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Liquidation store owners see a post-Sears opportunity

Cathy Dobson Sarnia’s newest liquidation store is a joint venture for three local men who have been friends since high school.
The owners of the new Bluewater Liquidation store, filling their shelves for this week’s opening, are, from left, Will Lopez, Kyle Deloof and Steve Palin. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Sarnia’s newest liquidation store is a joint venture for three local men who have been friends since high school.

Kyle Deloof, 34, owner of Davy Jones Quality Meats on Confederation Street, brings retail experience to the team and is responsible for embracing the concept.

“The owner of Norpac, a fellow I purchase meat from in Norwich, brought the opportunity to my attention,” said Deloof.

“He said he could supply someone in Sarnia with high-end, brand name products and he asked if I knew anyone who would open a store.”

The supplier gets returns, end-of-season and slightly damaged goods from major department stores.

“He already has three or four liquidation stores that he operates and wanted to open one himself in Sarnia but decided it was too far for him to drive,” said Deloof.

After careful consideration, Deloof approached Will Lopez, 34, and Steve Palin, 33, to go into a joint venture with him. The three have been buddies since attending St. Clair Secondary. Both Lopez and Palin work at jobs that free up time during the day, making them a good fit for retail hours. Lopez is a freight conductor and Palin a process operator.

“I think this kind of business will do really well,” said Lopez.  “I bought a house in June and had trouble finding good quality small appliances in Sarnia at a good price.

“I ended up shopping in Port Huron. There needs to be more in Sarnia.”

“We saw the writing on the wall for Sears,” added Palin. Sears is one of Sarnia’s few department stores and is expected to close within weeks.

“For us, the Sears closing is a big bonus.”

Added Deloof: “We can make decent money and, in turn, our customers can get some great deals.” Bluewater Liquidation opened this week on the west side of Northgate Plaza, near Dollarama.

The shelves are full of bargains with brand names selling for half of their original retail price or less.

For instance, a large Guess purse priced in a department store for $120 is selling for $60. A women’s Calvin Klein winter cost is marked down from $219 to $99.

There’s a variety of artificial Christmas trees that once had lights attached. The lights didn’t work so the trees ended up at Bluewater Liquidation. A seven-foot evergreen that was $600 is on sale for $80.

In the luggage section, a Samsonite hardshell carry-on that was formerly $325, is now $50.

“We have access to a lot of luggage so we’ll be selling it for more than 50% off and hope to sell a lot,” said Deloof.

The store also has bedding, winter boots, bar stools, ottomans, décor items and bathroom and kitchen accessories.

Each week, the partners intend to bring in new inventory.

Bluewater Liquidation at 500 Exmouth St. is holding a grand opening Nov. 18 with a barbecue.

Store hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Got a good business story?  Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.

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