For Brent Stooksbury, grocery shopping was often a frustrating endeavor, resulting in little bang for a lot of bucks.
“You get home and you put your groceries on the counter and you don’t have anything,” he said.
Unsatisfied, Stooksbury and his wife, Angie, started shopping at a “bent and dent” store in Amish country. They not only saved a lot of money, they also stumbled upon a business idea, and Bargain Barn Food and More was born.
The grocery store, which officially opened June 29, specializes in selling reclaimed and overstocked goods at deeply discounted prices.
But food is not all the store sells. The Bargain Barn Food and More also offers beauty products, toys and pretty much “anything you can imagine that’s canned or boxed,” according to Stooksbury.
“There’s something for everyone, even though we are so small,” he said.
The products are purchased on the Internet and shipped to the store about once every two weeks.
“You don’t have a clue of what’s on these trucks,” Stooksbury said. “It’s kind of exciting because you just never know.”
While some of the goods may have damaged packaging, many of the store’s articles are simply overrides or inventory control overages that are not damaged at all.
Every article is inspected before being stocked and if it is not good enough to sit in the Stooksbury’s food pantry at home, they do not sell it in the store.
“There isn’t one of us here that doesn’t shop what we’ve got,” Stooksbury said. “Dented cans aren’t beyond us.”
So far, business has been “nice and steady,” according to Stooksbury.
Residents of the Village of Ashley have been very grateful to have a grocery store for the first time since Whipple’s closed about four years ago.
Manager Sue Hess said that she has heard from numerous patrons excited about having a grocery store in town because they lack transportation or would rather not use gas to drive elsewhere.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in here and praise us because they can’t go to Delaware,” Hess said.
Hess said that she has also dealt with one customer that was so overcome with gratitude at being able to buy food at a discounted price that she cried while shopping.
“Even if you have money, you’re crazy not to come in here,” she said.
Right now, Hess is the store’s only employee, but in the future Stooksbury would like to expand the business and add up to three employees.
“We’re hoping that we can stay here in Ashley and do this for a long time,” he said. “We’re in it for the long haul.”
Bargain Barn Food and More is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The store is located at the intersection of Ohio 229 and U.S. 42.