By: Elliott Smith
Boise-based deep-discount grocery chain WinCo Foods recently opened its newest store in Bellingham. The retailer is known for its no-frills approach to groceries, and its large bulk foods selection. WinCo has been called ‘Walmart’s Worst nightmare.’ According to Time Magazine, the Idaho chain “boasts a business model that allows it to undercut Walmart on prices.” WinCo negotiates directly with farmers & suppliers to offer rock-bottom prices, and keeps costs low by not accepting credit cards.
The company is employee-owned, and provides health benefits to all staff members who work more than 24 hours per week As such, WinCo has developed a reputation of being an enjoyable place for shoppers, because staff are treated well. The approach is similar to the famous management philosophy at Southwest Airlines, which has long held that a good customer experience begins with contented staff. “Happy Employees = Happy Customers” is a mentality shared by Southwest and WinCo.
According to the Bellingham Herald, the new store in Bellingham at 300 E. Bellis Fair Parkway “appears to be leaving a good first impression on customers.” The store is in the former Joe’s Sporting Goods store location, across Guide Meridian (Washington State Hwy 539) from Bellis Fair Mall. British Columbia shoppers can access the store by crossing the border at Aldergrove/Lynden and proceeding due south on Guide Meridian for 24 Km, or via Peace Arch or Pacific Highway to Interstate 5 and taking exit 256.
The store accepts Canadian debit cards, as long as the cardholder’s bank is a member of one of the networks used by WinCo’s processor. Those networks are: Accel, Alaska Option, Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN), Credit Union 24 (CU24), Interlink, Jeanie, Maestro, NetWorks, NYCE, PIN Authenticated Visa Debit (PAVD), Pulse, Shazam, and Star. The store also accepts US & Canadian cash.
For more information about WinCo in Bellingham, including a video store tour, see Bellingham Herald Business writer Dave Gallagher’s article here: WinCo opens 90,000-square-foot Bellingham store / with video.
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