There are still plenty of ceramic tile shops throughout the Twin Cities, but warehouse sales have become a rarity. The most recent one I mentioned was in 2010 at Ceramic Tileworks. The Maple Grove company (11225 86th Av. N., 763-493-5238, www.ceramictileworks mn.com) is bringing back the sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Prices will be discounted 50 to 90 percent on glass mosaic ($3 to $12 per sheet on sale), stone mosaic ($3 to $8), 12-inch-square porcelain tile (79 cents to $1.89 each), 18-inch-square tiles ($1.89 per square foot) and stone tile ($3 to $5 per square foot). All material is first quality, mostly from Italian factories. Quantities range from small lots for bathroom floors to large projects for an entire lower level. All sales are final. Cash and credit cards accepted.
Other tile retailers have outlet stores to get rid of inventory. Kate-Lo Tile and Stone Outlet (701 N. Berkshire Lane, Plymouth, 763-417-3807) offers discounts of 10 to 60 percent. Tile by Design (1720 N. Annapolis Lane, Plymouth, 763-551-5900) offers discounts of 20 to 60 percent in a small clearance room.Free credit score and credit report
Wells Fargo is offering its customers a twofer: Go to any branch to get free access to your credit report and credit score. This is a good deal because even though anyone can get a free copy of a credit report each year at www.annual creditreport.com, the credit score costs $12 or more. A Wells Fargo banker will give participants a unique access code to take part in the program. Customers then use the code to log on to www.wellsfargo.com/creditscore and get the report.
Customers should look over the credit score materials before interpreting the score. The credit score provided by Wells is from VantageScore, which is similar to FICO, with a range of 300 to 850. The access code is available in person, not online or by phone.Way to go, JCP
Let's give J.C. Penney credit for doing something that no other national retailer has tried in recent memory. It stripped all prices ending in 97 or 99 cents and rounded them up to the next dollar. The department store also lowered most of its prices to an everyday low price instead of baiting us with sales every other week. It also created some genuinely entertaining commercials starring Ellen DeGeneres. If you've been waiting for a retailer to "quit playing games," but haven't checked out the new Penneys, now is a good time.
Consumer Reports said that, so far, Penneys has delivered on its promised savings. Eleven of 14 items had a savings of 40 percent or more from the original price. Additional savings occur on the first and third Friday of each month, including this Friday. More improvements are on the way, including mini-shops such as Sephora and services similar to Apple's Genius Bar.
While all of these improvements deserve praise, I hope renovations and updates are in the mix, too. That Southdale store is still less than enticing.