Local store sells groceries at less than half their normal price

Denise Wright

Daily Kent Stater

There’s a store on State Route 59 in Ravenna where you can get two bags of David’s sunflower seeds for 75 cents and a 12-ounce Gatorade for 40 cents — and it’s not Wal-Mart.

Enter the realm of B & T Discount Grocery. The store, located about three miles east of campus on state Route 59, sells off-brands as well as a large assortment of name brand products for 50 to 90 percent less than most grocery stores.

Owner Bob Sloan said the store is able to provide these bargains because he finds deals on products throughout the country by word of mouth and business contacts. Because these products are purchased on an individual basis, Sloan said the selection in the store changes almost daily.

“We have people who are in here every day for the different specials,” Sloan said. “They’ll always find things that weren’t discounted the day before.”

Streetsboro resident John Burkey said he considers himself a smart shopper and his price-checking has led him to visit B & T five times a week.

“Where else can you get protein bars for 35 cents?” Burkey exclaimed.

Ravenna resident Megan Luzader said she also frequents the store because of its low prices.

Giving in action

B & T is currently working with Streetsboro resident and customer John Burkey and Ray D’Amico, editor of Hardnation.org, to develop a voucher system for any Ohioan who proves they are out of work because of a work-related injury or has lost their job due to a lay-off, shut-down or downsizing. The voucher would provide $50 for qualified individuals — an amount that will go a long way at B & T.

While the project is still in the works, funds are currently being collected through donations. For more information about the project or to see if you are eligible, e-mail [email protected].

Source: Ray D’Amico, representative of

Western Reserve Promotions and editor of Hardnation.org

 “It is a lifesaver,” Luzader said. “I wouldn’t have any chocolate in my house otherwise.”

One way the store maintains lower prices is by offering discounts on products that are nearing their expiration date.

Employees Gloria Johnson and Liz Pahls both noted that the low prices make for a mix of both regular and new customers.

“We get a lot of new people coming in, and once people are in here, they’re shocked,” Pahls said. “Someone may come in and spend $40 on a cart full of groceries that would have cost them $400 at Giant Eagle.

Of course, with the economy in its current state, Sloan said it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep prices low for customers. They manage to do so by not having air conditioning and refrigeration units and only having three paid employees on staff. He added that because the store often provides assistance to individuals at local churches and organizations, people from these organizations often volunteer to help at the store.

“We have customers who come in who only have enough to sustain themselves for two or three days. It’s sad, but unfortunately, that’s becoming more normal,” Sloan said. “We’re able to help, so that’s what we try to do.”

This process of helping began about two years ago when the store transitioned from selling home décor products to inexpensive foods and hygienic items.

“With the economy going the direction it was, we saw that people didn’t need home décor items,” Sloan said. “They needed to find food they could afford, so we tried to fill that in.”

Kent resident Mary Ann Caspersaid she thinks the store has done just that.

“You can get things you normally wouldn’t buy because it’s so reasonable,” Casper said. “It’s a really good way to feed your family without having to spend a fortune.” 

B & T Discount Grocery

3002 State Route 59

Ravenna, Ohio

(330) 296-5000

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Contact features reporter Denise Wright at [email protected].