If there’s one thing that will get me into any business, it’s the phrase “employee owned.” Especially grocery stores. There’s a chain near my west coast digs, “Winco”, that’s employee owned. I like shopping there because they cater (it seems) to a budget conscious grocery shopper, but also have a selection of hard to find items. Woodman’s Foods is Winco on a grand scale; it’s really too big a store for me to make one trip through and finish my shopping. It needs a return visit.
The prices are comparable to Wal Mart, but one distinct advantage that Woodman’s has over Wal Mart is that the latter’s low prices come at the expense of ‘larger than normal’ product size. Sure, the ground beef is cheap, but if it only comes in a 3 lb package, that doesn’t help, does it? Such is not the case with Woodman’s.
The store I have been in, located in suburban Chicago, is about the size of the original small Wal Marts; Woodman’s largest store, in the Southern Wisconsin town of Kenosha, tips the scale at over 250,000 square feet, making it the largest grocery store in the United States. Compare that to the average size of a Wal Mart Supercenter, which clock in at just under 200,000 square feet.
One thing immediately evident at Woodman’s is the depth of selection for product lines. They do not limit themselves to the top three or four brands, but go very deep. You know the kinds of food I like, and yes, there are dozens of brands of frozen pizzas, and a similar amount of hot dogs and sausages. Ahhhhh.
Oh, I like the fancy pants grocery stores as well of course, there is a whole host of them in Portland, as well as Whole Foods. Same in Chicago, including the Ohio chain Heinen’s, which is just superb.
But for every week shopping? Woodman’s got my dollar.