I've worked in, or around, many machine shops over the years. As such, I've always had access to surplus. One of my favorite "router" bits, are solid carbide end mills. Nothing cuts better.
Of course, there is always a right tool for the job. I wouldn't want a hogging bit for something that required tracing finesse. Then I'd get a template bit with a ball bearing.
Brandwise, I don't have access to much in my area. Top brand for me, is Porter Cable. I have never been to a Rockler's or other woodworking store.