I've been wanting to sit down and write this post from the moment I heard it on the news last Thursday morning. All 66 Bottom Dollar Food stores are being sold to Aldi, and will be closing after the first of the year. My heart sank.
I knew it was coming. Hubby's uncle works in the grocery industry and Bottom Dollar is one of his customers. For quite some time there has been chatter about the chain going up for sale. There had been speculation about Save-A-Lot and a few others showing interest in most stores, but in the end it was Aldi that was willing to purchase all 66. This was the worst-case scenario, since Aldi did it in an effort to block out the competition and it's not likely they will re-open many (if any) as Aldi stores.
I was sad. I was certainly disappointed. Bottom Dollar is my most sure-fire way to keep a lower grocery budget, and I know once they close we'll be paying more to eat each week. But could I really be devastated over the closure of my favorite grocery store?
Why I Love Bottom Dollar Food
Brand Names.Sorry, Aldi, but I love that Bottom Dollar carries brands I recognize at reasonable prices. While I have nothing against generics, some things just taste better when they're the real thing. Cheerios, for instance.
Small, Clean, and Easy To Navigate.When I do our big shop every other week, we start at Wegman's (for some whole grain, organic, and specialty items) and then take the short trip to Bottom Dollar for our staples. Kiddo has to sit in the cart for Wegman's, but he can walk at Bottom Dollar since the store is smaller and a little less crowded. I wouldn't let him walk if the floors were dusty and dirty.
Coupons and Credit CardsBottom Dollar accepts both. Coupons mean more savings and Credit Cards mean that we can earn points on our purchases. Two more things you don't get at Aldi.
Great Deals and Consistent Prices on StaplesCheese, snack foods, potatoes, onions, apples, whole wheat tortillas.... all consistently the lowest prices I can find unless another store is running a sale.
The Price-Beating PolicyOn top of their already-low prices and coupons, Bottom Dollar will beat any competitor's advertised price by a penny. Each week I come armed with local store circulars, prices circled. And if I forget mine for some reason, there they are pinned to a bulletin board right at the front of the store.
I can get the best deals of the week all in one place. And while Walmart also honors competitors' prices, Bottom Dollar cashiers don't give me a hard time or make me feel like a criminal for price-matching.
The PeopleKiddo and I have formed relationships with so many of the Bottom Dollar staff members. With one or two exceptions, they have been friendly, polite, and cheerful. Bottom Dollar has some of the best customer service I've ever experienced. They employ great people!
Like Bianca, who paid for my groceries out of her own pocket the time I forgot my purse. She let me take them home, trusting me to pay her back and not letting me give her a cent extra for her trouble when I returned later that day.
Brian and Jim, who always had smiles and high-fives for Kiddo whenever we walked into the store.
Miriam, who made a big deal when Kiddo told her about his big boy undies, gave him stickers at check-out, and even held him on her hip one time (with permission, of course) and let him "help" her check out our groceries.
And Annie... Of all our regular cashiers, we've known her the longest. She's the one who would sing along to the disco tunes back before they changed the in-store music. She has seen Kiddo grow from an infant in a carrier to a big three-year-old boy, always saying "God bless him" and listening intently to his stories. And Annie is the one who gets excited about my price matches and savings, complete with a "you go girl!" when I have a particularly good week.
Even leaving finances and deals completely out of it, I will miss Bottom Dollar for the people. To think that 2,200 associates including these wonderful people will be out of jobs come January... that is truly devastating.
So, what do you to save on groceries? I obviously will need some new ideas!