By Scott Smith Kokomo Tribune
---- — Ollie’s Bargain Outlet has grown from 65 stores to more than 140 in the past seven years, including five new Indiana stores this year.
The Kokomo location, in the former Kroger plaza at U.S. 31 and Carter Street, is set to open at 9 a.m. Oct. 30, bringing the company’s burgeoning trade in “cheap stuff” to a new customer base.
At Ollie’s, “cheap stuff” isn’t a derogatory phrase. As one Yelp! reviewer put it, the stores resemble an “organized yard sale.”
According to a company press release, Ollie’s employs between 50 and 60 people at each location.
Ollie’s buys remnants, overstock items, items which have outdated packaging and excess inventory of every sort, all shipped out of a main distribution center just north of York, Pa. The stores stock items including books, food, housewares, toys, clothing, furniture and flooring.
“Somebody else’s problem ends up being our benefit,” is how the company’s director of distribution, Jeff Glass, described the company’s business model to Supply Chain World magazine.
The company now is in 14 states, and also claims to be the largest retailer of closeouts, excess inventory and salvage merchandise in the country.
The informality of their stores is a selling point and is billed as evidence of the company’s frugality on massive billboards placed around the stores. “Ollie” refers to founder Oliver Rosenberg, whose caricature is depicted on various signs and placards throughout the stores.
Over the past few years, the company’s growth has been aided by an undisclosed capital investment from CCMP Capital Advisers, which assisted the effort to consolidate the company’s warehousing and distribution operations into the 603,000 square foot facility near York.
In addition to the Kokomo store, the company has leased locations in Carmel, Anderson and Fort Wayne. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, Ollie’s is also looking to lease space in Indianapolis.