Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How are you able to meet and beat Albertsons’ prices when you have such a small store
and they are a huge national chain?
We accomplish that by doing a little bit of everything we can think of, quite honestly.
We have been using surveys and face-to-face conversations to try to find out what matters most to the
shoppers of Winifred, and one theme we have heard loud and clear is, “Prices matter!” We’ve taken that
We have made it our mission to offer grocery prices at or below Albertsons, although it hasn’t been
easy. Albertsons buys everything in such large quantities (their annual sales are about $41 billion
dollars … Winifred Grocery is quite a bit less than that) that their cost of everything is certainly much
lower than what we get from our distributors. As a result, they make a lot more money on each sale that
we can ever hope to make.
But we think it’s important to match their prices, so we are willing accept much lower margins than they
make in order to give our Winifred shoppers the prices they deserve. We believe that even if people live
in a small town like Winifred, that shouldn’t mean they have to drive long distances or pay outrageous
prices for groceries.
We also go to great lengths to compare prices from our various vendors to try to find the lowest possible
prices for our customers. It takes us a lot of time and effort and running around the state, but it’s all
worth it if it results in us being able to offer low prices to our customers.
In these ways, we are able to meet or beat Albertsons’ prices while saving Winifred folks a lot of shopping
dollars, time, and gas money, and we are really proud to be able to say that.
2. Can you make a case to me why I should shop at Winifred Grocery instead of driving to
Lewistown to shop at Albertsons?
First, Winifred Grocery’s prices are as low as or lower than Albertsons on nearly every item we carry.
Second, we are your hometown store and therefore save you time and gas money on each shopping
Third, each dollar made by Winifred Grocery goes right back into the Winifred economy. Contributing to
the Winifred economy and doing what we can to create and sustain jobs in Winifred is one of our highest
We are proud to be a part of the Winifred community, and we support numerous community events,
organizations, fundraisers, and school activities.
Above all, we care deeply about Winifred, Winifred’s past, and particularly Winifred’s future. We are
honored to now stand in the place where the past owners of Winifred Grocery have stood in serving the
It is our goal to see to it that Winifred has a quality grocery store through its 100th birthday in 2013, and
then on for at least another 100 years. When you shop with us, you are helping make that goal a reality.
3. How does shopping at Winifred Grocery benefit Winifred?
Every dollar made by Winifred Grocery stays in the Winifred economy. We currently employ four
amazing Winifred people, we donate to numerous community causes, and we seek out Winifred
contractors when we have projects to complete.
As a small store, we face the problem of needing to meet certain buying thresholds in order to receive
the best selection and prices from our distributors. Right now, we are trying to increase our weekly
purchases from our primary distributor in order to reach a level of purchases that would quality us as
“members” of their cooperative.
If we are able to reach that threshold, this will be a very good thing for Winifred. It will give us access to a
much wider selection of Western Family products. It will also give us access to lower wholesale prices.
This, of course, will lead to better selection and better prices for our customers.
And, of course, shopping at Winifred Grocery assures that Winifred Grocery will be a viable business that
will be around to serve the Winifred community for years to come.
4. You’ve mentioned beer sales in the last couple surveys. Can you just cut to the chase
and explain to us exactly what you are thinking about beer sales at Winifred Grocery?
This is an issue we’ve been struggling with since we first bought the store.
First, a little history on the issue: Sometime in the 60s or 70s, the owners of Winifred Grocery decided,
as a favor to the Winifred bar owners of the time, not to sell beer at the store with the idea that everyone
in town would instead just buy their bulk beer from one of the Winifred bars.
At the time, this made sense for the bars from a business perspective. A trip to Lewistown was
considered a long drive back then, as both the roads and the vehicles were a lot less comfortable.
Driving to Lewistown wasn’t something that happened very often, and people did most of their shopping
in their hometowns out of necessity. Therefore, with the store not selling beer, most people did, in fact,
go to the bars to buy their bulk beer.
However, now forty or fifty years later, much has changed. Many people in Winifred now actually
commute to Lewistown each day, and most people make it into Lewistown on a regular basis. Instead of
shopping in Winifred out of necessity, people in Winifred now have easy access to shopping in Lewistown
on a regular basis. Therefore, Winifred businesses need to compete competitively with Lewistown
businesses or risk losing that business altogether.
We have long theorized that most people now buy their bulk beer in Lewistown at places like Albertsons
instead of buying it at the Winifred bars. To the extent this is true, the “No beer at Winifred Grocery”
policy is actually hurting Winifred, because it is pushing business away from Winifred businesses and
toward Lewistown businesses. This is obviously bad not only for our community and Winifred Grocery,
but also bad for the Winifred bars, as their profits are driven largely from the money that stays in the
In the enclosed survey, we ask some questions that attempt to quantify the extent to which our theory is
correct or incorrect.
If our theory is correct, and much of the Winifred community’s bulk “beer money” is being spent outside
of Winifred, we will work with the bars to figure out a way for Winifred Grocery to sell beer that doesn’t
hurt the bars’ bottom lines. We have a few ideas for accomplishing this, but the details all still need to be
But first, please fill out our survey and share your current situation and ideas with us, and then we will
have the information necessary to figure out what the best decision will be.
5. Why did you guys buy Winifred Grocery?
There have certainly been times when we have asked ourselves this same question with an exasperated
tone. Little did we know how hard it would be to run Winifred Grocery and how challenging it would be to
accomplish all that we wanted to accomplish.
But we are now seeing most of those frustrations fall behind us, and we are starting to think that we just
might finally be figuring things out. With the support shown to us by so many of you, we couldn’t be
happier with our decision to buy Winifred Grocery.
This might sound a little sappy, but it’s also very honest—our decision to buy Winifred Grocery came
from our love of the Winifred community and our desire to contribute our efforts to making a community
icon like Winifred Grocery a place that people could be proud of long into the future.
We grew up with memories of Jack and Donna running the store, and we watched as Dave and Tammy
devoted a large part of their lives to keeping the store alive. It was time for a new chapter to be written in
the history of the store, and we really wanted to be a part of that. We now only hope that we can live up
to the high bar that has been set by the Heggems and the Udelhovens and all that came before them.
6. Does Winifred have enough business to support a grocery store?
Absolutely. Anecdotally, we know that most people currently use Winifred Grocery more as a
convenience store than a full grocery store. As a rough guess, we probably earn only about 25% of the
grocery dollars spent by the Winifred community.
This tells us that we need to do a better job of meeting the needs of the Winifred community. If we can
do that and earn more of that local grocery shopping business, Winifred Grocery will be financially stable
and will have enough volume to command the selection and the lower prices that come with larger
purchasing power, which would be a great thing for everyone.
Of course, a store our size will never be able to carry 100% of the products each of us needs to stock
our kitchens. Therefore, people will always need to supplement their shopping for certain specific
products elsewhere. But we strive to be a store that serves almost all of the day to day grocery shopping
needs of the Winifred community.
To the extent there are items that you can’t currently buy at Winifred grocery that you are forced to buy
elsewhere, please let us know about them on the enclosed survey. If we hear the same suggestions from
a few different people, we will certainly make an effort to add those products on our shelves.
7. I was at Albertsons the other day, and I saw Eileen there buying stuff to sell at Winifred
Grocery. If you guys are buying stuff at Albertsons, doesn’t that mean I should stock up there
when I’m in Lewistown as well?
Eileen does shop at Albertsons from time to time for items that we then resell at Winifred Grocery.
However, most people don’t realize why we do this.
It certainly is NOT to get a good deal. In fact, when we buy items at Albertsons and resell them in
Winifred Grocery, we are often selling them at a loss. Albertsons’ prices tend to be higher than ours on
most grocery items, so from a profit perspective, we are shooting ourselves in the foot when we buy from
Albertsons and put those items on our shelves.
So why would we ever buy from Albertsons?
We do that sort of thing to provide the most selection we can for the benefit of the Winifred shoppers.
Sometimes we can’t justify buying a full case of a product from our distributor due to the potential for
spoilage, but we still want to have that item available in small quantities for a Winifred shopper or two that
relies on us for that specific product.
Other times we have an unexpected run on a particular product, and we don’t want anyone in Winifred to
go without that product until the truck arrives the next Monday.
So when you see Eileen in Albertsons, forgive her the embarrassed look on her face (we have quite a bit
of pride and we therefore really don’t like shopping at our competitor) and realize that she is going out of
her way to make sure that Winifred shoppers have the products on the shelves of Winifred Grocery that
they want to see, even though we are making no money in the process.
8. Why don’t you have more sales?
Ask and ye shall receive! We are beginning a new program of having sales on a regular basis, starting
immediately. We will be announcing our sale items on flyers at the store prior to each sale period, as well
as blasting it out on Facebook and posting it to our website at www.winifredgrocery.com .
So keep an eye out for our sales flyers and sales tags all over the store. If you are an internet person,
come “like” us on Facebook so you will have all of the new product additions and sale items at your
fingertips at all times!
9. If you could be any product on the shelf of Winifred Grocery, what would it be and why?
Ah, the old throwaway question, eh? Well, I’ve got an answer for you. I would be Nutella, because the
stuff is so darned tasty and is just slightly exotic. Is it like peanut butter? Is it chocolate? I’m honestly not
sure, but I just know that those Italians got something right when they figured out a way to turn hazelnuts
into a spread. Yummy…..
10. We have historically done a lot of shopping at Sam’s or Costco, but we’re tired of
spending all of that time, gas money, and wear and tear on our outfits to drive over 300 miles
roundtrip to shop. Can we get bulk discounts from Winifred Grocery instead?
Yes, you can!
We have the ability to order from a quite large catalog of products, and can probably provide you with
anything you need (and a far wider selection of grocery products than either Sam’s or Costco).
When you order by the case from us, you will get 20% off the suggested retail price, down to our own
cost of the case.
If you would like a quote for some case lots, either talk to Eileen at the store or email us at
email@example.com and just let us know what product you are looking for. We can then pull
together the best options from our catalogs and let you know the prices. There’s no obligation; even if
you’re just curious, don’t hesitate to inquire.
Taking advantage of these case lot discounts, you can save a whole lot of time and money while still
shopping in your hometown!