A conversation about Bargain Grocery with Mike Servello Sr., Compassion Coalition founder and CEO and Rachel Daughtry, Director of Agency Relations.
Why is the food so cheap?
Mike: We saw a huge need in our communities for food equality and food accessibility. We want everyone to be able to afford to eat healthy. We buy our food direct from producers, growers and major distributors from across the United States. We always buy in large quantities so we get much better pricing than if we were to buy just a few boxes here and there.
Where is the food from?
Mike: Bargain Grocery’s executive team has worked very hard to forge relationships with growers, producers and major distributors across the country. We work daily with national buyers to order product for the store. It’s been a dream come true to work with some of the best growers and producers in the United States. We are always looking for new vendors as well!
How do you get the food?
Mike: We have our own fleet of trucks and relationships with other major shippers to bring food in from all over the Northeast right into Central New York for our shoppers.
Rachel: We all work VERY hard cultivating these relationships all across the United States to get this product here. Many times we don’t know what we will get, and that’s always the fun part about what we do! It’s like Christmas. One day we could get a phone call that a grower has an overabundance of avocados, so it’s fun to teach our communities how to use avocados different ways. Guacamole for a week straight in our offices sometimes! HA HA!
How can you compete with chain grocers?
Mike: To put it simply: we buy overstocks and we often get special pricing from vendors that support what we’re doing for the community.
Rachel: We’ve never wanted to compete with anyone. The entire purpose of starting our store was multifold: create food accessibility and food equality in a food desert, and to create a sustainable funding source for our non-profit to impact our communities. The money that is made in our grocery store is used to impact our communities through a variety of ways, while keeping us completely self-sustaining and debt-free for the last 20 years. So, we’ve been very cognizant to never compare ourselves to anyone else, or compete with anyone else because we’ve never wanted to do that. It’s not our mission. We always tell our shoppers that you’re shopping with a purpose, and for a purpose!