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'Salvage' Grocery Stores Offer Wall-To-Wall Discounts

NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - There's an easy, instant way to cut your grocery bill by half, but it's not without a catch.

They are called "salvage" grocery stores specializing in buying items other stores no longer want-- cans that are dented, items near the expiration date or even just overbuys.

Salvage stores buy in bulk and then resell products at a significant discount. "It's not for everybody," says Grocery Clearance Center owner Gary Gluckman. He owns one, the Grocery Clearance Center, of the two salvage grocery store in our area -- the other being Town Talk Foods.

The South African immigrant had to give away food when he first opened twenty years ago, just to convince people the food was good. Gluckman doesn't have to do that anymore. "A lot of people come here and fall in love," he said. "They come everyday."

Gluckman has a regular roster of customers who come in two, three times a week just to find out what's new. There's even a Facebook page created by shoppers who are so devoted they post the latest deals.

How good are the deals? They can be great. And they're not on generic items, but products you'd find at any grocery store. Some examples we found during our visit: A box of Kashi Go Lean Cereal for $1.99. Prego spaghetti sauce for 79-cents. Kraft Mayonnaise for $1.

Robin Mack has been shopping the Grocery Clearance Center for years. "I have a son who plays football," she said. "He eats all the time." Her food dollar goes further at a salvage grocery. Plus, like the other regulars, she likes the thrill of the hunt.

Mack doesn't hesitate when asked about her favorite deal at the store. "The center cuts wrapped in bacon. It was like four two-packs for $10.  Oh, I was just in love at that point."

At this point, you might be thinking, a dented can is one thing, but buying some close or even past the expiration date? Although it clearly doesn't bother shoppers like Mack, plenty can get squeamish. To those, Gluckman points to a recent study done by Harvard University. It says the terms are confusing to consumers -- expiration date, sell by, use by? --- and these terms have no relation to product safety. The big exception, the study points out, is baby formula.

So if you're willing to try something new, you can save a bundle. Gluckman says the success of his store is good news for him, but also good news for his customers. "This type of thing can only happen in the U.S. It is a dream come true for me, but also for families," he said.

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