We sat down with Kai to chat about how our buyers find the best products and offer them for less than traditional retailers. Here’s what she had to say:
I don’t understand why I can’t find the same things every time I shop – why is that?
Kai: As a buyer, we look for amazing opportunities to bring products to your store. Sometimes this means that we purchase close-outs, over-production lots or promotional packaging that can’t be currently sold in other stores.
We are able to get products that might otherwise end up unused or disposed of because it couldn’t be used in a traditional retailer. The product is still fresh and usable – and you can buy it for a fraction of what you would pay for the same thing, in a different package elsewhere. Once these special purchases sell out, they are gone. That’s why we say to come in often and stock up when you see a WOW deal.
For example: a manufacturer was asked to create a special promotional 2-pack of deodorant for a national retailer. They forecasted more than the retailer actually purchased and they offered the excess to us – and it ends up on the shelves for you.
Why is it that I can find products at GO for so much less?
Kai: We’ve been around since 1946 and in that time we’ve developed some long-lasting relationships with vendors that trust us to be a great resource for them. Often times, a new vendor comes to us with an offer because they’ve heard about the way we operate. And there are other times where we seek out vendors – we meet them at tradeshows or find out that a product was sold to a new company.
Our philosophy is to get back to our vendors immediately when they make us an offer. We take the products from them immediately so they don’t have to store it longer than necessary. We also purchase the products for a fair value – which our vendors place a high value on, enhancing our relationship with them. Many of our vendors also like knowing that they are helping a community – from the small business aspect of the independent operator to how that operator helps the community they are servicing. We really do live the “it’s just like family” philosophy and that extends to our vendors.
I was in one Grocery Outlet and it didn’t have what my regular store had… was it sold out?
Kai: It might have sold out or it may have been a special selection for the store. Sometimes one store will have something different than another, but there are many products that all of our stores will have in-stock. Variations come from the differences from store to store – this is the beauty of the independently owned and operated. We will make items available to purchase and the operator will bring it into the store if it is something that they think their customers will snap up. So one store may carry lots of NOSH items because their community loves the natural & organic selections, where another store may have a smaller selection but has an amazing selection of wines.
We heard that you are now buying for the Health and Beauty section – what can we expect to see?
Kai: We’re looking for WOW deals from conventional brands and natural product companies. Selections we’re looking to expand are the cosmetics we offer our customers – bringing in more high quality make-up choices for you. We’re also looking to expand our hair care selections – offering more variety of the brands you know and some hidden gems too.
What’s the favorite GO product you have in your home right now?
Kai: I love the organic maple syrup… who doesn’t love syrup?