Friday, October 21, 2016

Are You on a Tight Budget?

There is nothing worse than facing the end of the “pay period” (whether that be the end of the month, the end of the week, or the middle of the month), and running out of funds before you have what you need. Maybe you are on a fixed income (retirement or disability) or maybe you receive funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program but it doesn’t cover your needs.  Food banks, community suppers, etc., only go so far and are not always convenient to attend. Perhaps you have a large family to feed and you are the only “breadwinner.”

Although Homer Village Market does not offer store credit or barter, we do accept SNAP (food stamps) and credit cards.  Perhaps more importantly, we often have surplus food at very reduced prices or for free for our customers in need.  Our frequent customers are often the beneficiaries of this surplus food, regardless of their true need.   We enjoy rewarding our “regular customers” with free items that they usually buy.  Plus, they are doing us a favor to help move inventory before it is too late.   If it is not selling fast enough, we would rather give it away than throw it away or feed it to farm animals!  If you are not a “regular customer” because you just cannot afford to shop often, maybe we can help.

Many customers come into the store daily, and some come once or twice a week.  These we consider our “regular customers.”  Some only visit once a month or so to pick up some fancy food, beverage, or favorite snack.  Regardless, this is not a huge population that we serve in our rural community! That’s why we really appreciate our frequent shoppers!

What do we mean by “surplus food?”  This is any food item that is not selling as fast as usual and so it is at risk of getting stale or just taking up too much room in our small space.  Often we have surplus milk, eggs, bread, cheese, lunch meat, deli salads, and other “perishable” items.

As you may know, Homer Village Market is a very small store with a lot of variety of products on the shelves and in the coolers.  When you see one or two of something on the shelf, please know that there are at least twelve more in the stockroom!  We love to have a lot of variety for customers to choose from, so that results in a lot of inventory taking up space. We like to see the inventory move and the products change often to delight our customers!

Do not deprive yourself of those “nice to have” but unnecessary snacks and staple foods. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, as many of us are, and doing most of your shopping in long lines at the big box retailers, imagine the convenience of shopping locally to grab the essentials.  You save time and gas, which is money, in the long run.

We would love for you to become a “regular customer”, shopping frequently enough to be aware of the food “specials” and giveaways, and at the same time helping to support your local store.  As they say, “use it or lose it.”  Next time you shop with us, let us know that you would like to be on the contact list to receive surplus foods and beverages.  We will keep a list of your favorites and essential needs and preferences and call when we have something you might like to have.  We really hate to throw away any food or useful products, but sometimes keeping it on hand is just too much to manage considering the small space and our desire to have enough space to keep fresh and popular items on the shelves and in the coolers and freezers. 

Usually the perishables that we have surplus most months are:      
  •  Milk, eggs, cheese, orange juice, iced tea, deli dips, fresh salsa, and salads
  •  Bread, buns, crackers, cookies, muffins, chips
  •  Produce
  •  sandwiches, sliced cheeses and sliced lunch meat, hot dogs
  •  Other dairy products (sour cream, chip dip, whipped cream, cottage cheese)           

Also, every few months we have surplus in these categories: 
  • Snacks
  • Baking supplies
  • Salad dressing and other condiments
  • Pasta and rice
  • Pet food
  • Ice cream, cookies, and candy
  • Frozen entrees, frozen meat and cheese, frozen bread

Infrequently, we also have “closeouts” on various brands of soft drinks and also beer and wine overstocks. Occasionally, we even have some “special order” tobacco brand that needs to go.

The more often you visit the store, the more likely you will be the recipient of such “closeouts” and “price reduced for clearance”.  But please don’t go hungry, even if you are not a frequent shopper.  Please stop by and let us know you would like to be considered for food clearances and giveaways.  Leave your phone number, and we will call you with offers.  We will be doing each other a favor!