I've been using Owens or our local store made stuff lately. In either case, I sprinkle on a little fennel seed and crushed red pepper, mix it up real good, roll it up tight in plastic wrap, and let it rest in the fridge overnight before cooking. I think it really helps the store bought stuff a lot.
I stay away from Kroger brand Italian sausage. I don't know what they put in it, but it has a very artifical-chemical taste.