Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

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Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Jenise » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:36 pm

I had never even heard of Winco before visiting a store in Moscow, Idaho, last fall. Found it overly large and depressing, but I wasn't in need of groceries--all alone and just killing time--so was negatively impressed by the poor produce and more pre-made food than I've ever seen anywhere. The only thing I bought that day were canned green olives for $2 under what I pay for them here in Bellingham.

One just opened in Bellingham, however, and since I'm shopping for this huge event this weekend in which the need to adhere to a budget is paramount, a $10 coupon I got in the mail suggested it wouldn't be a bad place to start with the 'hard groceries'--flour, sugar, oils, vinegars, canned goods and other mostly non-perishables.

Here's what you need to know: like for all these big events, I have created a budget for myself in which I put all the recipes I plan to use in a spreadsheet, extend the quantities to address the amount I'll need to buy and individually estimate the cost of that line item based on what I expected to pay at one of the two premier local chains. It's an estimate AND a shopping list. And my estimates are good--I'm a savvy shopper with a terrific memory and in the past my estimates have come about 10% over actual cost which is close enough to a bullseye to me and insures that any misses result in an underrun, not an overrun. For this event I'd estimated a total cost of $732, which did not yet include the cost of the welcome drink or tablesnacks I've mentioned in other threads but which I can obviously do without overrunning my $800 allotment. About $275 of that is the cost of the meats which will be purchased at Costco, and another $150 is decorations. Ergo, around $350 is what I estimated to spend on everything else.

Although five or six other things, including rum, did not get purchased, and I spent about $21 at another stop first on the way, but I bought literally everything else needed at Winco yesterday including the unbudgeted juices for the cocktails and whole tropical fruits for my centerpiece. My purchases filled two big carts to the brim. Nearly everything was priced lower than I expected to pay, often by a buck or more per item, so as I toured the aisles I knew this was building a significant underrun. But even then, I figured I had a good $300 worth of stuff in my bulging carts.

So when the cashier told me the amount owed was a lot less than that, I involuntarily squeaked, "That's ALL?" $129.

God knows if the prices are deliberately and uncharacteristically low in order to build a new clientele fast, and you should add $10 to that total to adjust for the artificial deflation of the coupon, but jeez. $139 for what I anticipated to cost over two times that? Really astonishing.

How they do it: they're an "employee owned store". No credit--debit, check or cash only. Not a lot of service: nobody trims the green onions to make them look pretty. Your tri tip will come with an ugly membrane around it the likes of which you've never seen before unless you're a butcher. And when you leave, you bag your own groceries. It's DIY grocery shopping, the anti-Whole Foods without the obligation to overbuy that comes with Costco's industrial-quantity schematic.

Apparently they're only on or near the west coast, though. So far. They've gotten as far as Utah and Nevada but I guess the model's working and they'll be everywhere before long. Pretty interesting experience.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Tom NJ » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:55 pm

I've never heard of them. It's a long shot, but do you think they're associated at all with Winco cookware? Sounds like my kinda store, actually.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Christina Georgina » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:38 pm

Amazing ! They are not in our neck of the Midwest. We do have Aldi's which might be similar. What are you going to splurge on since you are unexpectedly flush ??
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:06 am

Christina Georgina wrote: What are you going to splurge on since you are unexpectedly flush ??


More rum!!!!!! :wink:

I've heard of Winco, so I think we must have one around here somewhere. I've never been real interested in checking the place out, but I am now.

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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Jenise » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:44 am

Mike, things are probably more competitive in your neck of the woods than up here and overall prices somewhat lower as a result, but you might be nonetheless impressed. I have a feeling that, like me, you tend to buy mostly raw and organic ingredients and not much that comes in cans or packages (where the larger savings probably are), but nonetheless 50 cents here and a dollar there adds up pretty fast. Ours also has an extensive bulk foods (rices, grains, nuts etc) area, with some options we don't see much of--the friend shopping with me was ecstatic to find four different swiss water process decaf whole bean options which she has a bitch of a time finding anywhere else in town. The beans all looked and smelled great, and were something like $6 a pound where around here we typically pay $10 and up. Some examples: King Arthur flour was about $3 for a five pound bag, and Heinz white wine vinegar just $1.53 a quart. The Saffola Safflower mayonnaise I like was $2.53 a jar vs. close to $5 like I usually pay. And the Dole pineapple I need for the pina colada muffins we're making was $1.38 a can vs. the $2.29 I expected to pay. For big families or big events, the savings can be substantial.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:32 pm

We have a huge Winco store in Redding. I have been there twice. It is too big for my tastes and the way they scatter product all over the store to ensure that you do a lot of walking drives me crazy. I saw washing detergent in three separate areas, one being near the produce and the odor of all that soap near the produce was a put off. The first time I was by myself and it was busy. I was a nervous wreck trying to get my stuff bagged properly before the checker was finished with the person behind me. Some folks are not very patient or tolerant in those situations. Second time, I took Gene to help bag, and that worked out much better. You do save a ton of money and that is a big plus for many folks. It is best to shop early morning or very late at night. The place is packed when the welfare checks come in and they seem to prefer mid morning and early afternoon. There are twitchy people (the meth users) who sometimes hang out in the parking lot looking for handouts. However, to be fair, they are at other stores as well. Raley's has been rather successful running them off.

I prefer smaller stores, one that I can get in and out of quickly. I go in with a list, and rarely go up and down each aisle just to look. We also have a huge canned foods warehouse type store which offers great bargains on wine, cheeses, and high end product. Lots of people who entertain often use this store. I think the products may be near the end of the "best by" date or even past it. One can also find unusual items such as reams of paper. When I was making greeting cards, I could find beautiful card stock for 1.00 a ream. This type of stuff comes in and is gone within hours, perhaps never to be seen again. I took a cooking class a few years ago from a local chef at her home. She gave all her students gift bags filled with the best chocolate, lady fingers, and a few other goodies. She found it all at the Canned Foods Warehouse, even the gift bags.

There is also a Food Max, that is much like Winco. Since I retired, I have not been there. I had two offices, one a satellite office across town. I was provided with a small refrigerator which I kept soft drinks and snacks for the police officers who used my office late at night, or after hours. They paid on the honor system. I used to buy all the stuff at Food Max, not only were their sales great on soft drinks and bottled water, but sometimes they would donate a few things because they knew I was buying it for the local police.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Shaji M » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:44 pm

We do have a Winco here in Reno..actually 2. On the esthetic front, they don't do so well. It does look like a warehouse. The ones here in Reno do have really good produce. The meat is so so. Prices are quite reasonable. It is employee owned and couple of people I know actually work there and enjoy it. One of the stores in town is in an area that I would consider a food oasis. When Winco built a store there, I thought it was commendable. As much as I enjoy browsing around in Whole Foods, I noticed that their stores are usually in affluent neighborhoods and their "lets all get together and eat organic and save the planet" slogan struck to me as hypocritical. It's not like rich people have trouble finding food! Anyway, thats my take. I am leaving. :)
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Brian K Miller » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:44 pm

Christina Georgina wrote:Amazing ! They are not in our neck of the Midwest. We do have Aldi's which might be similar. What are you going to splurge on since you are unexpectedly flush ??



God, Aldi's store brand foods are TERRIBLE.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Jenise » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:57 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:We have a huge Winco store in Redding. I have been there twice. It is too big for my tastes and the way they scatter product all over the store to ensure that you do a lot of walking drives me crazy. I saw washing detergent in three separate areas, one being near the produce and the odor of all that soap near the produce was a put off. The first time I was by myself and it was busy. I was a nervous wreck trying to get my stuff bagged properly


This store's checkout stands are huge and divided. The cashier can send the groceries down either side of the divider so that the immediate past customer who's not done bagging yet isn't an obstruction to the next customer. And I know what you mean about size. As my friend and I traversed it's length for the second time, I wondered aloud if it had it's own zip code. I don't see myself going back on my own account without a big event like this on my plate. Too little variety in my favorite department, produce, and perhaps too little of the other things I want to make it worthwhile.

Of course, if I find out they have good cat litter cheap and a particular brand of cat treat, this could be a game changer. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:40 pm

Jenise wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:We have a huge Winco store in Redding. I have been there twice. It is too big for my tastes and the way they scatter product all over the store to ensure that you do a lot of walking drives me crazy. I saw washing detergent in three separate areas, one being near the produce and the odor of all that soap near the produce was a put off. The first time I was by myself and it was busy. I was a nervous wreck trying to get my stuff bagged properly


This store's checkout stands are huge and divided. The cashier can send the groceries down either side of the divider so that the immediate past customer who's not done bagging yet isn't an obstruction to the next customer. And I know what you mean about size. As my friend and I traversed it's length for the second time, I wondered aloud if it had it's own zip code. I don't see myself going back on my own account without a big event like this on my plate. Too little variety in my favorite department, produce, and perhaps too little of the other things I want to make it worthwhile.

Of course, if I find out they have good cat litter cheap and a particular brand of cat treat, this could be a game changer. :)

There is a local pet shop here in town that buys only American made cat and dog food. She does research on the foods, and when Proctor and Gamble picked up a huge amount of pet food, she cut off all those brands. Toys are made in usa. Some in China...my dog makes short work of them,,,she is twelve lbs. We decided tonight, no more China crap. Has anyone read "Death by China" ????
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:16 am

Karen - with a 12 lb. dog, you might want to avoid the Chinese chicken jerky treats, in particular (which is pretty much all of the commercial ones). There have been some problems with these that have been noted most often in smaller dogs.

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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Jenise » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:38 am

Karen, is Canidae one of the American made brands your local store sells?
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:13 pm

Jenise wrote:Karen, is Canidae one of the American made brands your local store sells?

Jenise, I just called them and she said she does not carry Canidae. It is made by Diamond and they have sanitation issues at that plant. Here is her website and it has a list of the foods they carry.

http://www.htbarkery.com/?page_id=30
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:20 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Karen - with a 12 lb. dog, you might want to avoid the Chinese chicken jerky treats, in particular (which is pretty much all of the commercial ones). There have been some problems with these that have been noted most often in smaller dogs.

Mike,
The only commercial treats I give our Havanese girl are the liver treats the same store I mentioned makes in their store bakery. They are frozen right after they are cooled from her ovens. They look like brownies! :) Then she gets a no grain, natural kibble made in the USA along with chopped veggies and any meat scraps I have, like chicken, steak. When I brown ground meat, I make a little for her. When I make chicken stock, I sort through the stock, once made, and pull out chicken and carrot pieces, and freeze them in 1/2 cup portions. She gets about half a Tablespoon mixed with hot water and her kibble. She really loves that! Takes me forever to do that but she is well worth it.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:46 am

Karen/NoCA wrote:
Jenise wrote:Karen, is Canidae one of the American made brands your local store sells?

Jenise, I just called them and she said she does not carry Canidae. It is made by Diamond and they have sanitation issues at that plant. Here is her website and it has a list of the foods they carry.

http://www.htbarkery.com/?page_id=30


I'm unaware of sanitation issues but my cats got a bad batch and four required hospitalization. When I took the bag back to the small store I bought it at, a clerk accidentally fed it to a litter of kittens and they all died. Though their responsibility was evident, Canidae/Felidae (then hq'd up near San Luis Obispo) refused to take any responsibility. Not a product you'd want.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:37 pm

'm unaware of sanitation issues but my cats got a bad batch and four required hospitalization. When I took the bag back to the small store I bought it at, a clerk accidentally fed it to a litter of kittens and they all died. Though their responsibility was evident, Canidae/Felidae (then hq'd up near San Luis Obispo) refused to take any responsibility. Not a product you'd want.


The owner tries really hard to stay on top of it. Things happen though. She also will not deal with a company which does not take food back. Say a dog or cat was fed a certain food and it was allergic or got sick. The pet owner is stuck with a bag they cannot use. If the rep will not take the bag back, she will not deal with them. Most of the companies she has offer free sample bags for pet owners to try. I always get a sample bag when I change pet food, before buying a larger bag.
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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:33 pm

Jenise wrote:
Karen/NoCA wrote:
Jenise wrote:Karen, is Canidae one of the American made brands your local store sells?

Jenise, I just called them and she said she does not carry Canidae. It is made by Diamond and they have sanitation issues at that plant. Here is her website and it has a list of the foods they carry.

http://www.htbarkery.com/?page_id=30


I'm unaware of sanitation issues but my cats got a bad batch and four required hospitalization. When I took the bag back to the small store I bought it at, a clerk accidentally fed it to a litter of kittens and they all died. Though their responsibility was evident, Canidae/Felidae (then hq'd up near San Luis Obispo) refused to take any responsibility. Not a product you'd want.


Did you call the FDA on this one, Jenise? They'll investigate those types of problems with pet food.

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Re: Anybody been to a Winco Foods?

Postby Jenise » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:14 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Did you call the FDA on this one, Jenise? They'll investigate those types of problems with pet food.


I know--and as I learned at the time, UC Davis has a hotline and they'd have done all that notification on the consumer's behalf--but I'd have had to have kept a sample of the food and I stupidly did not, I just turned it back to the pet store for immediate notification to Felidae/Canidae. The area rep was supposed to pick up the bag immediately but in fact 2-3 weeks passed before she did, which is why it was laying around for a new clerk to do what he did.
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