By Harley Ryan
Too many students are unaware of the grocery gem, Sharp Shopper, which is conveniently located within minutes of campus. Winchester resident and Shenandoah junior Mary Katherine Francisco described Sharp Shopper as “A great place for broke college students!” The discount grocery store has been open for nearly four years at its Winchester location off of Berryville Avenue.
Couple Dennis and Bonnie Sharp established the outlet chain in 1988 with four stores in Pennsylvania and three in Virginia. Sharp Shopper receives its products from closeout sales that occur in the grocery industry. Closeout sales happen when companies have over-production, packaging changes, seasonal items, warehouse damage, or short date code. Companies sell these items at a lower price to quickly get rid of their unwanted inventory. Sharp Shopper then in return is able to sell the items for a lower price than regular retailers. Inventory changes weekly due to the unpredictability of products coming from closeout sales. Sharp Shopper sections produce the same as other grocery stores but does not sell alcohol, cigarettes, or lottery tickets.
A common concern for first time shoppers is that some products have passed their expiration dates. It’s okay and completely legal! The US Department of Agriculture states that “best if used by” dates are not for safety, but are manufacture recommendations for maximum freshness and nutrient value. Product dating is not required by federal regulations with the exception of infant formula and selected baby food.
If you are interested in exploring Sharp Shopper, they are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.