When people are watching their budget, they start looking for discount, especially at the grocery store. These days, San Diego County is seeing a popular choice for penny-pinching shoppers – the invasion of the Grocery Outlet stores. NBC 7’s Consumer Bob reports.
Rebecca Christensen has four children and knows the value of a good discount.
"If I can find a bargain, I'm all about finding a bargain," said Christensen. She says she likes to shop at discount chains and was excited to find a Grocery Outlet opening up in her Escondido neighborhood.
"I probably saved $150 from the regular grocery store," said Christensen.
She says she grew up near the discount chain store in the Bay Area but just saw the new store opening up in San Diego County.
"Everybody is on a tight budget," said Frank Williams, the franchise owner for the Escondido Grocery Outlet.
He says the store carries package overruns, discontinued items along with items with packaging changes and label mistakes.
"We buy opportunistically," said Williams. But he said that can be a challenge for shoppers because discounted items may be limited and not back on the shelf after the current supply runs out.
Grocery Outlet had only two stores in San Diego County until recently. Now, there are eight stores including locations in Poway, Point Loma and Spring Valley.
The Escondido store opened in August, while a new store in San Marcos opens in September.
Store owner Marcey Williams says frugal shoppers are attracted by the deep discounts.
"The shopper, I believe, has changed dramatically over the last couple years," said Williams.
She says higher costs in gas and electricity have people looking to save money in other areas, including groceries. Besides Grocery Outlet, San Diego County has seen a growth in Dollar Tree and 99¢ Only stores and also the Wal-Mart grocery chains.
Kathy Mochel went to the Escondido store for the first time, "I tend to stay away from the big grocery stores anymore." Is the grocery shopper cheap? "No, I'm frugal," said Mochel.