About 50 people waited in near zero temps Saturday for the Salvation Army's new concept store in Fridley to open. The all new goods store is similar to the basement store at 900 N. 4th St. in Minneapolis, which features overstocks, shelf pulls and returns from retailers such as Costco, Target, Sam's Club, Fingerhut and other discounters, all at 40 to 60 percent off.


Best sellers on the first day were household items, cleaning supplies (170 oz. of liquid Tide for $14), paper products (30 rolls of Costco's Kirkland Signature TP for $10), household items (bath rugs for $4 to $14), and clothes (men's polo shirts for $6), said store manager Josh Hagberg.


Shopper Janice Goranson of Brooklyn Park thought prices on food items such as organic tomato sauce and pancake batter were even lower than at Aldi. "Prices are way more reasonable than Wal-Mart," she said. "I'll shop here again," said the former Brand Name Deals shopper.

The new store called "Amazing Deals" is in the same location as the former Brand Name Deals store at 1000 E. Moore Lake Dr. (Fridley, 763-571-9988). Like BND, some deals are better than others. A single 20.35 oz. box of Cheerios for $4 was really one-half of the twin box sold at Sam's and Costco for about $5.50. In other words, not a very good deal. Store reps said that all of the food items would be current, not at, near or past expiration. While that was generally true, 5-lb. bags of peanuts for $6 were labeled "best by Nov. 12, 2012."

Goranson thought the store looked much improved "cleaner, brighter" than when it was Brand Name Deals. It was also much better stocked, although that may no longer hold true after the store has been open for a while.

Shoppers who may feel as if Fridley is too far to drive may want to consider other bargains along Central Avenue north and south of I-694. Also consider Discount 70 (4027 Central Av. NE., Columbia Heights, 763-781-8922), Mike's Discount Foods (905 45th Av. NE., Hilltop, 763-502-8999)  and Savers (4849 Central Av. NE., Fridley, 763-571-1319).

The new SA store in Fridley is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It is closed Sundays, except to drop off donations. Donated goods are then distributed to other Twin Cities area stores. The store's mission supports the Adult Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis, which provides spiritual, social and emotional assistance to men in need. All 11 metro stores support the center, which does not depend on the parent company or the kettles for its support.

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