Value City Has Brand Names For A Dollar
SHAPIRO AND ARECA TREON
We admired the monolithic water tower proclaiming “Value City” as we walked across the vast wasteland of parking lot into the store of the same name. Although this 70,000-square foot store may be big enough to put a city in, it resides on the outskirts of Elyria, a mere five miles away from the center of Oberlin.
For those of you unaware of this remarkable place, it resembles the illegitimate child of TJ Maxx and an outlet mall. There is a huge variety of clothes ranging from name brands such as Ralph Lauren to Self-Esteem (a teenybopper brand). One can also find closeout yuppie foods, shoes, bedding supplies, toys, tools… you name it.
This store is conveniently divided in two sections: male and female. Everything stereotypically associated with females, household items such as linens and toiletries can be found on right. On the left side of the store there is a large array of men’s clothes and items such as sporting equipment and yard supplies.
As we entered the store we bolted past the $19.99 floral print dresses and headed for the fantastic $1 clothing section. Really, one dollar. And the clothes are respectable outcasts from the Express and the Limited, among other stores. The sizes are within normal ranges and the fabric is not stained with mystery fluids. Nor are they unintentionally asymmetrical. They are, in fact, surplus from mall stores due to the seasonal turnover of styles.
Darlene Simms, a store manager, gave us some insight as to how the store runs. “Some people assume that the clothes are flawed, but it’s the same stuff you’ll find in a mall.” If clothes aren’t sold at the mall stores, they have to get rid of the goods somehow. And thus Value City was born. Value City has the advantage of having about 10,000 feet of storage space. They can afford to have things sit around for a while. We noticed a suspiciously large array of bikinis (and tankinis), which is clear evidence of their ability to sell out of season.
Don’t be alarmed, most of the clothes have been sitting around for less than two years. But still, how can they sell an Express skirt for $1? Simmons told us that they had a “major buyout” since they have to sell everything. When we realized that these $1 gems have been marked down numerous times due to lack of buyer interest, we had to question our taste in fashion—but only for a moment.
Shopping here is certainly not easy. One must sift through dozens skirts that resemble grandma’s curtains before arriving at a decent one. The harsh fluorescent lights were made bearable only by the soothing melodies of Brian Adams and Bette Midler. We made it to the dressing rooms with our carts full of possibilities. Apart from the shock of discovering a skirt was actually a skort in disguise, our success rate was fairly good. We walked out with four skirts, two shirts and shiny blue pants for under 10 bucks.
However, buyer should beware of the “point of no return” phenomenon of discount stores. We found ourselves drooling over colorful soap dishes and placemats, a sure sign that it was time to leave before we blew our $10 budget.
A brief foray into the Value City Furniture store next door proved entirely fruitless. There are no deals here — unless you consider a basket of unconvincing fake peonies for $50 a deal. We recommend you stick to the Value City department store.
So, if you’re on a thrift shop budget and don’t mind the annoyance of shopping in a store the size of Super-K, head to ValueCity. Look for the water tower.
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