Shopping for savings: Target 11 examines new discount grocery chain

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PITTSBURGH —

Target 11 got an inside look at one of the newest discount grocery stores coming to Pittsburgh.   Construction is underway on a Valu King store in the North Hills.  The discount chain is owned by Giant Eagle.  Target 11's Robin Taylor checked out one of their stores in Ohio.

The first thing that surprised me was the size.  Valu King is much bigger than most discount stores, and is similar in size and selection to a regular grocery store.

The big difference is that the store isn’t fancy.  The lighting and signage are plain and the aisles are lined with cardboard boxes.

We visited a Valu King store in suburban Cleveland that opened a few months ago, and is already a big hit with shoppers.

"So far it's been a great experience.  I've been able to find everything I'm looking for and the prices seem really reasonable," said Lisa Roman, a customer who usually shops at Giant Eagle.

The store isn't quite as big or inviting as the newer Giant Eagle stores, but it's clean and easy to navigate.  The shelves are well-stocked with generic and brand-name items, and the prices are on par with other discount grocers such as Bottom Dollar or Walmart.

"It just lets you know that it's real.  All the fancy does is drive the price up," said James Chisler who was shopping with his family.

I found some amazing weekly specials, like a 10 pound bag of potatoes for $1.99, or ground beef for $2.99 per pound, or Swiss cheese for $4 less per pound than most stores.

"Some prices are real nice and other prices are the same as Giant Eagle.  Over all it's better savings here than at Giant Eagle," said Mike Corrigan, a Valu King shopper.

The store has a much larger selection of produce than most discount stores and at great prices.  For example, bananas are 28-cents per pound, but if you want organic bananas, you can find them too.

"I'm retired and I'm not a big shopper, so this is good for me," said Carol Sword, who makes her shopping list up after going through the weekly fliers.

Unlike Bottom Dollar or Aldi, there's a full-service deli and a cheese department to go along with freshly packaged meats.  

Valu King accepts manufacturer's coupons, but like other discount grocers, they aren't doubled.  And they don't have a shopper’s club card, so you can't earn fuel perks. 

And you have to bag your groceries yourself.  Something most shoppers I talked to don’t mind.  "No. No.  I'd rather do that and save the money," said Monica Costella, a Valu King shopper.

The Valu King store that’s under construction on McKnight Road is expected to open in November.

The company is starting the hiring process now and is looking for about 100 new workers.  For more information on those job opportunities follow this link.