Bottom Dollar Food gets good reviews in Chester

Bottom Dollar Food on Edgmont Avenue in Chester, filling a longtime need, has been well-received.
Bottom Dollar Food on Edgmont Avenue in Chester, filling a longtime need, has been well-received. (VIVIANA PERNOT/ Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 06, 2014

Donna Payne stopped at Bottom Dollar Food for the first time Thursday morning.

By the time she reached the checkout line, the 44-year-old Chester resident had a cart brimming with chicken wings, bread, eggs, soda, and popsicles.

"This cut down half the price from the other stores," she said.

Most of the other stores she visits are not in her own city. Bottom Dollar opened its Chester store last month on Edgmont Avenue, becoming the city's second full-size supermarket.

The other one - a nonprofit market called Fare & Square, operated by Philabundance - opened in the fall. Before that, the city had not had a supermarket in 13 years.

Fare & Square welcomes the second supermarket, said Marlo DelSordo, a spokeswoman for Philabundance.

"It's all very good, positive changes for the folks in Chester," she said.

Nearly one-third of residents live below poverty level in Chester, a city of 34,000 in Delaware County.

Fare & Square did not initially have as many customers as anticipated, said DelSordo, which she attributed to the lack of grocery stores in the area. That's a challenge Bottom Dollar could also face, as Chester residents are accustomed to shopping elsewhere.

Jack Marcy has managed other Bottom Dollar stores in the region. He became manager of the Chester location when it opened and said customers have been especially enthusiastic.

"Now all of a sudden, they've got a couple of options, whereas before they didn't," Marcy said.

Cynthia Cartwright of Chester said Thursday was her fourth trip to Bottom Dollar since its June 16 opening. "So far, so good," she said.

She plans to keep coming back, and said her neighborhood was badly in need of another grocery store. She previously shopped at Sam & Sam Meats, around the corner from Bottom Dollar in Upland.

Others were not ready to declare themselves regular customers.

"So far, it's all right," Sharon Johnson of Chester said as she struggled to find a carton of eggs without any cracked shells.

Nearly three miles away, DelSordo said Fare & Square's business has not suffered since Bottom Dollar opened.

"Actually, we have seen more customers coming in the last couple weeks," she said.

Fare & Square, which bills itself as the nation's first nonprofit grocery store, is attracting customers with events such as healthy shopping tours and other programs for its nearly 10,000 members.

At Bottom Dollar, many shoppers said Thursday that they had received coupons in the mail and were shocked by the store's low prices.

Part of the supermarket company Delhaize America, Bottom Dollar is considered a discount store.

Ralanda Jones of Chester walked to the store for the first time with her three young children and immediately began filling her cart.

"I see a lot of low prices," she said as she called a friend to come by with a car to carry their groceries home. "We didn't think we would get this much stuff."



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