The recovery store gives the grocery store a second chance
CLEVELAND – A new salvage store in Northeast Ohio proves one store’s trash can be another’s best sellers.
Sue Z’s Salvage opened this summer in Madison and remains busy stocking shelves.
The store sells items that may have cosmetic damage, or be near or past their expiration date. By selling these items, Sue Z’s is able to charge much less than traditional grocery stores and helps reduce food waste.
The store attracts shoppers like Karen Wiley, who tries to cut costs where she can to save money.
“It’s more difficult for people,” she said. “Especially with the ongoing COVID. It’s hard for people to eat.
She said the large discounts on food and household items kept her coming back to the store every week.
“Curiosity killed the cat,” she said. “I really like going through this. I just scoured, picked up what I needed.
She visits the store so often because the stock changes with each shipment.
“We get (shipments) every week to fill the store,” said Susan Campbell.
Campbell co-owns the store with Timothy Bryan.
The products inside each shipment are a surprise to both.
“It’s fun, actually,” said Campbell, who enjoys going through every box and evaluating everything.
Prices are based on the full retail price of the product in other stores.
“And then lower it from 40 to 60, sometimes 70%,” she said.
This is because the items are not exactly perfect, but that doesn’t mean there is no quality control.
“There’s stuff that we throw away,” Bryan said. “Make sure everything is safe. “
He said one thing they pay special attention to is the seal on a product.
“If the seal is not broken then it is pretty good,” he said. “It’s just dented.”
Bryan said their low prices help feed families at a fraction of the cost.
“It’s not a salvage store like some people think, who come looking for old parts, (that) kind of thing,” he said. “It’s groceries and it’s good groceries. Name brand grocery store.
The store is also participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to provide additional support.
“I haven’t had a single person who came here and said to me, ‘Ah, man, that’s too high,’” he said, referring to their prices.
The quality of items in a salvage store can be a gamble, but Wiley said the savings are worth taking a chance.
“You have to watch, sure, but so far I haven’t had anything bad,” she said. “Especially for an elderly person. You can buy things a little cheaper, eat them right away, and you’re in good shape.
Damaged packaging and expiration dates are not necessarily a sign that the product has gone wrong or is dangerous if handled safely. They recommend shoppers at salvage stores to check products for unopened or resealed, which could be a sign that bacteria may be growing inside the product, according to the. FDA.