They just salvage what would otherwise be thrown out.
Isn’t everything at BB’s expired?
Not at all! Some of it is just overstocks from other retailers. I was able to score those Izze drinks at about half price and they were not expired. My kids love them, but they’re expensive. It was nice to have them on hand during the holidays.
But, just a quick word about expiration dates. Did you know that for the most part, they are completely arbitrary? It’s true! Expiration dates are only for marketing purposes, and not at all regulated by the FDA or USDA. Ever since learning that, I don’t worry about the specific date if the food otherwise looks, smells and tastes fine.
So what changed my mind?
I’ll tell you what changed my mind. First, they opened a new location that is pretty close to me. Prior to that, I’d have to run to Quarryville which is not particularly convenient.
Second, I was seeking a specific product. My son has feeding issues. He won’t eat. I wanted to try those Ensure/Boost type drinks. But, you know how expensive those are, right? Like $10 a 6-pack. I didn’t want to invest in all these different flavors, only to have him refuse to drink them.
So, I headed down to BB’s. I knew that since they sell individual items from busted up 6-packs and such, that I would likely find individual bottles of Ensure.
I was right! Not only did they have them, but they also had all brands and at a huge discount! If you find a full 6 pack of these items, it’s $3. $3! A 12-pack is $6. So I poked around through the shelf and was able to bring home a bunch of different kinds for him to try and I didn’t have to invest a ton of money. He won’t drink any of them…but that’s another blog post for another day (he’s getting a g-tube).
But, this really caught my eye.
Best Deals at BB’s Grocery Outlet
Once I saw those protein bars for 10 cents, I was all in. My other son loves them and packs them for sports practices. But again, expensive! I am finding the brands he likes, and at Acme, I was paying $1-$1.59 per bar. Now, it takes me some extra time, but it’s worth it.
Produce is another place you’ll really save money. Raspberries are at least $4 at my grocery stores. I will say, with produce, that is one area you should check the item carefully. Especially for something that is delicate like berries. I bring them home and toss them in the freezer if we’re not going to use them right away. I also saw big pumpkins there for $2 during October.
The deals on food are better than the deals on non-perishable items such as cleaning products, toilet paper, etc. That makes sense, they have to recover some sales margin where they can. I would say it’s safe to say that for most items, you can expect to save at least 50% off of what you’d pay at a grocery store.
How to Shop at BB’s Grocery Outlet.
Here are some tips for shopping at BB’s if you want to give it a try.
100% 2 hours.
How to Shop at BB’s
- Allow extra time.
Because their inventory is an odd assortment of things, you have to hunt through the shelves. Items are grouped together by category, but a shelf may have 100 different kinds of juice on it and only 2-3 bottles of each variety. It takes time to find what you want if you are brand loyal.
- Know the Amish calendar.
It’s Amish-owned, so closed on Sundays and Amish holidays like Ascension day. That’s 40 days after Easter Sunday, I believe.
- Have meal plan ideas, in a broad sense.
I’m a huge fan of meal planning. It can be done but you have to be flexible. Instead of writing “spaghetti and meatballs” on one of my weeks, I’d instead write “pasta dish” and take it from there. I fill in holes later at the regular grocery store.
- An odd assortment of everything.
You’ll find some really random things there, but that’s part of the fun. You may also run into some unusual characters too. I’ve met some really interesting people there.
- Buy a little.
For some items, you may want to try one item before you buy a whole bunch. I bought some expired Starbucks coffee. It was $4 a pound, which is a great price for Starbucks, so I bought 5. I thought it was fine, but my husband did not like the taste. I’ve since donated it to the food bank.
- Buy a lot.
I saw some chocolate protein bars that I wanted to try. I bought 2 of them. I LOVE THEM. And…I haven’t seen them in the store since. That’s the risk. You may end up with a lot of an item you don’t like. Or, you may never again see an item that you loved.
- If you’re a stickler for dates and “pretty” this is not for you.
My sister-in-law won’t go because she won’t buy expired items. If dates bother you, or if you don’t like dented and torn packaging (food is always intact) then this is not for you.
- All payments accepted.
They now take credit/debit cards and EBT. Early on it was a cash-only business, as many Amish businesses are.
BB’s does not take coupons. I am providing this as a service since if you found this post, you like to save money!