Best of 2020: Corvallis grocery stores

Fred Meyer has served the community since the 1960s.

Tanveer Sandhu, News Contributor

First Place: WinCo Foods

Echoing the results from last year, WinCo was once again voted the top grocery store in Corvallis. It’s located amongst the blue-roofed buildings of the Timberhill Shopping Center, a ten-minute drive from the Oregon State University campus.

WinCo offers a variety of products, including a bakery, deli and a bulk foods department. Open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the store is especially convenient for any late-night shopping needs.

Sam Vandagriff, the Corvallis WinCo store manager, said the store has been serving the Corvallis community for over 30 years, after first being established in 1986. OSU students make up a large portion of shoppers⁠, and when classes are in session on campus⁠, Vandagriff said WinCo might see hundreds of student customers every day.

When asked why he thought the store was a student favorite, Vandagriff pinpointed one particular aspect individual to WinCo, something that other stores in the area cannot match: low prices.

“There are sure to be many reasons that make WinCo a popular destination (i.e. selection, unique products, people, location), but the price is sure to be the top reason for many of our student shoppers,” Vandagriff said via email. “Shop smart and save money with the area’s low-price leader.”

In addition to its low prices, WinCo has another perk⁠—it’s also an employment source for many OSU students.

“Students are a great hiring resource for WinCo and can be found working hard in every area of the store,” Vandagriff said.

Vandagriff also highlighted Winco’s bulk foods department. Buying food in bulk can save a lot of money, something many student shoppers look forward to doing. However, the option to buy food in bulk is not something most grocery stores offer. This puts WinCo as one of the few places students can go to buy bulk foods in the area.

“One area unique to WinCo is our Bulk Foods Department, where our selection and savings go far beyond other grocery stores,” Vandagriff said.

Alongside its low prices and bulk food offerings, Vandagriff said he believes WinCo also finds success through friendly and happy customer service experiences.

“We strive to offer our customers the lowest prices, well-stocked selection and friendly service,” Vandagriff said. “Being employee-owned means every WinCo employee has a personal stake in our success, and every customer happily serviced is what makes us successful.”

Second Place: Fred Meyer

In Corvallis, the local Fred Meyer has served the community since the 1960s and is located on Kings Boulevard—a quick 5-minute drive from the Oregon State University campus, and is the closest of all three of the top grocery stores in Corvallis.

Rod Huber, the Corvallis Fred Meyer store manager, said Fred Meyer takes pride in being called a local favorite shopping destination.

“At Fred Meyer, we recognize that we are part of this community along with Oregon State. Our store teams are focused on making sure that OSU students and faculty both have a great experience at our store,” Huber said via email.

According to Huber, OSU students, parents, faculty and community members are commonplace at Fred Meyer.

“We don’t know the exact percentage that are students, but it’s a lot and we love it,” Huber said. “The students make up part of the culture and experience in our store.”

Third Place: Trader Joe’s

Known for its low prices and quirky store culture, Trader Joe’s was once again voted by students as one of the top three grocery stores in Corvallis.

At Trader Joe’s, store employees wear Hawaiian shirts. Plastic lobsters decorate the inside of the building, and bells are used instead of intercoms for in-store communications.

The unique supermarket chain opened its first store more than 50 years ago, in Pasadena, Calif. Today, the chain expands across 41 states and the District of Columbia, with 488 total stores.

Students can find kosher, vegan or gluten-free foods, as it clearly labels all three categories on its products.

Trader Joe’s is located on Northwest Ninth Street, a five minute drive from the Oregon State University campus.

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