BAXTER - In a tough economy, bargains tend to matter even more.
That's why Doug Gillette decided to open his Baxter Dollar Store earlier this week. Joan and Doug Gillette leased the former Chef & Co. at the Grizzly's Center on Edgewood Drive in Baxter.
Doug Gillette said he's been thinking about the project for about a year. He previously worked as the business manager with the Salvation Army for three years and said its Thrift Store is doing well.
Wendy Wagnild of Merrifield shopped Thursday for bargains at the Baxter Dollar Store. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Gillette believed there was a need for a bargain store in Baxter.
"Because of the way the economy is - the economy has hit rock bottom - people count their pennies," Gillette said. "When you are out of work they are a lot."
Gillette said he wanted to carry items that would help him stand out from other dollar stores in Brainerd. The inventory includes cards and party supplies, gift bags and balloons, cleaning and bath and body products, pet supplies, kitchen utensils, tools, duct tape. There is a bike cable lock, paint brushes, door stops, first aid supplies, socks, sewing and school supplies and fishing lures. Nothing is more than $5 and 80 percent of the inventory is $1.
Gillette said he wanted a local flair and has Lindy and Gopher tackle, which he said has been selling well. One of the markets he hopes to attract is the cabin crowd heading north. And higher gas prices this summer may make getting a bargain somewhere else look appealing.
Beyond the dollar bargain concept, other stores have been creative in tying in coupons or sales to attract shoppers.
Ashton Lick, age 3, purchased a toy, with his mother's help, Thursday from Doug Gillette at the Baxter Dollar Store. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Baxter scrapbooking store Memories for the Making took an in-store twist on one of the all-time bargain shopping ideas - a garage sale. Customers brought in their used stamping accessories and marked their prices. The store set up the tables and sold the merchandise for them and gave them store credit for the sales in the form of gift certificates.
"It went really well," said LaCoe Inwards, store employee.
Inwards said the gift certificates ranged from $20 to $200. And store shoppers were able to get bargains by shopping at the "garage sale."
It was the first time the store employed the idea. But Inwards said they plan to do it again, this time with scrapbooking supplies.
Gillette said even when the economy picks up, he thinks shoppers will continue to look for bargains.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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