Bloglet: Surplus Grocery Safari (aka Tour d’ Dent)

April 2, 2011

I’ve been planning a road trip—a Tour d’ Dent. The goal is to find a surplus grocery closer to my home. Salvage grocery shopping is a sort of double treasure hunt. The first hunt is finding the salvage grocery stores themselves. The second hunt is shopping the thousands of individual items they contain. (See my June 20, 2010 blog, Good Cheap Food: Shopping at Surplus Grocery Stores.”

I started this safari by calling a few friends (you know who you are!) one of whom used to travel all over the area on business and would check out all available good deals as she had opportunity. She gave me an address and some directions to a country bent and dent. Another friend remembered the name of the town she and her husband had passed through while on a road trip months before that had a surplus grocery on its main street.

Then I got on the internet and looked up a few addresses using Google maps. One store was in town called Coon Valley, Wisconsin. That is way down near the Mississippi. I wasn’t sure that I had the right town so I got on Google Maps and brought the town up, went to street view, and virtually traveled down the main street looking at buildings and the labels for businesses until I found a building with a marker for Dent, Bent and Beyond. My friends had only been able to tell me what side of the street it was on and the color and composition of the building! Clicking on it gave me an address, phone number, and website (which didn’t load, unfortunately). Isn’t technology something? Who thinks up this stuff?

A Dogpile search brought up list after list of surplus grocery stores. (Some content had been stolen multiple times.) Here are a few:

Each list supplied a few different stores than the others. Be sure to call ahead to make sure that the store you are planning to visit is still in business.

Surplus groceries are often out in the country, and local people know about them by word of mouth. I was surprised to find a few on the main drags of small towns. Some site users complained about the validity of the lists because their local Bent and Dent wasn’t on it. Bent and Dents are elusive, almost mythical, beasts. I’m not surprised that they were unable to list them all!

I ended up with three surplus grocery stores to check out (sorry for the groaner pun there!): one in the country outside of Richland Center, another in Reedsburg, and a final one in Coon Valley.  Begonia

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