Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
Email us if you see a great deal. Include your name, city you live in and info on the deal you spotted.
Find deals on our Steals + Deals Facebook page and find me on Twitter.

Posts about Sample sales

Deal Spotter: 5 good weekend sales

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: April 29, 2011 - 9:05 AM

What sales are worth a look today or the rest of the weekend?

The Sample It spring summer clothing sale includes samples from Billabong, Nick & Mo, Quiksilver, Element, and Volcom at wholesale prices and below. The sale is at the Days Inn (7851 Normandale Blvd., 612-377-6967) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (additional 25 percent off everything).  

Dealspotter Brad Edlefsen recommends the Campus Gear spring apparel sale in Blaine (Blaine Town Center, 12579 Central Av. NE). Edlefsen bought a lot of Gopher stuff, including a hooded sweatshirt for $15 and heavy T-shirts for $3. Other items available include Blaine High School clothing, kids clothing, and hats. The sale is from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily through May 8.

Greed Gone Wild samples and Paris Flea Market will co-host a large sale at 4416 Excelsior Blvd. in St. Louis Park through Saturday. The two arbiters of good taste combine new and vintage, eclectic and traditional merchandise. In addition to men’s and women’s designer and vintage clothing and accessories. Greed has added original works of art, including Mexican folk art, contemporary and garden furniture, handmade jewelry, mid-century modern lamps, glassware, fabrics  and collectibles. Paris Flea Market offers area rugs, lamps, mirrors, and modern art. The sale runs from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM daily through Saturday, April 30. Cash and checks are accepted. 




Talbots stores discount everything 30 percent today (Friday), including clearance.




 Banana Republic discounts nearly everything in its stores 40 percent through Saturday. Bags, shoes, monogram and Heritage are not discounted, but clearance merch gets the additional discount.


Greeting card sale starts at noon today

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: April 12, 2011 - 10:58 AM

Stroke of the Heart warehouse sale (3792 Williston Road, Minnetonka, 952-945-9495) starts today from noon to 8 p.m.. Locally designed greeting cards with simple watercolor designs are priced as low as 35 cents, boxed note cards $4.50 and magnets $1.50. It's a savings of 50 to 85 percent off retail prices. Cash and checks are accepted. No strollers, when possible.



The sale continues from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 9 to 5 p.m. Friday, April 13-15. Designs are re-stocked daily.

More of the best Twin Cities sales through June

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: January 18, 2011 - 12:11 PM

In today's 2011 sale calendar for the first half of the year, I list more than 30 sales worth the wait. Here are more that didn't make the deadline. I

Going on Now: 60% off holiday scents (60% off balsam leaf and peppermint amaryllis dish washing soap, liquid hand soap and lotion). Limited quantities.

Creative Lighting (1728 Concordia Av., St. Paul, 651-647-0111). Savings up to 60% throughout the store--about one-third of the store items are discounted. Note the difference between sale tags (returnable) and clearance (non-returnable).

FinnStyle Iittala clearance (160 Glenwood Av., Mpls., 612-333-2127). Save 40 to 60% on discontinued Iittala glass and tableware through Jan. 31.

Jackie's furniture floor sample sale (219 Water St., Excelsior, 952-472-6440). Everything in the store is discounted 20 to 75 percent including furniture (40%), lighting (30%), accessories (20%) and select items (75%).

Neiman Marcus Last Call sale (Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-339-2600). Save up to 65 percent on mens and women's winter clothes and gifts. The pre-sale is in effect until Jan. 18. If you want to pick up items immediately, show up Wed., Jan. 19 or later.  

Second Debut clearance (St. Louis Park and St. Paul). Save 50% off winter clothing and art. The SLP location has art and men's and women's clothing. The St. Paul location has women's clothing.


Jan. 29: Dairy Queen half-price sale (1739 Rice St., St. Paul). Everything is half-price while supplies last at this DQ location only during its customer appreciation day.  

Feb. 3-5:Galleria selection sale (3510 W. 70th St., Edina). Selected stores offer the following savings: Arafina--70-80% off fall/winter clothing and accessories, Art Resources--40% off select artwork, Blue Willi's--50-80% off clearance, Brass Handle--25% off most stock items, Eileen Fisher--30-50% off select merch, Epitome--additional 20% off sale merch and 10 percent off everything else, Gabberts--15% off Odds & Ends room merch, Pendleton--additional 20% off clearance,  

Feb. 18-21: Albertville Premium Outlets: President's Day sale.  Other sales: VIP Shopper Club exclusive event (must sign-up in advance) April 16-17.

May 7: Lonnie Lovness jewelry sample sale (321 S. Main St., Stillwater, 651-430-2234). Necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pins discounted 50-75%.

May 21:  Bridal Accents sample sale (4401 County Rd. 42, Savage, 952-846-4496, ext. 2). Bridal, bridesmaids, flower girls, mother's dresses, jewelry, veils, shoes, purses, and prom formal wear discounted 30-90% off. Sample sizes 6-14.

What did I miss? Please add your favorite retailer's sale.


Can't wait for the Thymes warehouse sale in Oct? Here's a sampling.

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 23, 2010 - 4:32 PM

Thymes is retiring its Coco Monoi fragrance, so the entire line of Coco scents are discounted 50 percent. (Thank goodness the scent industry doesn't double the price on retired items like the collectibles market.)

Coco Monoi was described by a Thymes employee as floral, perfumy and a heavier scent than most. The body cream is already sold out and the eau de parfum is expected to be the next to sell out.

Can you just wait until the Thymes warehouse sale Oct. 7-9? Maybe. Whatever isn't sold out by then will make its way to the warehouse sale, which will be held at the same location as last year (1546 NE. Fillmore St., Mpls.). If you haven't been to the Thymes annual warehouse sale, check it out. Of all the sales I write about each year, it seems to generate the most interest.

If you like Thymes products, it's a great sale. If you think they're a bit over the top, scent-wise, steer clear. It's one of the those sales you can smell before you even enter the building. Seriously.

What's been your experience with Craig's List?

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: June 24, 2010 - 9:19 AM


A co-worker selling a bedroom set on Craig's List recently got an e-mail from a buyer who identified herself as deaf and disabled. She wrote that she definitely wanted to buy the set. "I really need this. I will have movers pick it up. I will send a check including the cost of the mover ($500). Please pay the mover when they arrive."

It''s a scam, of course. They pick up the furniture and her check bounces. The reason she is deaf and disabled is that you can't call her to confirm anything or expect her to show up to get the furniture. Thus you have little recourse unless maybe you copied down a license plate number and got a name and phone number of the mover, whom I'm guessing pretends to speak no English.

I don't mean to suggest that Craig's List is full of scams because many of us buy and sell without a problem. But sellers probably have learned the hard way to tell buyers that there are no "holds." The first person to show up with cash gets it. It's that simple. Otherwise, you're waiting at home for the no show who "absolutely wants it" and will be there "within an hour." 

So tell me what you've done as a buyer or seller to make it a good experience. I'll follow up in a future article. Either respond online, send an e-mail to or call me at 612-673-7633.  


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters