I buy my coffee from Go Coffee Go. It's a storefront for a variety of small roasters. Prices are generally about $12 for a 12 pound bag, and shipping's generally cheap: $5 for 1-2 bags, $7 for 3-4, free for 5+. I usually get 2, which is probably more than I should, since I don't use it fast enough. They often run specials where you can get free shipping on 3 or maybe 2 bags from specific roasters. The beans always show up within 3 days of roasting, and now and then sooner.
There's a difference between any coffee bag that sits on a grocery store shelf and one that's fresh-roasted, sort of like the difference between donuts made today and Dolly Madison donuts that have been on the shelf for a month. The latter don't taste bad, but they don't taste the same as fresh.
That said, not everyone cares. My wife doesn't care about the difference between my fresh coffee and the Starbuck's French Roast I buy in 2.5 lb bags from BJ's. Mostly she's just tasting the burned roast, rather than the bean itself, and that's all she wants from coffee.
I've gone through a couple of storage approaches. I was using Ziploc Vacuum bags for a while, but stopped because a mouse was chewing through the bags. These days I'm using Airscape coffee canisters - they have a lid you push down to force the air out. I'm not sure how much either one helps.
It's mostly about keeping light and air away from the coffee, with the caveat that the beans produce CO2 over time, which can possibly produce pressure in a sealed container. The bags probably do that as well as the more elaborate approaches as long as you push the air out, as nKoan says. Don't freeze them - I know lots of people do, but it's not good for the coffee, any more than freezing a tomato is a good idea.