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Community members in Burlington can get the most bang for their buck at Best Bargains, Inc. The local business now has two locations where shoppers can save.

Best Bargains recently expanded, adding an additional location at 210 S. Pine St. in Burlington. Their original location is at 6515 352nd Ave., in New Munster.

The storefronts are owned by Doug Helnore, a long-time employee who started working for the company in 1992.

“I moved up to buying and sales; human resources; and marketing. It was during this time that I realized the potential Best Bargains had to provide customers quality food at discount prices,” says Helnore.

Best Bargains, Inc.
Doug Helnore, owner and CEO of Best Bargains, Inc. – Credit: Eric Johnson

Later he transitioned to become a 10% owner in the early 2000s and then bought out the other owners in 2019 to take over as the CEO and sole owner.

Helnore enjoys being a place in the community where people can save and receive quality goods.

Best Bargains, Inc. opens to combat food desert

Expanding into Burlington comes with the goal to be a resource for community members. With a lack of variety of grocery stores in the near area, Helnore’s connections allow him to supply customers with quality foods at discounted prices.

“The reason I opened it was, in that part of Burlington and other places, they are food deserts,” says the owner.

Best Bargains, Inc.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service data indicates that Burlington is identified as a red area, meeting the criteria where a significant number of residents are more than 1 mile (urban) or 20 miles (rural) from the nearest supermarket.

As a community member who has also raised a family in the area, he feels for his neighbors.

“I really feel for people trying to feed three, four kids, because everything is just so expensive,” says the owner.

“When I go to the grocery store, I see the grocery bill and I know what that stuff costs and it just horrifies me.

“I’m thinking…’what do you have to subjugate to just pay the food bill, right? Was it the kids’ college, or is it something else?’ It just seems like food shouldn’t be the most important thing. That’s why I like to, what I call, ‘hit the food deserts – where they have very few choices.'”

Best Bargains, Inc.
Best Bargains, Inc. offers a large selection of bulk institutional-sized restaurant-quality foods, as well as a wide array of restaurant small wares and supplies. – Credit: Eric Johnson

This is why the store strives to supply a resolution for people in need. Helnore wants to see his community thrive and be a part of the reason why it flourishes.

Reducing waste and overconsumption

In addition to being a resource, Helnore strives to change the mindset consumers have about food. He acknowledges the waste and overconsumption that takes place in our society; especially in the food industry.

Best Bargains, Inc.
The no-frills shopping atmosphere that allows for deeply-discounted prices has been lovingly nicknamed “the Plywood Palace” by owner and CEO Doug Helnore. – Credit: Eric Johnson

“The grocery industry, the American public, hasn’t been educated on ‘best by,’ ‘use by,’ and the different dates,” notes the owner. “It’s a waste…how much food we either throw away or don’t use because we’ve been taught that codes – these artificial cosmetic codes – are detrimental.”

But, Helnore is changing the mindset by educating customers. Learn more on their website to become an educated shopper.

Multipurpose store

Not only does Best Bargains, Inc. work with customers face-to-face on a local level, but the business also buys and sells with a variety of companies across the country.

“We’re lucky, we have avenues to a lot of different supply chains,” says the owner.

The business offers a variety of services to meet a wide selection of needs. They are a wholesale food service and master redistributor of wholesale goods.

A part of their business focuses on repackaging and buying freshly frozen while operating as a grocery store. This store is also the place for local restaurants to purchase items for their businesses.

Best Bargains, Inc.
A large selection of restaurant-quality bulk foods can be found inside. – Credit: Eric Johnson

“A lot of what we have is frozen stuff, but it is substantially cheaper,” says Helnore.

Not only is it cheaper, but it’s a higher-quality food item too because of the partnerships Helnore and the rest of the staff has cultivated with other local restaurants and businesses.

The store has unique desserts, a wide selection of seafood, specialty items, and a deli with multiple options. The business also carries restaurant and catering supplies.

At this location, customers are able to purchase quality goods at a fraction of the cost through their unique business models.

Best Bargains, Inc.
A full-service deli counter and hot food bar can be found at Best Bargains, Inc. – Credit: Eric Johnson

“I would like to see everyone benefit because people work just too hard to get ends to meet.”

Doug Helnore, owner and CEO, Best Bargains, Inc.

Learn more about the business by visiting its website. Contact the store by calling:

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