RACINE — It’s not every day you find your kid’s new scooter, a set of blankets for your bedroom or even a shiny toaster oven for your kitchen for a low price at the same place. Unless you’re shopping at Deals for Days, a new retail store which held its grand opening on Saturday at 3701 Durand Ave.
The concept of the store is simple yet so enticing for a shopper who likes hunting for good deals: Liquidated items like home goods, electronics or clothing from stores like Target or Walmart are tossed in bins, and depending on the day of the week, at a low price point.
On Saturdays, everything is $10; on Sundays, $8; on Mondays, $6; on Tuesdays, $3; and, on Wednesdays, items are $1. They’re closed the rest of the week for restocking.
“It’s nice that people who can’t afford a $40 or $50 lamp can come here and get it at a great price,” said April Ataa on Sunday. She co-owns the store with her husband, Khalil Ataa.
April and Khalil Ataa, co-owners of Deals for Days, pose in the front of the store on Sunday.
Taking a chance
On opening day, the store saw a long line of customers anxiously waiting to get inside. Mayor Cory Mason was there to wish the new business well.
“It’s going to be small businesses like this that help us recover from the pandemic,” Mason said in a Facebook video. “(It’s a) great opportunity for all of you to hopefully get some good deals, but also for another flourishing family business to get going.”
April said the location where Deals for Days is now open hadn’t been occupied since the 1990 — or at least, that was the last time she was able to find paperwork. The two hope to revitalize Elmwood Plaza.
Khalil and April said opening a storefront was taking a chance for them, but so far, it has felt like a big accomplishment. The two have been incarcerated in the past, they said, but they haven’t let their history deter them from their goals.
April and Khalil Ataa laugh together after sharing a hug on Sunday. The two have just opened their first business together, Deals for Days, in…
“This feels bigger than us,” Khalil said. “To be able to give a person a job, to be able to have a job, to be able to create something that I’ve never done before.”
Khalil’s family members were among some of the first customers that head to the grand opening of the store.
“I got an auntie that really, really loved it,” he said. “It was just to be able to have our family look at us like, ‘Oh, wow, we’re proud of you.’”
Customers dig for treasure at Deals for Days in Elmwood Plaza on Sunday, when everything in the store was $8.
On the rise
April said she’d heard of bargain bin stores gaining traction mostly in Florida and California.
When one popped up in Waukegan, Illinois, and received lots of attention from local customers, April started thinking about bringing a store like it to Racine.
“It’s an exciting thing for people because you never know what you’re gonna find,” April said. “You’re walking in and treasure hunting.”
According to a study done by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, about 3 in 4 Americans say they’re more careful spenders and savers than they were a year before COVID-19 struck. Ninety percent of Americans now consider themselves “value shoppers” and about 9 out of 10 of those people did not consider themselves “value shoppers” before.
“I definitely think it’s a trend and I don’t think it’s stopping any time soon,” April said of more bargain stores opening.
Lynsie Michel was a customer on Sunday looking for items she could resell. Reselling, or literally selling an item again, is the idea of finding goods for a low price at thrift stores or bargain stores and selling them for a higher value.
A customer sifts through a pile of girls' clothes with his daughter on Sunday.
“I saw they opened and figured we’d give it a try,” said Michel, who was with her family. “I’m not looking for anything specific (to resell). If I find something for me, I’ll buy it.”
Reselling has also become a trend, with some resellers making headlines by selling up $10,000 for a pair of sneakers found at a thrift store or earning as much as $1,000 by selling stuff bought for $10 from an abandoned storage unit.
April and Khalil were resellers themselves for about four years before opening Deals for Days.