Mercadería Justo y Bueno is a chain of small neighborhood grocery stores in Colombia with good prices. By shopping at Justo y Bueno, it is possible to save substantially on your grocery bill compared to shopping at Exito or Jumbo in Colombia.
When I moved to Medellín over seven years ago, I primarily shopped for groceries at the big Exito stores, as it was convenient. I also sometimes shopped at Carrefour, which was sold in 2012 to Cencosud in Chile and renamed as Jumbo.
Starting in late 2014, we started shopping at the new PriceSmart when it opened in Medellín. And in mid-2015 we started also shopping at Tiendas D1. In addition, we sometimes shop at Makro. Justo y Bueno is a major competitor to Tiendas D1 in terms of selling groceries at discounted prices.
Justo y Bueno started to enter the market in the Medellín metro area in 2017. For example, we didn’t have a store near where we live in Sabaneta until recently. The above photo is the front of their first store in Sabaneta. I have shopped there several times and they have good prices.
And in late 2017, the company opened a second store in Sabaneta. At the end of 2017, the company reportedly had 34 stores in Medellín an the surrounding are.
By shopping at Tiendas D1, PriceSmart, Makro and Justo y Bueno we have been able to cut our monthly grocery bill by over 30 percent in terms of pesos compared to a couple years ago. We still shop at Exito for some items but we also shop at small local fruit and vegetable shops and also a local butcher.
Many readers asked where they can find Justo y Bueno stores. So, on January 4, 2018, we added to this article the addresses for all of the stores of this discount grocery chain in Medellín and the surrounding area.
What is Justo y Bueno?
After selling Valorem (the major shareholder of Tiendas D1), the founding partners of Tiendas D1 did not stand still and founded “Justo y Bueno”. The company started in Bogotá by reportedly opening its first store in February last year. And the company has been growing very rapidly since.
Mercadería Justo y Bueno is a brand of Mercaderías S.A.S. and the company reportedly was planning to open 58 locations in Bogotá plus additional stores in Bucaramanga and Cundinamarca by the middle of the year last year, with leases already signed. And it was planning to have about 500 employees with an average of eight employees per store by the middle of the year last year.
The company now has over 170 stores in Bogotá and a total of over 250 stores in Colombia. So, in less than two years it grew from no stores to over 250 stores.
The average store size is about 500 square meters (5,382 square feet), which is somewhat larger than the typical Tiendas D1 store. Justo y Bueno normally has about 600 products per store. This is about 20 percent more products than the typical Tiendas D1 store, which reportedly averages about 500 products per store.
The large Exito or Jumbo grocery stores in Medellín or other cities will normally have thousands of different products. So, you won’t find as many products in a Justo y Bueno store.
However, in my opinion, Justo y Bueno could be described as a slightly upscale version of Tiendas D1. It has somewhat larger stores that are better laid out with about 20 percent more products including some fruits and vegetables.
Why is This Store Growing So Rapidly?
Similar to Tiendas D1, Justo y Bueno is also growing very rapidly. The bottom line behind the rapid growth is that its stores offer low prices.
Most people shopping there can save over 30 percent compared to shopping at an Exito or Jumbo store for similar items.
Justo y Bueno is able to offer lower prices with a no frills shopping experience and low overhead. Also, some of the products sold are displayed without frills in the original shipping packages from the factory. In addition, the stores tend to be relatively small and nondescript with only a sign out front.
The company’s rapid growth is being accomplished with minimal advertising. Most notably, the company has been growing primarily based on word-of-mouth from satisfied customers that are saving money.
Justo y Bueno Policies
Similar to Tiendas D1, Justo y Bueno may only have one brand for some products sold, such as one ketchup brand and one vinegar brand. By not having many suppliers, the company is able to negotiate lower prices due to the volume they are buying. That discount is transferred to the final buyer. This is a similar strategy as Tiendas D1.
In addition, the company accepts credits cards (Visa and MasterCard) and cash. Also, the company has a low-price policy and rarely has sales.
Furthermore, you are responsible for bagging your own groceries at Justo & Bueno. And plastic bags cost 50 pesos. So, bring your own bags. They also have two types of reusable bags that sell for 950 and 2,400 pesos. In addition, the stores are open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.
How Much Can You Save?
The savings at Justo y Bueno can be substantial. To compare the pricing with Exito, I recently surveyed the pricing of 14 items at their new store in Sabaneta with the Exito located in Mayorca mall in Sabaneta. Here are the results of this price survey:
The range of savings I found at Justo y Bueno was 6.9 percent to 70.3 percent for the items surveyed, compared to Exito. The average savings of the 14 items I surveyed was 32.7 percent. In addition, the store has some inexpensive wines from Chile. For example, the Malbec cost 16,300 pesos for a 750 ml bottle and the Cabernet Sauvignon cost 13,600 pesos for a 750 ml bottle.
So how do the prices compare to Tiendas D1? I also compared the prices of the same 14 items to a Tiendas D1 store in Sabaneta. And here are the results:
Of the 14 items, seven were cheaper at Tiendas D1, four items were cheaper at Justo y Bueno and three items had the same price at the two stores. So, the end result was that for these 14 items they were about 7.2 percent cheaper on average at Tiendas D1.
But this was a small sample. In general, in my experience many prices are similar for many of the products in both Justo y Bueno and Tiendas D1.
Where are Justo y Bueno Stores Located in Medellín?
Justo y Bueno was busy opening stored in Medellín in 2017. And at the end of 2017 the company had at least 34 stores in the Medellín area including some in the east near the international airport.
This compares to Tiendas D1, which has over 150 stores in Medellín, locations can be found here. But Tiendas D1 has been in the Medellín market for several years.
Justo y Bueno is the new player and the company’s website has been down for a long time and seems to still down.
But in early 2018, I was able to get a list of the company’s stores in Medellín, which are listed below. Here is a list of the addresses of all 34 Justo y Bueno stores in Medellín and surrounding area at the end of 2017:
- Bello – Carrera 49 # 45-60 (Manchester – Santa Clara)
- Bello – Calle 29A #50-101 (Bello Cabañas)
- Bello – Carrera 47 # 52-74/78 (Prado)
- Bello – Carrera 58A # 53-21 (Choza Marco Fidel)
- Caldas – Calle 130 Sur # 52-42 (Parque Loceria)
- Envigado – Calle 30 Sur # 45A-150 (Las Vegas)
- Envigado – Calle 37 Sur # 39-33 (Parque)
- Envigado – Transversal 32C Sur # 310-21 (La Magnolia)
- Sabaneta – Carrera 43A # 57 Sur-21 (Villa del Carmen)
- Sabaneta – Calle 65 Sur # 43A-123 (El Carmelo)
- Medellín – Calle 30A # 75-02 (Parque Belén)
- Medellín – Transversal 51A # 67-10 (Avenida Colombia)
- Medellín – Carrera 43A # 23-86 (Avenida Poblado)
- Medellín – Carrera 45 # 69 -08 (Manrique)
- Medellín – Calle 76 # 49-08 (Campo Valdés)
- Medellín – Calle 54 # 51-11 (Bolívar Centro)
- Medellín – Carrera 84 # 42C-78 (La America)
- Medellín – Calle 2 Sur # 50E-29 (Crosto Rey 2 Sur)
- Medellín – Calle 53 # 49-56 (Maracaibo)
- Medellín – Avenida Ayacucho # 39-38 (Ayacucho Tranvia)
- Medellín – Carrera 44 # 20-115 (Ciudad del Rio)
- Medellín – Carrera 30A # 9A-47 (Vizcaya)
- Medellín – Carrera 86 # 64-45 (Robledo)
- Itagüí– Calle 51 # 52-37 (El Cami)
- East (Oriente) – Rionegro – Calle 38 # 55A-85, Local 101B (Estación Tucán)
- East (Oriente) – Rionegro – Vereda el Barro Lote 3, in front of Barro Blanco service station (Barro Blanco)
- East (Oriente) – Rionegro – Carrera 52 # 53-50 (Alto de los Laureles)
- East (Oriente) – La Ceja – Carrera 19 # 18-34 (Centro)
- East (Oriente) – Guarne – Calle 44 # 49-20 (Plaza de Mercado)
- East (Oriente) – Marinilla – Carrera 52 # 53-50 (Los Sauces)
- East (Oriente) – El Carmen de Viboral – Kilometer 6.8 Via La Ceja (El Carmen de Viboral)
- North – Giradota – Carrera 16 #6-24 (Parque)
- North – Copacabana – Carrera 15 # 6-24 (La Asunción)
- West (Occidente) – San Jeronimo – Calle 22A #17-23 (Parque)
So, at the end of 2017, there were four Justo y Beuno stores in Bello, one in Caldas, three in Envigado, two in Sabaneta, 13 in Medellín, one in Itagüí, seven in the East (Oriente), two in the north and one in the East (Occidente). But since that time the chain has added many more stores in the Medellín area.
The Bottom Line: Shopping at Justo y Bueno
Justo y Bueno was started by the original founders of Tiendas D1. So, it is similar in format. And it can enable you to save over 30 percent compared to Exito or Jumbo for many products, as demonstrated in our price survey. But Justo y Bueno doesn’t sell as wide of a variety of products as the typical Exito or Jumbo. So, you will still have to shop at Exito or Jumbo to find some things.
Both Justo y Bueno and Tiendas D1 are chains of small neighborhood grocery stores offering discount prices. But the typical Justo y Bueno store is somewhat larger with about 20 percent more products on average than the typical Tiendas D1 store.
To me, the decision to shop at Justo y Bueno or Tiendas D1 really depends on convenience. Which has a store closer to where you live? The prices are similar at both stores – both are over 30 percent cheaper than at Exito. So, the bottom line is that you can save money shopping at either of these chains.
Also, we have a detailed guide to grocery shopping in Medellín with tips for saving money on groceries.
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Editors note: updated on January 4, 2018 with a list of the addresses of this discount grocery store chain in Medellín and the surrounding area as requested by many readers.