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 Sample sales

Four sales worth the drive to Shakopee

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: November 14, 2013 - 3:10 PM

For many Twin Cities residents, Shakopee is, well, a bit of a drive. So it better be a good sale for many of us to drive out there, even with gas under $3 a gallon.

But several small business owners in Shakopee have the right idea by holding their semi-annual sales on the same days, so shoppers can drive from sale to sale like a neighborhood garage sale.

Here's a list of participating store owners:

Northaire soup sale: Save up to 50 percent on a wide variety of packaged soups, desserts and appetizers.The best part? Lots of free samples from the soup ladies themselves, Maggie and Mary. For more info, including hours and directions, go to the Delish website.

Gage & Gage gift wrapping paper, bows, curling ribbon, gift boxes and bags sale all at wholesale prices or less. For more info, go to the Gage site.

Cameron's Coffee includes their speciality Arabica coffees and liquers. Also free tours of the roastery.

Dianne's Candle Company includes name brand scented candles that have soldl for $45 in stores and about $15 at the sale, including labels such as Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang. Next to Gage & Gage at 700 Valley Industrial Circle S., Shakopee.

Weekend sales worth your time

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: March 9, 2012 - 4:20 PM




is now open in Roseville at Crossroads, north of Rosedale. If you haven't been to the Woodbury or Burnsville stores, the home furnishings department is a highlight. The selection isn't as strong as HomeGoods, but the prices are very reasonable, even without a sale. Sign up for emails via the website for a 15 percent off coupon.



Go early to Warners' Stellian extreme warehouse sale  off Dale St. (550 Atwater Circle, St. Paul, 651-222-0011) if you have a specific appliance you need. It's one of the few times that you'll see high-end brands on sale such as Miele, Liebherr, Sub-Zero, and Dacor. Weber grills aren't really high-end but they're on clearance too. Other brands include Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Bosch and Maytag. All sales are final, so make sure that larger appliances fit your space.

During Sport Clips grand opening near Maplewood Mall (3035 White Bear Av., Maplewood, 651-414-9696), anyone can get a $22 haircut for $8 through March 18. For $8, you get the MVP service--shampoo, scalp massage, steamed towel treatment, facial massage and a brief neck-and-shoulder massage. And a haircut. Sports fans can watch the play-by-play on a 55-inch HDTV in the waiting room and on smaller screens in each cutting station.

 Tumi luggage stores in the airport, Mall of America and the Galleria (952-920-0682) are discounting everything 20 percent through March 18. You can also get the discount online using the code 2012SPRING.

Talbots women's stores are discounting everything 25 percent online and in stores through Monday. Use code SPRING25 online and in stores.

Shop Again Consignment for women (4 Shady Oak Rd., Hopkins, 952-935-4829) is clearing out fall/winter and transitional clothing, shoes, accessories and a few household items. Many items are 75 to 80 percent off. After the discounts, clothing items are under $20. Green dot clearance pieces (about 250 items) are only $1. Owner Tracey Williamson describes the shop as "between a thrift shop and a boutique" with every day brands.The sale continues through Saturday, March 17.




Save 50-70% at Patina gift shop's "outlet" sale today through Sunday

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: February 23, 2012 - 9:38 AM

Every city has a favorite gift shop that shoppers go to for a clever greeting card, a thoughtful birthday gift, or a trinket for the hostess. In Minneapolis and St. Paul, it's Patina or Bibelot. 

But the bargain spotlight shines on Patina today. Its outlet sale Thursday through Sunday offers plenty of good deals discounted 50 to 70 percent. The last outlet sale was in November 2010, so there's a lot of merchandise, including

jewelry, stationery, books, furniture, home decor, kitchen products, and seasonal items for Christmas and Halloween, 


Larger items such as lamps (a nice selection), tables and chairs go quickly, said one manager. 

Items can be overstocks, scratch and dents or samples. A few items such as wall hangings with inspirational greetings on them were in the regular store and at the basement outlet with a much lower price tag. 

The sale is in tthe basement of the St. Paul Highland Park store at 2057 Ford Parkway, 651-695-9955. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23-26. As items get sold on Thursday and Friday, empty spaces will be re-stocked, but by Saturday and Sunday, things start to look picked over.  

A preview of the Thymes warehouse sale that starts tomorrow (10-6)

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: October 5, 2011 - 4:45 PM


Brace yourself before you head into the Thymes' annual warehouse sale starting Thursday, Oct. 6.


It's a heady mix of about 20 fragrances for bath, body and home that hits you 20 feet from the door, before you even set foot in the warehouse. Inside you'll find the following prices/items:


50 cents: small bars of soap

$1: 1 oz. sample sizes, candle glass (empty), silk bags and wood dowels

$2: 2 oz. sample sizes, envelopes of bath salts, bags of samples (25), single bar soaps (unboxed) and sink set holders

$3: 16 oz. milk bottles with diffuser sticks, single boxed soaps

$6: 2-bar soap sets in a box, body scrub, body wash, body oils, candles, cologne, diffuser refills, fragrance bottle oil, home fragrance mist, liquid foam bath, lotions, rock salts in a jar and shampoo/conditioner

$8: AHA creams

$15: gift sets and travel kits

$20: Diffusers


Scents include agave nectar, ambersweet, goldleaf, mandarin, lavender, azur, eucalyptus, verbena bamboo, tamacind lychee, red cherie, cocoa monoi, and filigre. Maybe it's just me, but scents at the Thymes seem to be getting stronger. For what it's worth, the only subtle fragrance that I smelled is filigre.  


The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 63 St. Anthony Parkway, Mpls, 55418.

Greeting card warehouse sale today plus 4 more deals

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: October 4, 2011 - 9:17 AM


The buy local movement usually has consumers gathering vegetables but today is a chance to buy an item rarely included---greeting cards. Stroke of the Heart's warehouse sale starting today (Tuesday, Oct. 4) offers hundreds of styles of greeting cards designed and made locally. Normally they sell in hospital gift shops around the country, but at today's sale, they're just 35 cents each, a savings of 85 percent. 


Most are simple watercolor designs with sweet, sentimental phrasing inside.  For more samples of the type of work, go to Greeting Card Garden, but keep in mind that the designs shown are not necessarily the same ones at the sale.


Stroke's sale also includes notepads and kitchen magnets for $1.50, gift bags for $1, boxed holiday cards for $5.50, notecards for $4.50 and other miscellaneous gifts.

The sale runs from 4-8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 at 3792 Williston Rd., Minnetonka, 952-945-9495. Cash and checks only. No strollers.


More good deals:

The maturing of the daily deal market means that the site sales staff is more resourceful at finding unusual deals. I've been loving the assortment of deals on women's gun classes and bike tune-ups, but one of the current sales at KGB Deals is a clever nod to the harsh reality of dating--two background checks for $28. They include address summary, bankruptcy indicator, marriages and divorces, criminal records, sex offender registry and property and corporate affiliations (whatever that is). All you need is the person's first and last name and the state they live in.

Hmmmm. sounds as if you'll have the best results if your date is named Adam Krolikowski or Tiffany Vandersheidt instead of Jay Johnson or Sara Anderson. 

Get 30 percent off most items online only at Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy. Get free shipping on purchases more than $50.  


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