Late this afternoon my family completed a pretty quick Costco run (compared to a Saturday afternoon trip, that is) and we were headed home. Until, that is, I noticed that the Bottom Dollar Food Store in front of the Montgomery Mall had opened. Thankfully my wife was also curious, the kids were cooperative, and we still needed a loaf of bread!
The property, known as North Wales Crossing (and owned by Goodman Properties... no relation), consists of a Walgreen's, Bottom Dollar (in an old Office Depot space) and a vacant Linens 'N Things. Bottom Dollar opened Friday and is the fourth of approximately 20 stores coming to the Philadelphia market.
Bottom Dollar bills itself as a quality supermarket with the best prices around (guaranteed!). The website says to expect a neat, clean, uncluttered store that has friendly associates and low overhead.
For the most part, we found this to be true and assume that low overhead means no deli, bakery, shopping bags or fancy displays. We also found a bright orange and lime green theme.
The ratio of national to store brands was about 75% - 25%. Most of the store brands were Hannaford, although Smart Option and Home 360 were well represented. (All three are Food Lion brands.) The marketing message was clear - price is the differentiator. One employee had a t-shirt that said "Price Guard on Duty" in big letters, while a few others had shirts that said "I work here and even I can't get a better deal."
My wife and I agreed that the prices were relatively low, but not so low that we would go out of our way to visit. Admittedly we have many other options closer to home.
One final note. The nine mile drive home from Bottom Dollar revealed the current state of retail. We drove by the following:
An old Circuit City, now a carpet store
An empty Boscov's department store
An empty Genuardi's
A crowded Starbucks next to a Walgreen's
An empty SuperFresh in a shopping center with lots of vacant inline space plus a vacant Univest Bank
A new shopping center with a Lowe's, Super Wawa and Univest Bank next to space that will become a ShopRite
An empty Genuardi's with an empty Sears Hardware and soon-to-be-vacant Blockbuster, along with a brand new First Priority Bank