Last November, after our first couple of times facing the grocery store gluten-free, we decided that we needed some help. Since we were (and are) pretty budget-conscious, we wanted to get a feel for where we should shop and what we should buy before completely emptying our wallets for overpriced, flavorless food.
So we talked with a family that had experience with shopping and eating gluten free. We expected to walk away from our conversation with a general idea of whether we should stick to our standard grocery stores or branch out to health food stores, and perhaps a few clues about brands that we might like. We did get a few tips about brands and recipes, but even better, we walked away with a name: BB’s Grocery Outlet. A quick web search yielded addresses for four locations. Google maps quickly helped us determine which outlet was closest to us (not that any of them were going to be a short drive). We picked a date and hit the road.
Let’s talk about this store. Plenty of parking (for cars and buggies—the store is mostly run by Amish workers). Good lighting, including skylights. Zero music—which was a surprisingly nice change. Oh, and lots of fantastic deals. We showed up to explore our first time and left with the groceries pictured below. Any price guesses? (Before you scroll too far!)
This is back when we were still buying some gluten groceries for Taft and our son. At this time, we were also all eating dairy (right now, Heidi is taking a break from dairy). Have you guessed our total yet?
$93.43. That’s right, a full cart for under $100. That includes all those gluten-free baking mixes. 🙂 I’m not even sure we got all of our purchases into the picture—this is clear back in December, after all. Can we just talk about our groceries for a second here?
Gluten-Free Chex Oatmeal (6 individual packets): $0.50.
Fage Yogurt (approx. 1 quart): $0.50.
Gluten-Free Tortillas (yes those giant 12-pack tortillas in the bottom right corner): $1.
Within a few weeks, we were ready to make our second trip to BB’s. When we climbed into bed the night before, it felt like Christmas Eve, only instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, we dreamed of little orange stickers and crazy good deals.
Reality check: BB’s will not have all of the same amazing deals you found on your last trip.
Better than reality check: BB’s will have new fantastic deals. Every. Single. Time. We’ve gone about once a month since last December, and we haven’t been disappointed once at either of the two locations we’ve tried. Yes, we are so fanatical about clearance grocery shopping that we added an extra half hour onto our trip just to make sure it wasn’t just our closest location that was awesome. So now, you know too. You’re welcome.
Those little orange stickers tell you the discount price. That’s right: McCormick spices for pennies.
The next picture is the entrance to the fridge/freezer section. It’s a walk-in fridge unit—cool, right?
Blackberries for $0.99. Turkey Hill gelato for $1.99. (Always check your freezer before setting out to see how much goodness you can cram in there…)
Total for those two carts (our June trip): $196.23. Best adventure ever.
We can’t wait to go again. What’s not to love? Great prices. Great atmosphere. Excellent customer service! Last time, our toddler, who was so patient as we spent a couple of hours combing through the store, ripped open a cup of yogurt at the very end. Taft took him ahead to check out (yogurt: $0.25). The cashier actually directed Taft to a place where he could find a spoon, so our little shopper could have his much-needed snack. Love.
Bonus: Our drive to BB’s is beautiful—rolling hills, red barns, horses and cows turned out to graze, clean laundry flapping on clotheslines, tractors, farm stands, acres of corn fields, small towns with beautiful old homes. Our favorite.
We hope you’re ready for a treasure hunt.