LIMA — Everyone is searching for a bargain and for some, that means shopping a different way.
Pallet merchandising is a relatively new way to get that bargain.
Jerry McGue, of Lima, is always on the lookout for a bargain. He, like many others, has discovered local stores that sell merchandise in bins at a huge discount. The items could be new, overstock or simply returns to major retailers.
“I’m into pallet shopping. A lot of what I buy, it’s personal things that I like. A lot of it I’ll resell or trade,” McGue said. “I got a lot of friends and we do a lot of swapping. It sort of becomes addicting after a while, you know. The bargains are so good.”
NOLO Pallets rises from the ashes
National Overstock Liquidation of Ohio or NOLO Pallets is just one pallet merchandiser in Lima. It began life in the old Dr. Pepper building at 405 Findlay Road.
“We got the location around the end of 2018,” said Brandon Barrett, CEO of NOLO Pallets. “We didn’t get rolling until maybe November, December of that year it was super slow to get started.”
But as word spread about the bargains, people lined up before they even opened, waiting to get the first crack at what was inside.
“A lot of people had not heard of the concept and so number one, the building from the outside, you’re thinking factory and then all of a sudden you walk in and there’s all this stuff that you would normally pay astronomical numbers for and you’re paying $5 or $8 or whatever the sale was for that day,” Barrett said.
Barrett’s dreams for his business were put on hold for a while after an arsonist set the building on fire in late May of last year to cover up the theft of items from the store.
“I think we were up and rolling by the end of August, early September. It was when we went to our second warehouse, just to kind of get back on our feet where we normally just store items, some of our eBay stuff and different trucks that go out there. So we were able to do at least pallet sales, you know, to keep a steady payroll and stuff rolling. But yeah, it was maybe three months that we were down,” Barrett said.
Barrett moved NOLO Pallets into the old DeHaven’s at 743 Shawnee Road. They also have an operation in Defiance.
Dealing with the fire was something that tested Barrett.
“I think, in all situations, you have an opportunity to fold. That didn’t think make sense for us. A lot of people relied on us, so you just kind of have to do it. So get your mind right, go back to work and make it happen. Otherwise, you just become ordinary and we’re not trying to be ordinary,” Barrett said.
NOLO Pallets sells items in bins and has different prices on the items depending on the day.
He works with brokers to bring in the merchandise.
“What I do is build a team of brokers around me. We’re to the point where we make a phone call and say, ‘Hey, here’s what’s trending. Can I get it?’, and between those guys, we can make it work out,” Barrett said. “For the most part, we have no idea what’s coming in until it gets here. And so that’s nice, because your inventory changes every single week, it is never the same. It’s just kind of a mystery, really.”
You can follow the hours and sales by going to their Facebook page: National Overstock Liquidation of Ohio. The page has more than 10,500 followers.
Pallet Girls closes Lima store to regroup in Ada
Michelle Peirce owns Pallet Girls LLC.
“Four years ago, I ran across another lady who was doing (this) and she gave me the information about it. I was purchasing something from her and from there and we started buying pallets and reselling individual items. We sell usually 30 to 50% off of retail,” Peirce said.
Merchandise comes from a variety of sources.
“I’m pretty picky about who I buy from. With that being said, you are dealing with liquidation, which can be shelf pulls, overstock and customer returns,” Peirce said.
But for the Pallet Girls, the pandemic took a toll on their business and the decision was made to close the Lima store on Elida Road last week.
“We did pretty good when people had their pandemic checks. We were closed down for two months and the government forced us to close because of COVID and we didn’t get any help, because we were a new business,” Peirce said.
The decision to close the Lima location wasn’t an easy one.
“It was a tough decision…a really hard decision for us,” Peirce said. “We met a lot of great people. We made a lot of, I would say friends through the store. You know we had a lot of great customers.”
But in the end, the sales weren’t there.
“We had a handful of people who were there faithfully a couple of times a week. And they were spending a good amount of money with us. Yeah, other people were just, you know, one item buyers,” Peirce said.
Pallet Girls has a Facebook page called Ada Area Pallet Girls that is based out of Ada and so they’re going to back to Ada and regroup, selling items through that page. They’re also in the process of opening a store at 111 and 113 South Main St. in Ada.
“We’ve built a customer base over the last four years here in Ada and the surrounding areas. We have customers from Lima on the Ada page,” Peirce said.
That group has more than 3,700 members.
Express Wholesale LLC gives shoppers another choice
You might have a hard time finding Express Wholesale. Their address is 2100 Harding Highway but that encompasses all of Eastgate shopping Center. They’re actually located in a building behind the old Dollar Movies.
Inside, you’ll find a mix of merchandise, not only items in bins.
“Right now, it’s essentially a pallet store slash bin store. We have put up quite a bit of shelving that makes it more like a store,” said Tod Ruble, owner of Express Wholesale.
He’s been there since 2018 but hopes to expand to another location.
“We would be looking at adding an additional location which will be more store friendly, so to speak. It tends to operate more like a warehouse now,” Ruble said.
He got into the pallet business thanks to his mother in law.
“My wife, her mother was really big into thrifting and my wife enjoys it and she would definitely go to a lot of the different thrift places, you know Stites Grocery was a place that she would go to quite a bit and several other thrift stores around. We had gone to a place over in Jeffersonville, Indiana — Power Liquidation place and decided we wanted to buy a pallet. The next thing we know we’re buying half a truckload and the next thing you know we have a business that we operate,” Ruble said.
His real job keeps him from opening all of the time but you might find the store open on a Saturday or Sunday but you’ll need to check his Facebook page first.
“We really love the customers we’ve met along the way. I really enjoy talking to people. We’ve been able to help a lot of people out,” Ruble said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.