We have had some people ask us about the Sharp Shopper Grocery Outlet located in Waynesboro, VA (their are a few other locations too). We had never been there so we could not give our honest opinion about it. Over the weekend I was passing through Waynesboro and took the opportunity to find out what the Sharp Shopper is all about.
Basically it is a discount grocery store, some items are close to the use by date and other items are past the best buy date. The store is full of regular grocery items: beverages, canned goods, toiletries, cleaning products, dairy products, some meat, frozen food, etc. Coupons can not be used at this store. Items change quickly, so you never know what you will find! So is it worth it?
I found that some items were priced very low. My family eats a lot of granola bars. The Smart Shopper had Quaker Granola bars and Nature Valley Chewy Bars for .99¢ a box. Even with a coupon at a regular store, I rarely pay just .99¢. So, I ended up buying (7) boxes since the best buy date was not until October (these bars will be long gone by then!). Other great deals: Capri Sun Sports drink 10 pack for $1.25, Pasta-Roni for .50¢ each, Keebler Club Crackers $1.19 and Dole fruit cup 4 pack for .99¢. They also had a nice selection of fresh deli meats and cheeses for a reasonable price.
In light of Amee and my recent food poisoning, I am not about to take a chance on expired food or food that is past the best buy date. All of the food I did purchase, was not past the stamped on date. According to the Smart Shopper site, it is still okay to eat food past the best by date. But like I said, food poisoning is not fun and not a risk I am willing to take with my family. Therefore, I recommend looking closely at the item you are purchasing and check the dates (this goes for any store!). If you are stockpiling, make sure you rotate your food and use the items that expire soonest first.
Some of the items were not a great price. I know what the Rock Bottom Prices are for the products I buy regularly. Some items would have been cheaper on sale at a regular store combined with a coupon. Other items would have been cheaper on sale even without a coupon. The Pepsi 12 packs, for example, were $2.99. That is an okay price but you can often get the 12 packs on sale from $2.00-$2.50. The cereal was marked at $2.00-$3.00 a box. All of the regular stores have been running great deals on cereal over the past couple of weeks. Combined with a coupon, cereal has been around .99¢ a box. The bread was way over priced for being near the best buy date. The bread was marked around $1.99 a loaf. Kroger and Harris Teeter often have their store brand bread at .99¢ if you are looking for cheap bread.
Another thing to consider is the drive. We live about 50 minutes from Waynesboro. For me, it is not worth the drive just to go to the Sharp Shopper. However, I will shop their again if I am already in the area. Another idea is to carpool with friends. Make a day trip out of it and hit some other stores up that way.
There are some bargains to be had at the Sharp Shopper. Know your Rock Bottom Prices for the products your normally purchase, watch the dates and have fun finding the deals!