FORTUNE — Twice a year E.J. Strelitz’s aggregation buys up artist showrooms from High Point Bazaar in North Carolina, the appliance industry’s monster barter show, and brings them — forth with added accoutrement from beyond the country — to a abode alleged The Dump.
It’s a analytical name for a civic alternation that trades in above activity purchases — that Italian covering sectional, that hand-knotted rug by Calvin Klein. But in a appliance industry clobbered in contempo years both by the acceleration of imports and the Great Recession, The Dump’s done able-bodied by its strategy: affairs discounted-designer appliance in sprawling food that are accessible aloof three canicule a week.
“Ironically, we absolutely flash in higher-end goods,” says CEO Strelitz, who consistently touts half-off prices big-ticket items.
Strelitz’s sales accept climbed from $20 actor in 2002 to a projected $250 actor this year. The company’s eleventh breadth in Lombard, Ill., aloof alfresco Chicago, acclaimed its admirable aperture this weekend in a 134,000-square bottom abundance housed in a above Sears Great Indoors.
The Dump is a analysis of Virginia-based Haynes Furniture, a retail accouterments that Strelitz’s ancestors has endemic back 1930 (he’s a third-generation executive). In the mid-1980s Haynes was analytic for a “growth concept,” Strelitz says.
They begin one by borer into an absolute vein: the appliance that retailers, like themselves, and manufacturers artlessly charge to get rid of — whether because a abundance has to accomplish allowance for beginning merchandise, or because a appliance maker produced too abounding pieces, or is closing out a artefact line, or because a appliance aggregation files for bankruptcy.
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“Historically we’ve not had a actual able way to buy this and advertise it to consumers,” explains industry analyst Jerry Epperson, a managing administrator at Mann, Armistead & Epperson in Richmond, Va. He says Strelitz was one of the aboriginal merchants to admit and capitalize on that reality, affairs close-outs and overstock “opportunistically” and accepting barter aflame about the affairs of deals.
In branding this concept, the name “The Dump” batten to Strelitz — as in, a armpit breadth retailers and manufacturers could dump their old goods. “We anticipation it was affectionate of cool,” he says.
So in 1986 the Dump debuted in Norfolk, Va., about a approval centermost for Haynes. Located in a above grocery barn — it alike independent a set of alternation advance — Strelitz concedes that their aboriginal abundance “wasn’t abundant to attending at.”
Additional food accept back followed in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and now Illinois. Always, Strelitz opts to barrage one “super-regional” location, rather than assorted abate shops, accessible Friday through Sunday: prime controlling time for “lifestyle” purchases.
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The agenda allows affluence of time for replenishing the attic in amid high-volume sales days. Sales associates, in turn, are fatigued to the bunched schedule, and the abeyant to acquire up to $75,000 a year, based on commissions.
Over the years, The Dump’s aftertaste in absolute acreage has evolved. “We’re no best absorbed in bare absolute acreage in B or C locations,” Strelitz says. In 2010, for example, The Dump took up abode in The Home Depot’s (HD) bequest breadth in Atlanta’s flush Buckhead neighborhood. That aforementioned year, The Dump opened in what was already a Costco Home (COST) beginning in Tempe, Ariz.
“We’re abundant added captious than we acclimated to be,” Strelitz adds.
Indeed, it took several years for Strelitz to achieve on his ideal atom in the Chicago area, one of the top three U.S. markets for appliance sales, alongside New York and Los Angeles. He started aloof backdrop there in 2009 but absitively the bread-and-er altitude wasn’t appropriate yet.
Yet in 2012, Sears Holdings (SHLD) appear the cease of its Great Indoors chain, and the Lombard breadth affronted Strelitz’s interest. Poised aloof west of the Windy City, at the capital of several interstates, the abundance sits “right in the center, from our perspective, of the Chicagoland burghal market.”
Now he has to assemblage barter afresh to appear cruise for high-end bargains. The Dump’s Labor Day “sneak preview” aperture drew added than 10,000 customers, according to Strelitz.
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But his company’s connected advance doesn’t stop him from annoying about “the bind with the name.” Will it alienate the higher-income buyers The Dump seeks? To this day, aggregation management, which includes Strelitz’s wife Randi, an controlling carnality president, argues about the appropriate access to advertising.
This month, for instance, The Dump is rolling out a alternation of tongue-in-cheek commercials featuring a brace of hippies in one, and nudists in another, advertent a appliance run.
A third TV spot, which has aired in a scattering of markets, stars an aged woman, coiffed in pearls. As she snips blooms from a rose backcountry she sniffs, pointedly, “Paying retail is for suckers.” It seems Strelitz has already accurate his case.
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