Millbrook Food Outlet celebrates 10th anniversary

Daniel Dye / The Herald Customers checking out at Food Outlet of Millbrook. The grocery store celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend.

Food Outlet store manager Greg Chandler has seen the grocery industry evolve the past 10 years.

“We have seen a lot of changes with some bigger places adding delivery and online ordering,” Chandler said. “Also there are more competitors in Millbrook today.”

It is no small feat for a small business to be around for a decade — especially a grocery store.

Food Outlet competes against Walmart, Target and Costco, for example, which makes the 10th anniversary a notable event in the company’s history.

According to long-time customer Noah Bounyalith, this store offers something other stores do not — consistency.

“I like the entire atmosphere,” Bounyalith said. “I always get great, friendly service; it’s always clean and everything is organized. We know everybody who works here. I’ve been coming here for all these years pretty much every day.”

Bounyalith is owner of Donuts D-Light so the cost of his grocery bill effects the business’ bottom line.

“The prices are really good,” Bounyalith said. “It is hard to beat Food Outlet prices. Whether I am running a business or shopping for my home, it’s affordable to everybody. It’s a great addition here in Millbrook. I’m glad they are here.”

According to Chandler, the Millbrook location employs around 60 people. There are additional Food Outlet stores with one located in Prattville, open for nine years, and the other in Montgomery, open for eight years.

“It’s a small, family-owned company,” Christine Rhodes said. “There are no corporate headaches. All the people who work here are very close with each other. We just really enjoy taking care of the people here in Millbrook. 

“A lot of times, customers want something simple and quick for dinner. A lot of people are eating out more so that affects the grocery industry a bit. We’ve had to adapt and change to it, but I think Food Outlet has done a good job.”

Rhodes has worked in the grocery industry for 25 years and the past 10 years at Food Outlet in Millbrook.

A primary focus of all three stores is the meat department, according to Chandler.

“Priority No. 1 for us is our meat department,” he said. “We cut our own meat and we run the meat cutters all day.

“We’re more like an old-fashioned grocery store. We do not have a bakery or a deli. We survive on buying big quantities and selling at a good price to the customer.”