Ollie’s opening reminiscent of Black Friday

Kile Brewer
Posted 10/25/17

ORANGE PARK – Maureen Williams got out of her car at about 7:15 Wednesday morning to take her place at the front of the line outside Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on Blanding Boulevard.

The store …

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Ollie’s opening reminiscent of Black Friday

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Maureen Williams got out of her car at about 7:15 Wednesday morning to take her place at the front of the line outside Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on Blanding Boulevard.

The store held its grand opening at 9 that morning with a brief ribbon cutting before ushering in more than 100 customers who had formed a line wrapping around the strip mall that formerly housed the Marshall’s store, and years before that, a Publix. Williams and the other customers were hunting for deals, specifically a 40" television advertised at just over $150.

“I took the day off to come up here,” Williams said.

Once she made her way through the store she planned on setting up her new television and enjoying her day off. “This afternoon I’ll have a little R&R while the house is still quiet.”

Williams had been to an Ollie’s store in Georgia and was excited to receive a recent mailer advertising a store much closer to home.

“They had a lot of good deals [in Georgia], and when I saw the deals in the flier, I couldn’t pass it up,” she said. “They got a good location too, with plenty of space to park.”

As Williams and the other customers entered the store the scene was reminiscent of a Black Friday store opening, but the Ollie’s employees successfully planned for a crowd and had team members set up to direct traffic through the store. Someone near the entrance handed out tickets for the TV, which eliminated a mad rush for the enormous boxed flatscreens. A member of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office stood watch at the door to help maintain order should anyone get out of hand, but mostly he smiled and waved at customers as they shopped the store’s overstock items.

Ollie’s is new to Clay County but not necessarily new to the area. There are two stores in Duval County, and 261 total along the East Coast. The store began with one location in Pennsylvania in 1982 by offering an alternative to the increasingly popular big box retail experience that has cemented itself into society since the 1980s. That need is still there, and it shows as the chain continues to open new stores.

“Our motto here is good stuff cheap,” said the store’s co-manager Tempest Colwell. “We offer name brand merchandise at half the cost of other retailers.”

Colwell was front and center for the ribbon cutting and welcomed customers inside, all while celebrating her birthday on the same day as the store’s opening. While she is obviously biased, she is not only an employee but plans to be an avid shopper at the location.

“Being a mom, they have really good deals, and there are always new and exciting things” she said. “Once an item is gone, it’s gone, and there’s that excitement of not knowing what’s gonna’ be here day to day.”

The store has been preparing for the opening for about a month, and it is fully stocked on factory closeout and over run items ranging from household supplies and electronics to books, toys and clothing. The store is located in the former Marshall’s storefront in the strip mall just north of the intersection of Blanding Boulevard and Ridgecrest Avenue. It is open daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and 10-7 on Sundays.

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