The company store has historically gotten a bad rap (cue the coalminers' debt-bondage lament: "Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store"). But times have changed, as I discovered when a coworker introduced me to the Oscar Mayer/Kraft company store. We were shopping for bargain grillables for our Community Shares/United way office fund-raising grillout.
Located off the main parking lot and down a flight of cement stairs, the store is 95% bargain-basement Oscar Mayer and Kraft products, many in bulk. It's essentially an employee store, much like an army base PX, but open to the public (albeit for more limited hours than for employees).
And if you think Oscar Mayer and Kraft means Lunchables and processed cheese only, you're missing the gravy train. Grey Poupon mustard sells for $1.86 per 8 ounce jar, Boca Burgers for $2.08 per box of four, and Athenos roasted garlic hummus for $1.55 per 7 ounces - all cheaper than Woodman's.
Other discounted products include Toblerone chocolate bars, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Klarbrunn sparkling water, Claussen pickles, Back to Nature multigrain flax flatbread and DiGiorno, Tombstone and Jack's pizza.
Among the frozen items you can get in bulk, there's breaded shrimp in 20-pound bags for $5.99 per pound; a 10-pound box of wieners for $7.21; a five-pound box of burger patties for $16.95; and 10 pounds of bacon for $26. Bulk hard salami and meatballs are also on hand.
Granted, these products don't necessarily fit into the fresh/local category; but many penny-pinching families still need to buy familiar staples. Plus Oscar Mayer is a local employer that adds to the community's bottom line.
And if you or someone you love is a Wienermobile fan, you're in luck. You can get not only Wienerwhistles, but glow-in-the-dark Wienerwhistles (handy around Halloween). There are Wienermobile Hot Wheels, plush Wienermobiles that morph into packs of Oscar Mayer bologna when turned inside out, and even a pedal-powered Wienermobile. Little Oscar would be proud.
Oscar Mayer/Kraft company store
910 Mayer Ave., 53704, 7 am-6 pm Mon.-Fri.
Free 30-minute parking off Commercial Avenue entrance.
Note: The Oscar Mayer/Kraft company store is no longer open to the general public; it is for employee use only.