When it comes to the usual shopping for your house, wouldn’t it be great to find everything you need in one place? I never thought that was possible. I go to one store for our grocery staples, another for cleaning supplies, another for quick things and another for bulk items. With Smart & Final, this is possible. I didn’t know how amazing Smart & Final was until I attended the grand opening of their brand new store in Santa Rosa, California.
Smart & Final is a warehouse store. It’s just a different kind of warehouse store but in a good way. You can be a business or a family, this is the one stop shop to stock up on the things you use most or grab smaller items that you don’t keep around long. You could have a restaurant and shop at Smart & Final for their large packages of quality products. You can be a mom like me and shop for your family, parties or stock up the pantry. So this setup might sound familiar. You might be wondering how much their membership is. There are no membership fees! Smart & Finals new store in Santa Rosa, California was amazing! When we first arrived, I knew everyone in the area must be excited because they were all there. The parking lot was very full. Smart & Final employees were scouring the lot for extra shopping carts. Outside there was a table where you could sign up to win a gift card, for emailed newsletters or a business/resale card. Of course, I signed up for their newsletter and the raffle while I was there. The gentlemen manning the booth were very friendly – just so happens they were father and son! When my family and I first approached the front door of Smart & Final, I was immediately distracted by the attractive display of Diet Coke. They must have known I was coming. The next thing I spotted was a hand sanitizing station – yes, please! I love to be as germ-free as possible. Then we went through the doors. I had to get around the checkouts because I didn’t want to be in everyone’s way. It was a hustle and bustle but it was being handled very well. Then I saw it… the produce section.While I was taking pictures, an employee approached me to make sure I was not up to no good. It happened to be a Director from their corporate office. He shared a lot about Smart & Final with me. One of the things he told me about was how much they prided themselves with their state of the art produce department. I happen to agree. They had a big variety of produce and you could buy it in small quantities or large. I loved how the produce was displayed. It appeared to be spilling out of baskets. I would have my produce like that at home if I could. Also, if you prefer organic produce, they have a variety of that as well. If you are a restaurant owner, having a party or maybe your family is just big or loves certain types of produce, Smart & Final has got you covered. Check out these huge bags of potatoes and carrots! I was shocked by the price of the carrots. Sometimes I see small two pound packages for almost that price. Have a sweet tooth? Be sure to stop by the baked goods area. They had about three or four large islands of delicious looking desserts like this. I’m pretty sure I need one of everything.After observing for a few minutes, I quickly realized the eggs were the hot deal of the day. Customers were grabbing eggs left and right. I would bet that an employee was stocking this area just about every minute of the day. We had to take a small break at the brooms and mops. Our son really loves them. Yes, I’m a lucky mom. Let’s just hope it lasts beyond his toddler years. Anyway, do you see all the cleaning tools here?! They also have tons of cleaning supplies too. You can choose to purchase a normal sized single bottle of cleaner or a large bulk size and not run out or a while. In all my life, I have never seen these big bags of masa, beans and rice. We eat a lot of beans and rice but not quite this much. If we ever had a party, this would be perfect. For a chef, Smart & Final is a perfect place to shop for their cooking needs. One thing that I noticed were the signs placed throughout the store. There were signs reminding you there are no membership fees, that they ‘cater to caterers’, that if you buy more you save more and many others. This one here was important because now I know when I see that tag, I’m saving up to 70%! Those are the kind of deals I like. Yes, those are my people in the picture. Yes, we are using a Michaels shopping cart. We found it abandoned in the store. By the way, Smart & Final has just about every kind of soda in big 24 packs. I know there are 24 packs at most stores but when is the last time you saw a 24 pack of ginger ale? I have never. Although we visited every aisle, there was one aisle we had to make a point to visit – the candy aisle. My hubby remembers coming to Smart & Final with his friends when they were younger and buying candy. More specific, he remembers buying the big buckets of licorice. The first thing I thought about when seeing all this was a pinata. This would make for some amazing pinata filler! Meat is something that is important to me. Okay, well I guess it isn’t meat itself because I’m sure I could live without it. Meat quality is something I pay very close attention to. I’m a sucker for expiration dates, carefully handling meat and always sniffing for freshness. At Smart & Final, their meats were very red in color and extremely fresh looking. You could buy enough for one dinner or several dinners. They even had a large area of Jennie-O turkey products (that’s one of my new favorite things). If you like seafood, they have a big section of that as well. I couldn’t go in without inspecting their bacon section. It passed. They have lots and lots of bacon. I don’t even know why they have small packages of bacon. Everybody wants a ton of bacon, right? Before heading out of Smart & Final, I need to use the restroom. I’m weird about public restrooms. I’m not fond of germs. If a bathroom is filthy, I might not even bother and just hope I make it elsewhere. This place was clean. I love the walls of the stalls. I wonder if my hubby would let me do our bathroom walls like that? Probably not. Then I go to wash my hands, expecting that harsh soap that is in almost all dispensers – you know, the ones that leave the skin on your hand visibly dry. Not this time. There was Midnight Vanilla Softsoap! Who even has that ever? Smart & Final does. *Side Note: When walking out of the bathroom, I spotted the drinking fountains. They made me feel like I was in a Justin Timberlake video. No joke.
Their frozen food section was great! Rather than having a handful of the same product to choose from, there were a few handfuls. My hubby loves frozen burritos (he’s a simple kind of a man) so this was great for him. As our journey through Smart & Final came to an end, we passed the Spirits and then Cold Beer. If you like to have some cold ones handy during the summer, they have it all. When we finally made it up to the checkout, it was very busy. The line started at the registers, wrapped a first corner to frozen foods, around another corner, down the meat department, around yet another corner and ended along the dairy wall. There were associates directing traffic at the registers making it a very stress-free, calm environment. I was impressed.
While walking through the store, I was reading all the signage. I read that they do a lot giving back within their communities. That is a valuable company to have in your area. I’m all about a supporting community. Community makes the world a happier place. There is also a fundraising program (you can go online for more information about that). Smart & Final really knows the value of relationships. I’m a little distance from a Smart & Final. I can only hope that one will come to my area soon or I will navigate closer to them. In conclusion, everyone needs to leave near a Smart & Final. Be sure to follow Smart & Final on Twitter and like them on Facebook to stay up on the latest news, promotions and contests!
Do you have a Smart & Final store near you?
What’s something you could purchase in bulk?