Local Business News on the Southern Oregon Coast
Local Businesses on the Southern Oregon Coast Featured in the South Coast Shopper
BUSINESS OF THE WEEK:
Grocery Outlet    
By Annette Langenstein, Staff Writer 

Pat Backman and Joe Bollig have worked together for 26 years.  They joke that people just assume they’re married, even though each one has a wonderful spouse.  Pat is the owner of Grocery Outlet in Coos Bay, and Joe is the General Manager.  Since January 1988, they have been the faces behind the scene at one of our area’s most successful grocery stores, located at 1385 Newmark Avenue in Coos Bay.

When Grocery Outlet first opened its doors in Coos Bay, it carried mostly canned and dry goods, always at affordable prices.  Since then, however, it has transformed itself into a store where you can find people from a gourmet cook to a mother with her four children shopping there.

Look over in Aisle 1, where a senior lady is buying vitamin supplements at amazing prices.  In Aisle 4, that same mother with the kids is letting them pick out breakfast cereal, and they each get to choose one, because even though they are brand-name products, they’re at a fraction of the price other stores charge.  Over in Aisle 5, a local doctor is loading up his cart with fine wines at rock-bottom prices for the dinner party he’s hosting.  The gourmet chef in the next aisle over is carefully choosing which imported olive oil he’ll use for his next sauce. And a young twosome is picking out organic produce, then buying an organic frozen pizza. Do I have to remind you that you’re in Grocery Outlet in Coos Bay, Oregon?


Joe Bollig and Pat Backman cheerfully show off some of the products sold at Coos Bay’s Grocery Outlet.  
 When asked to describe what their niche was in our community, Joe replied, “Well, I think we’re just affordable shopping. I think we’re the cheapest overall in town.”  Pat added more:  “We offer really good customer service and take care of our customers. We have progressed over the years; evolved, I guess, from when we first opened and we had a lot of frozen goods and dried groceries, but we have added fresh produce, dairy, and meats.  If you look at the evolution that has taken place in this store, I am quite impressed with where we have come.   When I started in this business, we were all totally canned food.”

Joe explains, ”I think that our store helps a lot of companies with their overproduced products.  We take everything they have, and by doing that over the years, the companies have sold us a lot of their new stuff, and a lot of things that aren’t even available in our area.”

 Grocery Outlet is a west coast company, and its stores are all independently owned and operated, in Oregon, California, Washington, Nevada and Idaho.  The stores are often found in smaller towns, and Pat says, “One of the things that I feel we’ve always tried to do is work with our community.”  Adds Joe, “We have a lot of food banks that buy from us every month, or even twice a month.  One of the reasons they do that is they just call us with what they need, and we’ll put the food all together on a pallet, shrink-wrap it, load it into their  truck…we do all the work for them.”

One of the great things about this store is that each week, shoppers can enter the amount they’ve saved on groceries into a drawing and if they win, they’ll get that amount in groceries.  Drawings are held the second and fourth Monday of every month.  The individual whose name is drawn has their name posted for two weeks, and has that time to claim their winnings.  A few weeks ago, they had a $321 winner, and since 2002, Grocery Outlet has given away over $12,400!

Wednesday morning from 8-12 am, Grocery Outlet provides free coffee and cookies for everyone.  Pat says they have had the same people show up every Wednesday for years!  She says, “I think a lot of people don’t know truly what we have, as far as what types of items, and I think that people still see us as the “dented can store.”  We have a 100% money back guarantee on all our products. We’re selling items that many people have never seen before, because we are buying from back East, for instance, and we often see people stop in our store and say, ‘Hey, I haven’t seen this stuff since I was a kid!’”

Log on to www.groceryoutlet.com/coosbay-or for specials, coupons, sales, and to sign up for their e-blast to receive emails about upcoming bargains.  They also have a Facebook page where people can get more information. They are open seven days a week, Monday – Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm, and Sunday 9 am to 7 pm.  Make this amazing store first on your shopping list and become part of the Grocery Outlet family…you’ll be glad you did!

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