“Everyone sells the same products,” says Bielat, who serves as vice president of grocery merchandising for BJ’s Wholesale Club. “For BJ’s, it’s all about value. So, we continuously collaborate with our vendor partners to adjust sizes and pack configurations when necessary in order to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and preserve the value for our members. In doing so, we keep our members engaged in the categories, and bring in new members, as well.”

Although all 195 BJ’s locations carry about 110 SKUs for juice and juice drinks, only certain locations carry beer, wine and liquor, depending on the state where they’re located. Other beverage items BJ’s locations carry include powders and instant mixes, isotonics like Gatorade and PowerAde, shelf-stable milk, ready-to-drink coffee, bottled and canned iced tea, and energy drinks.

With headquarters in Westborough, Mass., BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. operates membership warehouse clubs throughout the eastern United States. There are 195 locations in 15 states, and the company employs more than 24,000 people.

The company was founded in 1984 and introduced the warehouse club concept to the Northeast. Since then, BJ’s has expanded as far north as Maine, south into Florida and west into Ohio.

The company sells a variety of grocery items including USDA-choice meat, produce, fish, baked goods, prepared foods, gourmet treats and imported cheeses. The company says it can save its customers more than 30 percent off supermarket prices, and it accepts all manufacturers’ coupons.

BJ’s also offers home and business items, including electronics, computers, cameras, brand-name apparel and accessories, health and beauty products, diapers, toys, fine jewelry, books, small appliances and tires. Through its BJ’s Services division, the company offers club savings on vacations, new and rental cars, insurance and home improvement. BJ’s Optical is available at more than 150 clubs, and BJ’s Gas can be found at more than 100 clubs.

“The underlying mission this year and from the beginning of time is to put the member first,” Bielat says.

“We try to create raving fans and exceed members’ expectations,” Bielat continues. “We provide the quality merchandise and great value.”

In 2011, Beacon Holding Inc. – an affiliate of Leonard Green & Partners LP – and funds advised by CVC Capital Partners acquired BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Charity Abounds

Since it opened its first club nearly 30 years ago, BJ’s Wholesale Club has given back to the communities where it operates. Through BJ’s Charitable Foundation, which was founded in 2005, the company says it supports and enhances programs that provide vital services within each community. Its efforts focus primarily on children and families with the goal of creating a positive, long-lasting impact.

“BJ’s is continually growing its community outreach programs, developing new and innovative approaches to charitable giving in the hope that we will be able to reach more people and provide meaningful support that enriches the lives of those in need,” the company says.

In September 2012, BJ’s Charitable Foundation donated more than $1.1 million to 175 nonprofit organizations in the 15 states where BJ’s Wholesale Clubs are located. These funds will be dispersed to organizations that focus on hunger prevention, self-sufficiency, healthcare and education, according to BJ’s.

The foundation donated more than $364,000 to 46 organizations with programs that aim to prevent and alleviate hunger, the company says. The grants will help shelters, food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries purchase and distribute food to those in need.

Another 59 nonprofits that provide temporary or emergency services to those who seek to become independent members of society will receive more than $381,000, according to BJ’s. These grants will aid shelter programs in purchasing supplies and clothing for residents and fund programs that offer families temporary and safe shelter.

More than $300,000 will be given to 54 nonprofits that provide academic and vocational opportunities for the disadvantaged. These funds will be used to purchase supplies for literacy skills, mentoring and tutoring programs.

Sixteen healthcare services organizations will receive more than $113,000 to supply medical clinics and help pay for health prevention services, and for vision, dental and hearing screenings.

“BJ’s Charitable Foundation is proud to partner with these amazing nonprofit organizations committed to improving the lives of those in each of their communities,” Jessica Newman, executive director for BJ’s Charitable Foundation, said in a statement. “These donations will assist thousands of individuals and families, resulting in a better community for us all.”