ANDERSON — Each week, a semitrailer pulls up to the former Anderson Sports Center and unloads tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise from large online retailers that have gone either undelivered or out of stock.
Each week, Brad Mullins and his staff race to sell it all at drastically reduced prices — $5 or less — before the next payload shows up at Indy Bargain Bins of Anderson.
Mullins and his staff drop the prices on the merchandise throughout the week — $5 on Friday and Saturday, $4 on Sunday, $3 on Monday, $2 on Tuesday and $1 on Wednesday and Thursday — in an effort to keep items moving out the door.
“We have between 25,000 and 30,000 things that we have to get rid of each week,” Mullins said.
Picking through bins full of toys, puzzles, home accessories and other items is a concept that bargain hunters have embraced for decades. But with his new venture, Mullins believes he can capitalize on a trend that has seen nearly one of every five dollars spent online this year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Online retailers now have hit an unheard of total as far as sales,” he said. “That means there’s a lot of extra leftovers that they are not getting delivered.”
As holiday shopping season shifts into high gear, Mullins said that customers who’ve had their budgets pinched by the coronavirus pandemic are on the lookout for good deals now more than ever.
“A family with four children can come in here and not necessarily get the kids the presents they want, but they can get them five presents each for $100 plus tax,” he said. “You can’t do that anywhere else.”
Mullins, who also owns the Indy Bargain Center on Broadway, said he’d been toying with the idea of a second store for several years but had been unable to combine the right financial support with a suitable location. A friend who owns a parcel of land that includes the old sports facility recently offered to rent him the 22,000-square-foot building, and Mullins was able to open the store about three weeks ago.
The complex also includes about three acres of land that Mullins envisions hosting summer swap meets and other bargain shopping events.
“The other half of the building, we’re going to open it up for antique cars and motor homes and stuff like that for winter storage,” he said.