What started as a small shop in Boise, Idaho, has now become WinCo, a no-frills grocery chain that’s sweeping the nation—starting in the West—with its ultra low prices. By cutting costs, not corners, the humble stores have set themselves up to compete with the biggest names in the game without sacrificing down-home customer service. But how, exactly, do they pull it off?
They Keep Things Simple
An astounding variety of groceries can be nice, but if you’re merely looking to pick up some basics for a holiday feast, it can be a pain to sift through dozens of brands of stuffing. WinCo makes things easy by offering just a choice or two of basic ingredients, so you can quickly grab what you need and hit the checkout line.
They’re All About Bulk
From apples and granola to flour and nuts, WinCo offers more than 800 items by the pound. That means no extra charges for pricey packaging, and you can buy exactly the amount you need.
Instead of going through middleman distributors, WinCo buys much of its food directly from manufacturers and farmers. Having one less step in the stocking process lets WinCo pass savings on to the customers.
They Cut Down on Frills
Sure, WinCo’s stores aren’t merchandised to perfection with ornate decorations and eye candy. But when it comes to savings, simplicity is everything; a straightforward setup requires less money on their end, which helps keep prices low and budget-friendly. Customers will notice a difference at the checkout line, too. There are no baggers, so shoppers should channel their inner Tetris skills to bag groceries themselves.
They Slice Their Fees
WinCo stores also cut down on expenses by accepting only cash and debit cards at the register. Not processing credit transactions is yet another way the stores avoid unnecessary fees that would otherwise be passed down to the customer.
They Treat Their Employees Well
Unlike some other big-box retailers, the employee-owned WinCo hooks its workers up with a nice benefits package. From executives to cashiers, employees are provided with health insurance and pensions. For the customer, that means the people working in the stores are happy to be there and willing to lend a helping hand. (Are you annoying them anyway? Find out here.)
Next time you’re stocking up the pantry, find out if WinCo is in your area, and consider making a run there for a quick and easy shopping experience that won’t bust your wallet.