Sharing my shopping — and saving — strategies

Richard Drace, Board President

Richard Drace, Board President

It’s been so exciting to watch our new parking lot expansion and solar awning take shape right before our eyes. There’s also been a lot of activity behind the scenes that I’d like to bring to your attention.

For one thing, our management team has been very busy performing a thorough analysis of the issue of our store’s pricing. They’re looking at how our prices compare to other stores and how we can reduce our prices through special sales, wholesale contracts, and our new Field Day store brand.

All this has caused me to reflect on my own shopping habits at the Patch, and how they’ve changed over the years. When our kids were young and our food budget was tight, we just presumed we couldn’t afford to shop at the Patch, except on special occasions (our Thanksgiving turkey simply had to come from BriarPatch). As we became more conscious of the value of healthier food, though, and curious about that brand new store on Sierra College Drive, there was a gradual shift in our shopping habits. We still thought of the Patch as an indulgence, but a very worthwhile one.

Now I do almost all my shopping here. I am still price conscious, but I have also become more value conscious — that is, what am I getting for what I am spending? I’ve learned that if I shop consciously, I can find both fair prices and high quality. On some items, the taste is just so good I won’t even look to see what it costs: Once you’ve had a JSM organic avocado, a Johansen Ranch cantaloupe, or Riverhill Farm lettuce, there’s just no going back. And when these favorites are on special, you might hear me shout out “Score!” It’s also true that some of our prices may be too high — and these are now getting scrutiny from our managers, so we can expect to see the prices come down on quite a few items.

So how do I shop now? First, I go to the end of the produce island and look for Flash Sales — items we can sell at a low mark-up because they sell at such a high volume. I also keep an eye out for Owner Specials and plan my meals right there in the store, depending on what’s on sale. I also look for our very affordable Basics. And I have some Field Day favorites. I watch for sales in the bulk department and buy large quantities, particularly for making my WBG (World’s Best Granola). And only recently I’ve discovered how economical it is to buy case quantities through special orders: a case of Rocky chickens is almost a steal.

Yes, I could spend fewer bucks. But my bang for the buck is a big bang. I’ll be watching for more good values as our pricing analysis continues. How do you shop?

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