If you’re not yet familiar with a liquidation store, then you are in for a treat. Liquidation stores are unique retail establishments specializing in selling open-box items, returns, display models, and discontinued products. The items in a liquidation store are often, if not always, deeply discounted. And when I say “deep” I mean up to 95% off the original retail price.
To find these deals, you have to know where to find these stores. And navigating these stores might take a bit of strategy, but it’s well worth it. These stores are a goldmine for those on a tight budget or simply looking for a good deal.
So, whether you’re hunting for building supplies for your next renovation project, discount clothing, or cheap furniture for your new apartment, this guide is for you.
This guide will help you navigate the world of liquidation stores with exclusive insider tips and tricks.
What are liquidation stores?
Liquidation stores are discount retail shops specializing in open-box, returned, displayed, discontinued, clearance, and overstocked items. They offer a diverse range of products, including clothing, building supplies, electronics, furniture, toys, and more, all at significantly reduced prices – thanks to their ability to purchase these items at a discount.
Liquidation stores operate by partnering (and establishing contracts) with brokers and large big box stores to acquire liquidated goods in large quantities, often by the pallet or truckload. In fact, it’s quite common for major retail giants like Amazon, Target, Costco, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Macy’s to participate in the liquidation of their merchandise. As a result, you may frequently come across items from these prominent retailers at a liquidation store in your local area.
What makes the liquidation store unique?
Liquidation stores receive their inventory and sell it to consumers at discounted prices. This allows them to pass on the savings to customers, making it a win-win situation for both the store and the shoppers.
They are different from a thrift store in that their items are not necessarily used, vintage, or antique.
However, it’s important to note that some products may have minor damage or missing parts, so it’s advisable to inspect everything before making a purchase.
10 Best Liquidation Stores Near You
You may have stumbled upon a liquidation store without even realizing it. And that’s because some liquidation stores also function as retailers. In addition, many liquidation stores are local to a specific city or region, so you may have to do some research to find them.
To find these local options, search “liquidation stores near me” on Google or Yelp, which should provide a list of nearby choices. An alternative search term is “salvage stores near me” or “bin stores near me.” These terms are often used interchangeably but will result in similar stores and products.
Here are a few well-known stores that are worth visiting today:
Ollie’s is likely one of the most popular liquidation stores out there. This liquidation store takes pride in being America’s largest retailer of closeout merchandise and excess inventory, with a widespread presence across 30 states through its 501 stores. Their offerings span an array of products, some even defying categorization. Ollie’s offers genuine brands at unbeatable prices in every department, from housewares to sporting goods, flooring to food.
Their motto, “good stuff cheap,” perfectly highlights their mission: delivering brand-name merchandise, including housewares, books, toys, food, sporting goods, and flooring, at prices significantly lower than those at upscale retailers. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet offers brand-name goods at prices that can be up to 70% less than what you’d find at high-end stores.
Ollie’s product selection is constantly evolving. While you can expect to find items in their main 15 categories, you won’t encounter the same products or brands every visit. So, when you spot something you like, grab it, because once it’s gone, it’s gone!
2. Big Lots
Did you know Big Lots is considered a liquidation store? Big Lots is a large retailer with more than 1,400 Big Lots stores in 47 states. Given their extensive presence, there’s a good likelihood you have a Big Lots store nearby. Their product range covers everything from food and furniture to seasonal items, electronics, accessories, home décor, toys, and gifts.
They cater to a diverse customer base, including those on a tight budget and folks who enjoy the thrill of a treasure hunt. It’s an enjoyable shopping experience, and you never quite know what you might come across. Big Lots offers a selection of overstocked, clearance, and close-to-expiration date merchandise.
3. Bargain Hunt
Bargain Hunt, headquartered in Nashville, operates as an extreme value retail chain with a robust presence of 91 stores across 10 states. They sell high-quality closeouts, buyouts, overstocks, and returns, allowing them to pass on substantial savings of 30-70% off the everyday prices of other retailers.
Their inventory spans an array of categories, from food, beverages, personal care, cleaning supplies, pet items, baby products, bedding, bath essentials, kitchenware, home décor, furniture, mattresses, apparel, shoes, accessories, toys, electronics, sports and outdoor gear, lawn and garden supplies, and seasonal items.
They even host online auctions to offer unique and one-of-a-kind deals, setting them apart in the retail landscape.
4. Dirt Cheap
Dirt Cheap is one of the largest buyers of insurance claims in the US. Their sourced products consist of retailer buybacks, closeouts, assets from bankruptcies, overstock items, liquidated goods, customer returns, and out-of-season merchandise. And they are able to offer these products to their customers at steeply discounted rates – up to 90% off regular retail prices.
Dirt Cheap has established a strong presence across multiple states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Tennessee. Their inventory evolves weekly and at times, even daily, ensuring an ever-changing assortment of merchandise to explore.
5. National Wholesale Liquidators
With just three convenient locations in New York and Philadelphia, National Wholesale Liquidators is a destination worth exploring. The store boasts an extensive selection, from household essentials to apparel and furniture. What sets them apart is their commitment to sourcing merchandise from a supplier base that’s significantly more local than your average Walmart.
National Wholesale Liquidators is a go-to destination for value-conscious shoppers. With a reputation for offering brand-name merchandise and closeout items at remarkably affordable prices, it’s a must-visit for all.
6. Big Box Outlet Store
For 18 years, Big Box Outlet Store has been a fixture in the Washington area, standing as the state’s top liquidation store. They specialize in finding deals ranging from brand-new, manufacturer-direct items to seasonal closeouts, refurbished goods, and open-box products.
At Big Box Outlet Store, you’ll discover various offerings, spanning tech, fashion, outdoor gear, hardware, kitchenware, furniture, and even groceries.
Their product inventory includes items falling into the ‘re-certified’ category, as well as first-line goods and out-of-season products. For added peace of mind, most of our products come with an in-store limited warranty, providing coverage for at least 30 days.
7. Bulldog Liquidators
Bulldog Liquidators, a retail liquidation store established in 2007, has its roots primarily in Southern California. Over the years, they’ve expanded their footprint to include additional locations nationwide, from Indiana and Massachusetts to New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.
Their mission is clear: to help people save substantially, with discounts ranging from 40% to 80% off retail prices, thus making high-end products accessible to everyone. They are able to do this by procuring surplus, overstock, and customer-returned merchandise from a range of industry leaders in the Retail Liquidation market. And before hitting our shelves, all products undergo rigorous inspection and testing to ensure they meet our quality standards.
Retail locations offer a diverse range of products, including but not limited to patio furniture, electronics, TVs and computer monitors, office supplies, cleaning products, toys, cosmetics, baby goods, automotive supplies, sporting goods, workout equipment, home essentials, and kitchen goods.
When it comes to the most seasoned players in the liquidation store market, Quicklotz stands out as the top choice. Offering a diverse range of pallet sizes and an extensive product catalog, Quicklotz provides a wealth of options for its customers. What sets Quicklotz apart is its ability to cater to small businesses and major retailers’ product needs.
For those with a substantial budget, Quicklotz offers a premium membership that unlocks exclusive deals and facilitates access to local pallets, ultimately leading to greater savings on delivery costs. It’s worth noting that Quicklotz has built a solid reputation as one of the most reliable and experienced liquidation companies in the industry, promising a trustworthy shopping experience for all.
9. Falling Prices
At Falling Prices, they offer a unique shopping experience where every item in the store is priced the same, and that price decreases each day until everything is sold. Their week begins with a store full of incredible inventory, and by week’s end, it’s completely cleared out, making way for a fresh assortment of fantastic items each week.
For example: On Tuesdays, all items are priced at $6.00, followed by a drop to $4.00 on Wednesdays, $2.00 on Thursdays, and so forth. The beauty of their stores lies in the ever-changing inventory. You might stumble upon electronics, small appliances, food items, baby products, pet supplies, automotive essentials, office supplies, home goods, paper products, cleaning supplies, small furniture, and much more
10. Last Chance Store
Last Chance Store specializes in procuring truckloads of overstocked merchandise, store returns, discontinued items, and more from prominent retailers nationwide, all bought in bulk. They consistently introduce approximately 100,000 new products into our store every week, resulting in a completely refreshed shopping experience every time you visit.
The store is like an adult treasure hunt, and you’ll want to secure your spot at the front of the line each week to enjoy the best discounts on premium items. They maintain a straightforward pricing policy, with one flat price daily, regardless of the product’s original value. However, the inventory is limited and operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. So, being among the first in line and visiting regularly ensures you access to the finest discounts and products.
The stores are worth visiting with convenient locations in California and Texas.
Benefits of shopping at liquidation stores
There are numerous benefits to shopping at liquidation stores. First and foremost, you can save a substantial amount of money. Liquidation stores often sell products at heavily discounted prices, allowing you to stretch your budget and get more for your money.
In addition to the cost savings, liquidation stores also provide a unique shopping experience. Unlike traditional retail stores, liquidation stores constantly receive new inventory, making each visit feel like a treasure hunt. You never know what you might find, which adds an element of excitement and surprise to the shopping experience.
Moreover, liquidation stores offer an opportunity to discover unique and hard-to-find items. Since their inventory comes from various sources, you may stumble upon discontinued or limited-edition products that are no longer available in regular stores. This can be especially appealing to collectors or individuals looking for one-of-a-kind pieces.
How do liquidation stores acquire their inventory?
Liquidation stores operate differently from traditional retailers. These stores purchase and acquire their inventory in a few different ways. Here are some notable ways and examples to help you understand how they work.
- Companies going out of business – Some liquidation stores work closely with financial institutions and insurance companies to get access to inventory. When companies are liquidated, the banks will often sell remaining inventories and turn them into cash. The liquidation store will buy the goods back and pass the savings on to the customer.
- Store Changes Ownership – When a store changes ownership, oftentimes, the new owners will choose to liquid items they no longer wish to sell. That’s where liquidation stores come in.
- Excess Inventory – When a retailer or manufacturer needs to clear out excess inventory or items in surplus, they turn to liquidation companies to handle the process. This is where liquidation stores get their inventory. These companies purchase the unsold items and items in excess in bulk, allowing the original sellers to recoup some losses. The liquidation companies then sort, categorize, and package the products for resale to liquidation stores.
- Discontinued and Clearance Items
- Salvaged Items – Salvaged items can include previously damaged, returned, or overstocked items from manufacturers, retailers, and insurance companies. Liquidation stores can purchase these items, salvage them, and resell them.
Tips for Shopping at a Liquidation Store
To make the most of your liquidation store shopping experience, here are some tips to help you uncover hidden treasures:
- Do your research: Before heading to a liquidation store, research the types of products they typically carry. This will give you an idea of what to expect and help you determine if the store fits your needs.
- Arrive early: Liquidation stores often receive new inventory on certain days of the week, so arriving early increases your chances of finding the best deals. Find out what those days are and get there before the crowds to pick the freshest items first.
- Inspect the merchandise: Since liquidation stores sell products that may have been damaged or returned, so it’s important to thoroughly inspect the items before purchasing. Check for defects or missing parts, and make sure the product is in working condition.
- Know your measurements – whether it’s clothing or building material, you need to know your measurements as return windows are short and in some cases non-existent.
- Get ready to dig to find stuff.
- Check the prices – It is important to check and compare the prices of the items found in a liquidation store. You can quickly check online to determine if you are getting the best price.
Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.