MILL HALL - Looking for a bargain? Let's be honest who isn't these days?
Now there's a new place to get the lowest prices on anything one can imagine... from office supplies to tools and hardware, clothing to groceries, books to electronics. For the cost-conscious consumer, a helpful haven of deals has just recently opened its doors in town.
The haven is Bargain$Mart, located at 2969 Eagle Valley Road, Mill Hall, in the Calico Creek Plaza. The new business opened its doors to the public on Saturday, Nov. 14 and has already become a hit with consumers. Nick Hubert, operations manager, said the store drew over 700 shoppers on its opening day and a steady stream has been frequenting the retailer.
BILL CROWELL/THE EXPRESS
A steady stream of customers has taken advantage of the low prices offered by the new Bargain$Mart, locarted at 2969 Eagle Valley Road, Mill Hall.
The store is one in a chain of stores, owned by Dave Merryman, a former Lock Haven resident who serves as the company's CEO and president; and Dave's wife, Lisa, serves as the company's CFO. Merryman, who already has a number of stores in Missouri and one in Kansas, stated he has long had the desire to open a store in the area.
"I really believe the customers in the area would appreciate a store where the prices are discounted heavily," Merryman said.
Providing discount prices for customers was only part of the motivation though, as Merryman's daugther, Ashley, will be serving as the store's general manager. Dave said his daughter trained for the past year at his store in Missouri before taking on the task of running her own store.
With those two factors combined, Dave Merryman stated he finally decided to open the store.
"I thought it would be the perfect opportunity (for Ashley)," Merryman said. "And, I've wanted to put one in for years."
While the store always has significant discounts and savings for consumers, Merryman said the nature of the business creates a variety of products moving into the store each week.
"Most of the time we have no knowledge of what we're getting. Every week there's different merchandise for us," Dave Merryman said. "We have no wholesale or distributor supplies. We won't pay wholesale prices because we can't provide a bargain for customers at the price."
The weekly change in product is part of the allure of the store.
"That's what the excitement is... seeing what's going on the shelves next," Merryman said. "The mystique of the store is your getting a bargain on whatever you buy."
Merryman said new product shipments will be sporadic at first as the company is still getting logisticis issues in order. However, Merryman said customers should not be discouraged if new products aren't arriving, as this will only be a brief issue for the store. And due to the ever-changing product lineup, Merryman advises customers, that if they see a product they want they should get it, because it might not be there again.
The store is currently staffed with three full-time employees and three part-time employees. The three full-time employees all have connections to the region, Hubert is from Snowshow, Ashley Merryman is finishing at Penn State University and Store Manager Twila Straub is from Jersey Shore. Other employees include Terri Parker, inventory manager; Jerry Merryman, maintenance; and Bobby Wise III, stocker.
Merryman said the Small Business Development Center played a mjor roll in the start-up planning and loan packaging for the business.
Merryman said he is hopeful that once the store really gets going that he and the company will be able to do outreach work with the community and he hopes to build a friendly relationship with area residents. Merryman himself, though now living in Missouri, said he still hunts in Clinton County and will be working in the store himself on Thanksgiving weekend.