Have You Been To The Bakery Thrift Store?

Bakery Thrift Stores offer past-dated baked goods at a fraction of the cost. You can get day-old bread for 50 cents. We learned this after asking our fellow passengers, “What the heck is a bakery thrift store,” visions of donated, somehow ironic loaves passing through our head.

We sped by to elsewhere but if we had gone in we think it might’ve gone something like this. Sweet, simple, cheap, and a little sad.

Across the street was a Goodwill, and the Merita connected via parking lot to a Family Dollar. Apparently we were crossing the Charlotte gravity well of savings.

We’re jealous, if there was a bakery outlet store near us, we’d totally hit it up! — BEN POPKEN



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  1. todd315 says:

    My mom used to go to the bakery thrift store every saturday. She always bought a box or two of Zingers (twinkie like cakes) for my school lunches.

  2. RagingTowers says:

    There used to be a “Bakery Outlet Store” near where I live.

    They would get stuff that was either a day old, over cooked, under cooked, or funny lookin.

    And every wednesday was half off normal loaves.

    Sadly it went under or was bought out cause it’s now a Beauty Surplus store

  3. xaqar says:

    My wife calls these “Used Bread Stores” – great deals on lots of products with very little difference in quality.
    Take advantage of these if you have one nearby!

  4. coan_net says:

    We have a couple in my area – and I’ve never had anything “bad” from the place. When I get home, I can always tell when my wife has been there, since all of a sudden we will have normal bread, raisin bread for the morning, and usually something else weird like texas cut or sourdough bread. I guess since she thinks she is saving money, she can buy a lot of extra. Plus ours also have many other things like mini-muffins, snack cakes, etc….

  5. fonzette says:

    Maybe it’s b/c I’m in Ohio, where our diet consists of 70% simple carbs, but I’m surprised that anyone is surprised by the various bakery outlets in the world.
    Next time you’re in Columbus, check out the Hostess outlet – expired Sno-Balls = yummy & cheap….

  6. homersays says:

    Entenmann’s has a factory store where I grew up on Long Island where they sold their products for cheap
    once they passed the sell by date. I guess it does well because its been there for years.

  7. ElizabethD says:

    I used to go regularly (i.e., once a month at least) to an Arnold Bakery thrift store a few miles from us. This was when our kids were younger, hubby and I weren’t so low-carb-obsessed, and our boys could eat us out of house and home. I bought at least a dozen loves of Branola bread at a time, plus raisin bread, English muffins, etc. and stuck them in our freezer. They kept beautifully and cost about 1/4 of the usual price.

    These thrift stores are definitely worth the trip, especially if they are for a brand you trust (Arnold, Pepperidge Farm for example) and if you have a freezer to load up.

  8. pjsammy says:

    @fonzette: for sure! There’s a few up in northeast Ohio…Schwebels, Hostess, and there used to be a Peperidge Farm one, but I think it may be gone.

    Great stuff. While there’s usually some expired stuff, most of the items I find (and buy) are things that are just closer to expiration. Whereas the regular stores might have bread good for another 10 days, the outlet’s bread may only have 3-4 days. Even if you have to toss some expired stuff out, the savings almost always makes it worthwhile still!

  9. jodles says:

    There’s a couple of Entenmann’s outlets on LI; I know for sure there’s one in Lynbrook and I think one near Garden City (these are probably the closest ones to Brooklyn). I had to go there once to pick up food they were donating to a school function, and it was like heaven! Amazing!

  10. Steve518 says:

    There are a bunch of Freihofers/Entenmann’s (sp?)

  11. Promethean says:

    get ready for massive jealousies: I’m in Northern NJ (not something to be jealous about) and within 4 miles of me, I have an Entamins (sp?) and a Thomas’s (as in the English Muffin) outlet.

  12. Steve518 says:

    Sorry, computer blip. There are a bunch of Freihofers/Entenmann’s “outlets” by me. The quality of the food is usually pretty good, and the prices are awesome. You just have to weed through the occasional over-baked loaf of bread or box of all-broken cookies.

  13. mgiampapa says:

    Count one more vote for the Entenmann’s Outlets, not only do they have stuff that is a little on the older side. They also have the “Factory Rejects” like the cake that failed QA because it had 3x as much frosting as it should have.

    I’ve seen a few of these in the NJ/NYC area, but usually go to the one on rt 23 where 46 and 80 all meet up by Wayne.

  14. spanky says:

    Yeah, we have quite a few around here. For some reason, we haven’t gone in a while, but we should.

    We call them used bread stores, which stays funny no matter how many times you say it.

  15. alerievay says:

    First off, it’s Merita, not Merila. There’s nothing quite as good as a PB&J on Merita Old Fashioned (whole grains be damned).

    We used to stock up on buns and things when we had bbqs, but that’s about all. If you’re going to eat the bread in a day or two, it’s a good value.

    Strangely, this looks almost exactly like a Merita store in East Tennessee, near my hometown.

  16. mattbramanti says:

    The best part about bakery thrift stores isn’t the bread — it’s the snacks. It’s what, as a kid, I used to call “bread store treats.” Seriously, does anyone care if their fried lemon pie or pack of powdered-sugar doughnuts is 24 hours old?

    There’s an Interstate Bakeries (Wonder, Hostess, Dolly Madison) thrift store near my office. Here’s what that means, in three words:

    Really. Cheap. Twinkies.

  17. Raanne says:

    There is one right by my boyfriend’s work, so he picks up the bread for us.

    When I was little there was one by us growing up, and we always bought our bread from them. What was really a treat for us kids was the “duck bread” – this was bread that was even too old for the bread store to be selling, so it was 10 cents or something like that for a whole loaf, and we used to take it to the park to feed the ducks with.

  18. taylorich says:

    Yes, it’s Merita. And as alerievay said above, there’s nothing quite like Merita Old Fashioned bread. Ripe tomato sandwiches with Duke’s mayonnaise, salt and pepper and an ice cold Cheerwine. Oh my.

    I hate that I moved away from Merita’s territory. Only Duke’s mayo is available here, and at 4.99 a jar…no Cheerwine and no Merita Old Fashioned. I’d take it a day late anyday over what we have here in Texas. And whoever mentions Mrs. Baird’s bread has no idea what good bread is.

    Okay, so I get a little excited about my bread. Is that so wrong?

  19. skittlbrau says:

    i miss the wonder thrift store – there are 3 within 10 miles of where i grew up.

  20. When I was younger my dad would hit the Bakery Thrift Store for snacks for us. You know, the individually wrapped Brownies, Starcunch, that sort of thing.

    One fateful day in the middle of summer, after a long day of bike riding and playing in sprinkles, my friends and I came inside to enjoy the chocolatey goodness of post-dated brownies. As I hit the halfway point of my brownie, I found my friend staring at his like a monkey doing a math problem. After a few tense seconds he exclaimed, “My nuts are moving.”

    After a preemptive giggle from my mom and then a scream of “MAGGOTS!” all the brownies, as well as the other Bakery Thrift Store goods, were promptly thrown away.

    10 years later I still refuse to eat anything post-dated – even though I know this had nothing to do with the maggots. Milk is poured out on the sell by date, eggs are not purchased if the date is ineligible, I don’t cut the mold off the block of cheese.

  21. doodbugboodles says:

    We have a Wonder Bread Thrift store. It is awesome. we stop on the way home from the chiropractic college every week. (that is another awesome place for deals.) I is so cheap, we can have as much bread as we want. (We skip the sweets cause they are still expensive even at the discount.) I can’t buy bread at the regular store any more, it is just too expensive.

  22. Art Vandelay says:

    Growing up, my mom would shop and the Mrs. Baird’s Thrift stores. It meant having good treats in our lunches when she could find the store/time to go. If I knew where one was in my area, I’d start going again.

  23. BStu says:

    Growing up, my mom went to the Hostess/Wonder and Entemann’s thrift stores all of the time. The quality was always perfectly fine but a huge bargain. I wish I had one closer to me now as I’d go all the time for my baked goods.

  24. pnyc says:

    I can remember the Hostess/Wonder thrift in Jamaica, Queens being a pre bbq hotspot for my family.

  25. Amry says:

    I grew up in Charlotte

  26. Amry says:

    Um, I have no idea what happened there.

    Anyway, I grew up in Charlotte, and my mom would hit the Merita thrift store weekly. It was the only way we could afford fancy things – like raisin bread!

    And on the Duke’s mayo tip – we all live in the Midwest now. I was recently in SC and was instructed by my mother to stop at Harris Teeter to pick up, among other things like Cheerwine and Sun Drop, 5 bottles of Duke’s mayo. I have no idea what she is going to do with all of that.

  27. Secularsage says:

    We have Dolly Madison AND Hostess thrift stores all over around here in the St. Louis area. They’re an AWESOME deal, too – they have way more than just snacks. But the best one I ever found, though, was near Dayton OH – an Entenmann’s outlet. Yum!

  28. RachelF says:

    In New York, you can find the equivalent in Chinatown. The Chinese bakeries all sell the breads that haven’t sold that day right before they close for a $1 a bag. In particular there is one on Essex Street right off of Delancey (south side) that always has a $1 table right outside the store at around 5:30/6:00.

  29. asherchang says:

    wow, I’m jealous of all you guys. I’ve never seen a bread thrift store in my life.

  30. I just 5 lbs reading this post. oh, I wish I was young and could consume that many calories at once.

  31. etinterrapax says:

    We had one in my hometown in NH, and I’m struggling to remember what brand it was. I want to say Nissen, but that can’t be right. There still is one, but I’m fairly certain it’s Freihofer’s. My 85-year-old grandfather visits regularly and flirts with the counter girls when he picks up his hermit cookies and white bread.

  32. phrygian says:

    My mom used to shop at the Hostess and Mrs. Baird’s outlets when I was a kid. It was the only time my brother and I were ever allowed to buy fruit pie or/cupcake/snack cakes. One time, I got a fried pie (lemon) that was filled with ants, but it only happened the one time and the store exchanged it no problem since we’d just bought it. I’d probably still shop at bakery outlets if there were any close to my home.

  33. Simple Household Hint that Took Stupid Me A Long Time To Figure Out: Unsliced bread stays fresh much longer than the sliced kind.

    Our local late-opening supermarket marks down all of the bread that’s about to become 20 hours old, and that bread is of course still soft and delicious, even if it’s sliced. The unsliced loaves will be fine for a few more days at the very least.

    If you buy unsliced bread you, of course, will have to cut your own slices, preferably with a big very sharp knife. I do not consider this to be a disadvantage.

  34. EtherealStrife says:

    @Michael Wales: That’s why you always check out what you’re eating before you put it in your mouth. Unless you’re eating at McDonald’s, in which case…ignorance is bliss. I once saw a worm/maggot in a twinkie I was eating. Whatever it was probably increased the nutritional value. =P

    Bakery Thrift Stores are the best. We used to have a Hostess one nearby and wow did I have fun there as a kid. Wonder Bread (Remember the Wonder!!!), twinkies, ding dongs, snowballs, all at ridiculously cheap prices (generally 1/4 to 1/10th of store prices at the time). Usually the expiration dates were a few days away, but for the cakes we’d just freeze em until eaten. If anything they taste even better after being frozen.

  35. Bourque77 says:

    Theres a merita store near my house ( i live near charlotte) but its not old bread. It just like what you buy in the normal store just half the price. There is a huge merita baking facility in charlotte as well so idk if they have stores for old crappy bread or not but the one I go to certainly isnt one of them.

  36. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I also used to shop at a bread thrift store until I got sick of the smell of bread going bad… that chemical smell… and after I bought sweet rolls that I thought had powdered sugar on the bottom, but that were really covered in mold.

  37. Snakeophelia says:

    The only Tastykake thrift store in Philadelphia, from what I can tell, is in a REALLY bad neighborhood. I’m trying to decide if the risk of being perforated by bullets outweighs the benefits of discount doughnuts. It just might.

  38. KopyKat says:

    Ooh, when I was a kid, my dad would take the long way home from work every Wednesday, which took him by the Entemann’s Thrift store. Wednesday was half price day. He’d always get something different, maybe raspberry coffee cake, chocolate chip cookies or awesome chocolate cupcakes. Thanks, Consumerist, for bringing back a fond memory.

  39. zolielo says:

    I used to go to one with my baked good executive neighbor as a kid. He was a good man except for not giving me his house, it went to probate…

  40. SOhp101 says:

    It’s all about the snacks… I used to live near a Hostess/Wonder outlet and things like hostess cupcakes would be like 4 for $1.

    It’s also a great place to buy a loaf of bread to take to the park to feed some ducks. They rarely ever sold the good bread there so I never did buy bread there for sandwiches, etc.

  41. Nick says:

    I think I win. I have the Pepperidge Farm factory. Besides their famous cookies, crackers, and desserts, they also have loaves of bread and cans of soup and the like. It’s like the best of both worlds: It’s cheap and it’s fresh!

  42. SexCpotatoes says:

    I live in NE Ohio, and work at Nickles’ Bakery in Navarre. We have a bakery thrift store just up the road from my house (in Massillon). I know of another one over in Alliance, but yeah, the deals are totally worth it, cheap bagels, sno balls, doughnuts, mini-pies, and the loaves of all sorts of premium bread for only 90 cents ea. The regular loaves are 30-50 cents for white bread, and I freeze the extra loaves all the time.

    What’s more, we employees used to be able to purchase things on STORE CREDIT, and they’d deduct the price of your purchases from your next paycheque, but they stopped doing that deal about a year and a half ago.

  43. synergy says:

    This is news? These stores have been around forever. And they’re great. Pretty much the same quality as grocery store bread. Often they’re attached to the bakery itself, so it doesn’t even have to travel very far to get sold the next day.

  44. Brazell says:

    There’s a couple around me in Central, MA… and they’re really not that bad. When I was a kid, I remember going to them with my grandmother. I don’t remember how great the bread is, but alot of times if it’s run by JJ Nissens or Peperidge Farm, they sell their cookies and crappy, but delicious, “baked” goods… and those things practically never go bad.

    There’s one in Kittery Maine where you can get those awesome cookies for like 1/10th of the price… you buy them as is, so if they’re old, your loss, but usually they’re fine.

  45. kaikhor says:

    @SexCpotatoes: I am originally from Akron and can name a location for an Entenmann’s Thrift, several Wonder Bread Stores, and a Dolly Madison Thrift Shop (ok, not sure Dolly Madison is still there). Although we didn’t use them as a kid, I now use the Wonder Bread Store by my home. It’s cheaper and the only way I can afford to buy Hostess Treats. The one time I bought bread that was moldy, I went back and showed them (it was supposed to expire the next day) right away. They exchanged it and pulled all the loaves with that date right then. I was impressed.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I would like you to know what a pleasure it is to go into the Entenmann Outlet in Clementon.New Jersey. It is not every day you get nice employees and most of all HONEST. I had dropped money while shopping & went to check out (didn’t have my money) “panic time -looking embarrassed” But the cashier (who I unknowingly found the $) ask me “Did you loose this” WHEW all I could do is stand there with the biggest smile, YES.
    She didn’t want to announce she found $- then everyone would say yes, haha. All I could say was thank you thank you. I should have said Bless You Bless You.
    It’s nice to know there are still Honest People around. I wanted Entenmann Co. and others to know this.
    And of course, we do like the goodies from it too.
    Thank You.