Good question. Each time I pass the location on South Reserve, whoever I'm with asks, "so what's their deal?" As in, are they like Costco? Are they like Walmart? Are their prices lower? Are they a bulk distributor? I've never been to a WinCo, but here's what my out-of-state friends report about the store.

WinCo is employee owned, just like Rosauers across the street, meaning, the people that work at the store, technically own the company. WinCo is popular for their bulk bins, which eliminates a lot of extra packing, and the store says they have more than 800 items sold by the pound. They are very "no frills," they don't even have baggers, and they reportedly buy directly from farmers and factories, which allows them to keep their prices low. In addition, it's said that the Missoula store will be open 24/7, with the exception of some holidays, and that customers do NOT need a membership, anyone can shop at WinCo. Oh, and another question I keep hearing is that people wonder why they are cash only. The store actually accepts debit cards, but not credit cards, apparently not having to pay credit card fees helps keep their prices low. On that note, WinCo stores in other states do accept EBT and WIC, so I imagine their Missoula store will, as well.

We'll see just how low these prices are when February 22nd rolls around, that will be the first day of their grand opening. If you don't drive Reserve, or you've just been out of the loop, WinCo is on South Reserve in the old Shopko location, next to Taco Johns.

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