While reading the Gwinnett Daily Post online, a Daily Deal flashed before my eyes. "Sacks Thrift Avenue" the ad read. Now anything with the word "thrift" is going to get my attention, but a clever name like that is going to get me surfing to find out where this place is and what it's all about.
Unlike many thrift stores that are tucked into out of the way places with the name scrawled in poster paint on the window, Sacks Thrift Avenue's professionally designed and lighted sign stood right out in a busy shopping center at Pleasant Hill Road and Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Duluth.
Inside, behind the counter, Katie Payne and Jessica Posten continually inspected their workspace to make sure everything was in perfect order. They were both wearing crisp oxford style shirts embroidered with the Sacks logo. The showcase contained elegant cut glass bowls, expensive looking jewelry and exotic figurines. More like the things you see in an upscale consignment shop.
"We have a big thrift store look with a department store comfort zone," Chief Operating Officer Wes Gore said.
"Our two mantras are "new, used and slightly abused" and "mild to wild" to describe the variety we have here," Chief Financial Officer Mike O'Kane said, noting that he and Gore plan to open five more Sacks stores in the metro area.
Sterling Deeb, Purchasing Director, gave me the grand tour. Most of the merchandise is new, he told me, purchased at auctions and close-out sales. Quality used items come from estate sales, companies that have gone out of business and abandoned storage lockers.
"Our prices range from 10 cents to over $10,000," Deeb said.
I spotted dozens of items for under a dollar: toys, bath salts, bandannas and various packs of nuts, bolts and screws.
The seemingly endless shelves of more than 10,000 books are all priced at 60 percent off and include hundreds of new titles bought from a recently closed bookstore.
As we strolled through the 10,000 items of clothing, most of which were new, Deeb noted that all used clothes and linens are washed and dried on the premises prior to being hung on the rack. Sheets and towels are rolled and neatly stacked on shelves, which Sacks employees patrol to make sure everything is always in place.
The more upscale merchandise is displayed in designer fashion in an area called The Avenue. The walls are decked with mostly mild original paintings and signed and numbered prints. For those with bolder tastes, a Hooker bar shaped like a boat, a Lenzkirch clock and a pool table with ram's head legs and leather drop pockets all sport at least four-figure price tags. And then there's the upright piano with a stained glass front panel and built-in adjustable brass candlesticks on either side. How wild.
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.