Marvin Walder/The Broadside
A variety of interesting businesses have opened their doors in Bend, OR since the start of the pandemic. From unique plant shops like Somewhere That’s Green featured in an article by India Slodki, to dentist offices like Alpenglow Dental, there has been no end to local businesses that have found ways to serve the community despite the challenges. Another such business to open its doors recently is the WinCo Foods located on 60 NE Bend River Mall Dr, in place of where Shopko used to be. While there are already a few other places to go grocery shopping, here’s what WinCo states makes them unique.
The first, and most major difference, is that WinCo is employee-owned. That means that the employees who are running the store, share ownership in the store. Many people praise this kind of business strategy, as it keeps the ownership and focus of the store local. This can result in the store being more loyal to its employees and have a stronger focus on properly serving the community its owned and operated by. Furthermore, it means that the earning and employment will likely stay local too, which can have lasting economic benefits for the local community. There’s a reason many advocate for “spending local” and supporting local businesses, and WinCo would fit into that category.
The second promise that WinCo makes is to offer nothing but the lowest prices. Some of this comes from bulk buying, which saves on costs and pesky wasteful packaging, and some comes from an interesting finance strategy.
The bulk buying nature is evident throughout the store, with an entire area dedicated to “bulk foods.” Buying these in bulk can save on tons of packaging and manufacturing costs for the producers of these foods, and WinCo claims that those savings are then passed on to the customers. This also has the added benefit of wasting less packaging materials for foods that are going to the same customer. Bulk buying is a smart strategy that can have great benefits, and other stores such as Costco also offer such options because of it. This makes these stores have very similar appearances, and those that are familiar with one would likely be comfortable shopping at the other.
When it comes to checking out after finding everything on the shopping list, WinCo only accepts Cash or Debit. “Why no credit?” One might ask. This is where the interesting finance strategy that WinCo foods utilizes comes in. By not making sales on credit, WinCo immediately receives currency after a transaction. If instead, a customer were to pay with credit like at another store, WinCo would have an account receivable for the amount the customer spent, but would have to wait until that amount was actually collected on. By removing credit sales, WinCo removes that period of lost time where the product is gone, but the money has not been collected yet. This allows WinCo to better serve customers by avoiding lost time and having access to cash to immediately restock shelves or pay expenses. Additionally, costs associated with credit sales and collection fees are avoided. By having the small inconvenience of not accepting credit, WinCo can simplify their finances and pass their savings on to the customer in the form of lower prices due to the lowered need for markups.
Finally, WinCo also provides conveniences in the form of an on-site bakery, deli, and pizza kitchen, as well as being open 24/7. While the large warehouse look of WinCo might be less homely than places like Newport Market or Trader Joe’s, WinCo has some interesting options for those on a budget or with larger families. The added benefit of supporting locally owned businesses also provides some nice peace of mind. And if none of that is convincing enough, maybe the option for bulk coffee or candy is. For those interested in learning more about WinCo, they have information about their businesses and locations on their website.