Get your food storage supply by shopping at salvage grocery stores and save

Prepping tip from Nancy

I live in Watertown, TN and have developed my extensive food storage supply (about 3 years’ worth) by shopping at salvage grocery stores. The best I found is near Elizabethtown, KY run by the Mennonites. Prices are out of sight and they carry many organic products. Examples (King Arthur flour large pkg normally about $5 is around $.85 there, large can of organic tomatoes normally about $3-4 is $.75, 1 lb pkg of wheat pasta normally $2 is $.40 there).

I also shop at the salvage store in Lebanon, TN and Scottsville, TN. There are many others. I go to a variety store in Scottsville owned by Mennonites (not the tourist store but the one the Mennonites go to) – great prices and they will order for me.

I used to buy buckets of wheat berries from Wheat Montana and had to pay shipping, but I order through the variety store and save on that and since they buy from them I get a better price. I also get fresh food from them on all the farms – incredible prices. There is also a large Mennonite community in Liberty, KY.

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M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Oldokie says:

    Sounds like great prices, but what is a salvage grocery store? Are they all run by Mennonites? Don’t imagine there are any in OK or TX.

    • Oldokie, if you are ever in the DFW metroplex check out
      Town Talk on N. Beach in Fort Worth. They are a true salvage grocery and buy discontinued , damaged etc and have everything. I have to go every time I visit my sister and always bring back at least $100 worth of stuff that would have cost $3-500 at a reg store.

    • ladyhawthorne says:

      They are all over, sometimes called Discount Grocery Stores, sometimes scratch & dent grocery stores. I go to one near me and find great bargains like this all the time. I would add that dented canned items should be used soon or they can be recanned into jars. I also put all grains, cereals, flours, crackers and such and dry beans in the freezer for a few day to kill off any possible bugs. I do that with stuff from the regular grocery store too.

      • ladyhawthorne – I had seen the suggestion about putting grain products into the freezer for a few days to kill off bugs. Do you know if the products will suffer damage if left more than a few days in the freezer? Is there any limitation of time you can leave them in the freezer without causing damage or harm to the products? I had purchased a small chest freezer to replace an older one, decided to keep both and so for now have little in the new one but bags of flour, corn meal and the such. Is that a bad idea?

  2. Oldokie says:

    OK, absolutely my last post!

    I don’t know where my head is today, no suggestions please!
    Nancy, I read your post and never saw the link you provided. Your link is much better than the one I sent and must more current. I’m going to have to check out one of these stores.

    Please just disregard my link, I didn’t mean to butt in.

  3. Good tips. We also hunt the discontinued item shelves at our local stores and shop for items “after” a Holiday. Easter hams are a whole bunch cheaper after Easter Sunday, Turkey after Thanksgiving, candy and candles after Halloween, or corned beef briskets after St. Pats.
    Of course a freezer helps too.

    Buy charcoal at the end of bar-b-q season, your winter cloths in The Spring and your summer stuff in The Fall.

    • Same goes for rifles and shotguns. Often there are some good deals right after a hunting season,

    • As I recall, one of the regulars here put together a really good post or article on when things go on sale. I used it several times but then as I got complacent forgot about it. I hope they will see this and repost it.

  4. JP in MT says:

    Back in the day before bar codes, I used to work for a major grocery chain. If you had a dented can, crushed box, or other packaged item that was in anyway damaged, it was marked down and put in a special section. We had no “official” pricing policy, so I figured they were supposed to move and marked them down, significantly. Now I find broken, bent, crushed items on the shelves at regular price. Just shows what we, as consumers, will settle for.

    When we had a Grocery Outlet here I went in once a week, at least. It’s not like you are going to know what they have, or how much, The prices were always good, made my dollars go farther, and nobody ever got sick from it. I highly recommend it.

    • We have a large regional chain of grocery stores in mid and south Texas that all of their dented, or damaged container products are sent to their warehouse and donated to 501 (c), non profit organizations. I’m sure they get a write off on their taxes, but I sure know that a lot of food banks and animal shelters are helped in a major manner by the help they receive from the HEB stores. The no-kill shelter where I used to volunteer would not have been able to afford to feed all of the animals we cared for without the thousands of dollars of slightly damaged pet food and supplies that were donated to us by the HEB folks. And from what I’ve heard from various food banks in the area, which are in major crisis with the current economy, without all the help they receive from HEB, they and the people they feed would be in a world of hurt. I know this is sort of off topic, just a shout out to some really good Christian people who put need of others before profit. And why their products do not show up for sale at salvage stores.

  5. Winomega says:

    I wish I could find a place like that. Big Lots rarely has food items that I like and the prices aren’t that spectacular.

    Well, the search term “Grocery Outlet” did show an interesting hit or two about a day’s travel away.

    • You have to be careful at Big Lots and know your prices. Rice can be had for a decent price and so can some canned goods, but you can also get the same price on canned goods from Sam’s sometimes. I get snack sized applesauce and mandarin oranges for a good price when I can find it.

      I looked at the list on the link. The closest one to me is 34 miles away, but my middle DD lives pretty close to three of them. I’ll have to think on the logistics of that. I don’t want to spend more money in gas to get to the store than I would save on the prices.

      • Winomega says:

        GA Red, go through a few search terms. One of my prospects wasn’t on the list, and the other two were outdated.

        Actually, Elizabethtown isn’t out-of -the-way or inconvenient for returning from visiting my mother. (Where my closer prospects would require finding someplace to sleep until morning instead of making my usual 14-hour mad-drive back. To be fair, I shouldn’t be driving that long if I’m not outrunning a snowstorm again.)

  6. Prepping Wife. says:

    Wow – I guess I’m pretty lucky – I’ve got two grocery outlets in my city but I’ve always been afraid to go in…… I’ll have to check it out!

    • ladyhawthorne says:

      Don’t be afraid, if you don’t like how it looks you can easily walk out again. There’s one in Houston I went to but only bought canned items as it was so dirty, I have not been back to that one.

  7. I suggest that anyone buying “bent and dent” food read up on some tips concerning safety and what to look for when purchasing such products. We use things from dented cans, but place limits on the amount of damage that is acceptable. We do not buy anything packaged (not in a can) that has been opened and then taped over.

    There are bargains out there, just be careful.

    • One general rule with dented cans is that if it is dented on a seam do not buy it. Too much chance for air to have gotten in and increased the chance of botulism infection. I think everyone knows that if a can is bulging at all, you do not buy it and if willing to take the time and make the effort, you might advise a supervisor at the store that the can is not safe to sell and should be discarded. You might save someone’s life that way.

  8. Doris Jones says:

    Just today I went to our local Dent and Bent store. Great place and saved 2/3’s of the price on most items. You do need to look for expiration dates but most have many months or even years left at my store. Some of my great “buys”. 1. Unbromated and unbleached flour–sells for $2.98 at the local Wal-Mart—bought it FRESH here for $1.25. 2. Powdered Carnation Milk (this tastes GREAT by the way, best I have ever tried) and it costs about $3 elsewhere–got it, again fresh, for only $.99. 3. Canned vegetables and fruits–long before expiration–that sell for around $1 or more per can, some 2 for $1 and some for 4 for $1! Top brand peanut butter–generally $3.98 at the other stores, I bought today for $1.39.Great deals.

    We are probably fortunate as we are in a rural area, lots of fine stores and caring people who readily donate to this non-profit store. I just know that I save a LOT of money, have only ever had a couple of products (crackers and one cereal) that were “off” and could still have been used. I was picky and they would not have killed me to eat them, but since I was not in a crisis situation chose to NOT eat stuff I did not like. If I had been starving–they would have been welcome I am sure.

    If you have an Aldi’s store near you, I highly recommend this German store as it has THE best and freshest fruits and produce, dairy etc. for super low prices. It is also on line so you can check out the weekly bargains in your area. The number of items for a single product, say mayo may limited to one or two types but the quality is great. When pineapple or strawberries are selling at Wal-Mart for $2.98 I get them for $.99 each at Aldi’s. You bag your own groceries and be sure to have a quarter ready to get a cart (you get your quarter back when you return the cart) and be ready to SAVE on groceries. Milk and eggs are usually $1 LESS than elsewhere and you save a ton on many items.

  9. If you are close by the Salt Lake City area they have a massive store called NPS, on 1600 Empire St. close by the 21st South & I-215 freeway intersection They even have one side of it in a warehouse across the street that has tools, camping stuff, odds & ends and even mattresses.

    The grocery side is large and carries outdated (or close) food (just know your prices as to what is a good deal) including produce, high-end bread (from a specialty bread store), dairy (great cheese selection), frozen food (some from the restaurant industry). and now it’s summer they even had a plant area outside! I have managed at times to buy expensive cereal like Post Great Grains for a $1 a box. It is an amazing place!

  10. I live in Vine Grove, KY. Where is that Mennonite store near Elizabethtown you mentioned?

  11. Tom Arnold says:

    Thanks! Great article! I didn’t think scratch and dent stores were still around.

    Took a look at the list linked in the article and apparently the link in the article is sourced from another site that much more up to date. The link is at the bottom of the list or click

  12. Hey Nancy, I am near enough to drive to Elizabethtown, KY but the link you provided does not list the store address you go to there?

    Do you happen to have it?

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