I live across the street from one. It's effectively my pantry, so I go there quite a bit, but the same way they have opportunistic products I'm shopping opportunistically half the time. If it wasn't so close (and Safeway wasn't so shitty) I'd probably go much less frequently, but I can't complain much.
Their produce has gotten a little better, their meat too. Some staples are variable (eggs only in Jumbo size, shit for olive oil, mayonnaise 1 week before it expires), but if you go there with an open mind and relatively frequently.
I knew margins in the grocery business were low, but never expected it to be this close.
Since then there's been an enormous amount of consolidation in the grocery industry... but I wouldn't be surprised to learn the margin hasn't changed.
I think 90% of my meals were from GO (with the remaining 10% split between E&J BBQ and Brennan's) when I lived in Berkeley.
I bought about 15 boxes and just shared them among my team/roommates.
More likely some key management died allowing the line of succession to punt it onto the markets for a new piggy bank
On the other hand, the prices were unbeatable, and it turns out strawberry shortcake dairy free frozen dessert is pretty solid.
I’m always amazed how much it is seen as a given compared how of a PITA it is to grow vanilla, at least relatively to strawberries or bananas for instance.
Depends on the temp I guess....
Hence the possible pressure to realize a RoI.
“I don’t know when they’ll have this again, I better buy 6 of them” is something I’ve said to myself many times.
Also I have gotten seriously good Napa/Sonoma wine here for good prices (orig $120 GO 25.99).
This seems like most compelling argument in favor of the business model. Though, this IPO seems like a sucker bet.
I've not seen this broad of a demographic reach with other budget stores. GO seems to be purely about "buying cheap, sell at a margin", no matter what it is.
What do they mean by "opportunistic products"? Google fails to come up with any proper explanation.
Turns out it was renamed in the UK to avoid confusion with TJ Hughes.
What I'd like to see them do is use this scaling up to put dedicated resources towards extensive scouting of regional vendors, leading to further differentiation of Grocery outlets by location. Or maybe even just give them greater variety of sales items in general.
Basically buy overstock or items near expiration date for bargain basement prices and pass the savings to consumer.
Think toblerones for a dollar, a pint of Haagen Daaz for two bucks, and occasionally some more eclectic health food products that bomb out of whole foods. They used to have these coconut milk chia seed puddings 2-4 for a dollar depending on how well they were doing.
Hits the skinner box model of shopping by having variable inventory at cut rate prices with a selection of stable items like bread and milk, meat, vegetables, household cleaners, etc.
I can almost understand the value for the chia pudding thing that still lack a variety of off-brands. But haagen daaz, toblerone, et al are just the same regular product today (sometimes even lower quality than the local small brand of icecream/chocolate for example) with a markup because of the brand, somewhat justified because the brand evokes attention to quality (e.g. no expired product on display) and probably pays for better placement (e.g. top shelf or a dedicated store). Now you have the so-so product from the name-brand, with the markup removed because you removed the quality and placement! Is marketing for those brands alone that good?
It's not just removing the markup - they're usually priced at a discount relative to competitors. Also, in my area (SF), local products tend to be priced at a premium relative to standard rates for national brands. So for the ice cream example, the local pint normally would range anywhere from 5-10 dollars, whereas buying a pint of Haagen Dazs would run you about 4 bucks. Now, when I go to grocery outlet to pick up a two dollar pint of ice cream, I'm not buying the pint because it's brand name product for cheap relative to its normal cost - it's cheap relative to the cost of any ice cream. There's no comparable product at two dollars a pint.