Thinking about replacing the molding in your living room, purchasing some scatter rugs or designing a decorative patio floor or walkway? Your “do-it-yourself” project may not cost as much as you think.
Bargain Warehouse, a five-acre “open-air-market”, located at 16300 Wiscon Road, might be one of Hernando County’s best kept bargain-hunters secrets for new and used, well, everything.
Owners, TB and Linda, purchased the business at the beginning of this year. Originally Sarge’s Salvage, Bargain Warehouse expanded on the same “salvage-type concept.” They added some aesthetic appeal by organizing the yard to resemble a department store-like arrangement.
“It’s a work in progress,” TB said. He explained how the business was taking shape. They have organized, arranged and grouped like items together to provide a more controlled, comfortable environment for customers.
“It gets a little bit better each day,” he added.
Once you walk through the gate at the entrance of Bargain Warehouse, it’s quite evident you are in for an unusual experience. A small 1,000-square-foot building rests at the front and houses many of the more delicate items, like brand new Union Bay men’s shirts ($7 or 2 for $10. The price tickets are still intact, showing the suggested retail price of $46!), batteries, plastic containers, flashlights and reflectors, and the list goes on.
Linda’s friendly disposition makes for a comfortable visit. She often greets returning customers by name and engages in casual conversation. “I like talking with people,” she said with an infectious smile.
But the “store” is just a teaser to the real deal waiting to be explored.
Here lies an affordable option to nearly any do-it-yourself project as convenient as your local hardware store yet with prices that are more competitive with a neighborhood garage sale. Yet most items, some 70 percent off, are brand new.
Roam the back lot and you’re almost guaranteed to stumble on something you didn’t even know you needed or wanted. Fence posts, fencing, appliances, air conditioning ductwork, computer hardware, restaurant equipment, collapsible bins…right down to the nuts, bolts and screws.
Resembling a major hardware store in the broad variety of items available, Bargain Warehouse has also adapted much of the same concept. Customers are encouraged to browse for what they need. If they have a question, Michael Drew, who has worked with TB and Linda in their other businesses for the past five years, is available to answer questions.
Amid an enormous collection of paving stones of different sizes and thicknesses, Drew explained the differences and how to determine which stone would work best for a specific project. He is friendly, knowledgeable, and quick to offer his assistance.
Detached semi-tractor-trailers were converted to a “rope room” and a “rug room”. Both are packed with so many different varieties that exceed the normal expectation.
“We’ve got a lot of junk,” TB said with a laugh. “We’re a junkyard…a surplus- junkyard.”
TB has been in the surplus business since he was 19 years old. “I got into it by accident,” he said, and has been buying and selling ever since. They’ve had various different locations, including a store in Ocala.
“Business is just rough these days,” he said. Experimenting with a business that operates outdoors has helped to alleviate much of the operating costs that were killing him, like an $8,000 electric bill each month. “Here our electric bill runs about $200. We had to do something to save money.”
With the state of the economy, businesses are forced to look at creative options to stay in business. “Nearly everything is outside,” he added. “We don’t do the business that Walmart does. But then we sell completely different items.” And prices are way below what you would expect to pay elsewhere.
Top quality, edge-banded shelf boards that came out of Kohl’s Department Store are priced at Bargain Discount for $3 each or two for $5. “That particular board could run you $12,” TB said.
“We have hundreds of things you wouldn’t find at another store like the pavers, so many different kinds of rope, and so many different kinds of mats (in the rug room). We sell wall board, mobile home trusses that people can make sheds out of, and brand new mobile home doors.”
You will find varieties of paint, caulking paste, all different types of hardware, some organized in bins, others in bulk containers. “We have over 40,000 pounds of hardware!” Electrical motors, electrical parts, gates, windows, Army ammo boxes…
John Hunter, who recently visited Bargain Warehouse with a “honey-do-list” in hand, is a regular customer.
“They keep bringing more stuff and more stuff,” he said with a laugh. “I keep sending people here because everything is such a bargain.”
It is evident in their demeanor that TB and Linda enjoy what they do. “I like the people,” TB said. “I don’t know what it is but it seems like as soon as they walk through the door they just relax.”
Indeed Bargain Warehouse has a strong aesthetic appeal in shaded, open-air atmosphere. Linda said they will add park benches so visitors can relax and enjoy the trip.
“It’s an unusual place,” TB said. He smiled, remembering a store he’d owned in the past where their motto originated. “We buy junk of all kinds and sell first quality merchandise.”
Bargain Warehouse is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
Biz at a Glance
Name: Bargain Warehouse
Address: 16300 Wiscon Rd., Brooksville 34601
Telephone: (352) 593-4933