Less than a year after opening their first salvage grocery store, Timothy Bryan and Sue Campbell expanded their brand with a second location.
The latest Sue Z Salvage Discounted Groceries spot, located at 5804 Andrews Road in Mentor-on-the-Lake, joins the Madison Township store, at 2710 Bennett Road, in the entrepreneurs’ mini-foods empire.
Like the original Sue Z, which debuted last year, goods are sold at deeply discounted prices, principally items and household products stores have chosen not to accept or keep for a variety of reasons, Bryan and Campbell confirmed.
“We looked at this store before Madison but it wasn’t available,” Campbell said, noting a second Sue Z was always part of the plan. “We didn’t think things would go so quickly, but when Mentor-on-the-Lake became available, we said, ‘Let’s do it.’ In all, it only took 10 months.”
The 6,000-square-foot structure, complete with a warehouse at the rear, formerly operated as a beverage store, in addition to serving as a deer meat processing store, Bryan added.
“And Mentor-on-the-Lake has been great,” he said. “Word of mouth and Facebook is how we advertise — this helps with keeping our prices low for our customers. And since we buy food pallets, we split them between the stores, so Mentor-on-the-Lake might not have what Madison Township has. We never know what we’re getting in the boxes.”
According to the co-owners, Sue Z’s inventory consists of products that often share one or more of the following characteristics:
• Foods have reached or exceeded “best if used by” dates — a standard phrase indicating the date an item will be at its best flavor and quality, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The agency also advises consumers to always examine foods for signs of spoilage, before eating, if these items are past the “best if used by” date.
• Product packaging is scratched, crumpled or dented, but not damaged seriously enough to make the item dangerous or unusable
• Products were overproduced by a manufacturer
• The labeling of an item contained a printing or spelling error
• Products were part of an inventory at a store that went out of business
• Products had been displayed at a conventional grocery or retail store but sold poorly
All merchandise at Sue Z can be listed 40 to 60 percent — if not more — lower than prices at retail chains and/or specialty markets, Campbell said, adding efforts also serve to reduce food waste.
Packaged coffee, low-priced soft drinks, and bottled water, in addition to, magazines, pet food, and health and beauty products also round out the inventory, Bryan noted.
For the duo, there’s no time like the present.
“Tim’s favorite saying is, ‘Here today, gone tomorrow,’ ” Campbell said. “If you see something you like, buy it before it’s gone because it might not come in on the next delivery.”
Bryan added freezer and refrigeration units, for additional items, are forthcoming, in a sustained effort to supplement stock.
“We hope to continue helping people out in the face of increased food prices,” he said. “I definitely have been saving money in the last year and I hope others are, too.”
The new location’s hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Credit and EBT cards are accepted.