Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
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Posts about Going-outta-biz sales

Deals on rugs, "Xanadu" at Chanhassen, and $3 Vikings tickets

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: September 7, 2012 - 2:26 PM

 

 

It's a boo-hoo shame that larger audiences haven't found "Xanadu" at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, the goofy spoof of the awful 1980 film with Olivia Newton John. It's closing September 29 but going out with a BOGO. Receive two-for-one dinner AND show tickets if you call the box office at 952-934-1525 and ask for the 2-for-1 special on "Xanadu." 

Ticket prices range from $61 to $81 each depending on the day and time. 

 

Grand Oriental Rugs (Centennial Lakes, 7433 France Av. S., Edina, 952-844-0696) will close Saturday. Currently nearly all rugs are 75 percent off although a few are discounted 50 percent.

Rug shoppers may remember that when Bloomingdale's closed, it brought in rugs at an 80 percent discount and I was still able to negotiate an extra 10 percent discount on top of that. It's the same thing at Grand's sale. Chances are that you can negotiate a better deal than 75 percent off.

You might even want to take a picture of the rug and its price tag to shop around at other stores. (I'm looking for an 8 by 10 Kazak pattern made in Pakistan). Don't feel pressured to buy because the store is closing. Chances are that you could negotiate a deal almost as good at another store that's not going out of business. By the way, the store is officially closing Saturday but one manager said that the store would be packing things up Sunday and would still take offers.

Before buying, check the quality of the wool. Rub your hand back and forth briskly across the surface. If the rug sheds lots of fuzzy fibers, it's a low-quality wool. Better wool feels softer and sometimes almost greasy because of the lanolin in it. To test color fastness, rub a damp cloth on the rug.

Don't make a big deal about knot count unless you're comparing virtually identical rugs: Generally, the higher the knot count, the better.

Some Oriental rugs, usually those of lower quality, may have used illegally employed child labor: Consumer Reports recommends looking for GoodWeave, Kaleen or the Wools of New Zealand labels. Unfortunately, these labels are rare. The most reliable way to avoid supporting child labor is to buy a machine-made rug, according to Consumer Reports.

Want a really cheap seat for Sunday's noon Viking's game against Jacksonville? It's a nosebleed seat, slightly obstructed view seat near the top but it's only $3 or so at Ticketnetwork, a secondary ticket market. The handling fee is $15 but it's still pretty fair deal since face value is $20 to $45. Better seats are also available at a discount too at the website.
  

EuroNest home furnishings closing sale starts Thursday

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 1, 2012 - 10:11 AM

 

After six years in business EuroNest is closing its doors. The middle to upper-end furniture and accessories retailer was a favorite of many local interior designers for its blend of traditional styles, European antiques and reproductions. Everything from an antique spice rack ($975) to artisanal soap ($10) is discounted between 40 and 80 percent. Most items are discounted 40 or 50 percent.

 

The store has a handful of occasional chairs, sofas, dining room sets, patio furniture, and end tables, but its long suit is accessories. It's a great time to stock up on hostess gifts or small pieces for your home, including accent pillows, clocks, pottery, statuary, candles, coasters, soaps and velvet pumpkins (pictured, $12 to $60 after the discount).

 

The GOB sale starts Thursday, Aug. 2  with the store expected to close Saturday, Aug. 11. The shop is at 5700 W. 36th St., St. Louis Park, 952-929-2927. Hours during the sale are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Owner Lori Anderson plans to continue her interior design business after the store has closed.

How good are the discounts at the Best Buys closing June 21?

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: June 12, 2012 - 3:32 PM

The Best Buy stores in Edina and Brooklyn Center are closing June 21, months earlier than originally announced.

 

The Going-Out-of-Business sale started Sunday, June 10 but things are hardly picked over yet. The oddest thing about the sale is that only floor models are clearly marked down. Almost everything else is discounted, but customers have to ask for the price since there aren't across the board discounts, even by department. Some items are nicely discounted and others not at all. 

 

Media, including CDs and DVDs, are not discounted. Open box items, including large appliances, get decent discounts. An LG steam washer and dryer (models WM3070HRA and DLEX3070R) are $679.99. Amazon's price is $989. Display model TVs, for example, are discounted 10 to 30 percent and there are still plenty left.

A salesperson said that items in boxes aren't likely to get big discounts because they can so easily move them back to the warehouse or another store. That was true on a Stir Crazy corn popper, which was cheaper at Amazon. But if you're in the market for a dehumidifier, the Frigidaire 50 pint model # FAD504DUD is an excellent price at $140, regularly $200. Even Sam's Club sells the same model for $179. (Consumer Reports rated the Frigidaire a "best buy" in its June issue.)

Bottom line: Check prices and then shop around. Bring your smartphone along to compare model numbers online or use an app such as Red Laser. So far, shoppers don't seem to be making a run on the store as they often do early in a GOB sale.

 

Are Oriental rugs at 80% off a good deal at Bloomie's GOB sale?

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: February 24, 2012 - 11:07 AM

 

One item, besides an automobile, for which a smart shopper should never pay sticker price is Oriental rugs. There is always a mark-up. That's why, even at 80 percent off at Bloomingdale's closing sale, a smart shopper can negotiate a better deal. I was admiring a wool runner (9' 10" by 2' 7") with a tribal Kazak pattern made in Pakistan. It was marked $2,750

but it is $550 after the 80 percent discount.

 

I asked the salesman if he could do better. At first he went on about 80 percent being an unprecedented discount, but then he said he could probably get an additional 10 percent off if he called to get approval, which he did. The extra 10 percent would save an additional $55.

At 80 percent plus 10, there are some excellent deals, but here are some buying tips since all sales are final.

1. Ask the rug merchant to show you examples of good, better and best quality: The quality of the wool can be felt. Rub your hand back and forth briskly across the surface. If the rug sheds lots of fuzzy fibers, it's a low-quality wool. Better wool feels softer and sometimes almost greasy because of the lanolin in it. To test color fastness, rub a damp cloth on the rug.


2. Don't make a big deal about knot count unless you're comparing virtually identical rugs: Generally, the higher the knot count, the better.


3. Some Oriental rugs, usually those of lower quality, may have used illegally employed child labor: Consumer Reports recommends looking for Rugmark, Kaleen or the Wools of New Zealand labels. Unfortunately, these labels are rare. The most reliable way to avoid supporting child labor is to buy a machine-made rug, according to Consumer Reports.

Will the overall discounts at Bloomingdale's  go even lower soon? Yes. As of Friday morning, storewide discounts are now 50 to 70 percent off. Earlier this week, they were 40 to 60 percent. However, the Oriental rug discounts remain at 80 percent. By the way, Bloomingdale's never sold rugs at its MOA store, but other Bloomingdale's have rug departments.

 If you're looking for good deals on  "used" furniture, look around on the third floor at Bloomingdale's for an assortment of loveseats, tables, chairs and desks that were used for display and back offices. The prices are reasonable but for even lower prices on used home furnishings, try the remodeling sale at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (1300 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-338-1201). As the hotel remodels its rooms, furniture and accessories are being sold at very reasonable

prices. 

 

Sample savings: Upholstered chairs $55, large framed mirrors $25 to $75, nightstands with granite tops $65, plant stands with granite tops $32, writing desks $28, office chairs $28, granite vanities with hardware $45, wall sconces $5 to $10, wall-mount hair dryers $10, full-sized mattrresses $85, and framed art $15. 

The sale will continue in March until everything is sold. Additional items are put out for restocking. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. One employee said that Spike's bar items would be put out in mid-March.   

 

 

Brand Name Deals liquidation store closing (new details)

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: October 11, 2011 - 1:03 PM

 

Last month it was reported that Irwin Jacobs is selling Hopkins-based Jacobs Trading liquidation to Liquidity Services,

an online company. For Twin Cities shoppers, it also means the closing of the liquidation retailer, Brand Name Deals, a part of Jacob's Trading.

 

The closing sale begins Wednesday, Oct. 12 and will end by Christmas. Discounts will vary and some items such as electronics won't get an additional discount immediately, said one employee. Other items, especially slower moving bulky stuff such as flat-packed wood entertainmnet centers will be discounted an additional 60 percent. Scratch and dent dorm fridges (only a few left) are $8 each. Manager Pat Kyllonen wrote in an email that $2.9 million worth of merchandise will be liquidated (50 truckloads) "We will need to be very aggressive in our pricing and markdowns," she wrote. That's because the store used to get about three truckloads a week to keep it in stock, but with at least 50 truckloads, that means about five ttrucks to be unloaded each week.

I am sorry to see a liquidator leave the market. There was a time when Brand Name Deals offered some of the best deals on electronics (big screen TVs, computers, stereos), but in the last several years the selection and quality declined.

While I have always applauded BND for its refund policy of 7-14 days, too many electronic items that I purchased didn't work. That was fine because of the money-back return policy, but  chances are that all sales will be final during the Going Out of Business sale. If you're buying electronics, shop very carefully and be sure to test the item in the store.

Prices could change on a daily basis, Kyllonen said.

So who's left after Brand Name Deals closes? The best liquidator, before and after BND closes, is Discount 70 in Columbia Heights. I have found the selection at Discount 70 to be a little better than at BND and with slightly lower prices. Neither store ever won any prizes for display but Discount 70 is cleaner store. It will be interesting to see if its invenotry improves after BND closes. To be fair, DealSmart is also a good competitor in Mounds View and Little Canada.  

What's your favorite liquidator? Brand Name Deals, Discount 70, DealSmart or somebody else?

 

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