Dollar Store Tips
Terms of Sale
Customer Spotlight: Big Dollar Stores
Les Tepper owns the chain of Big Dollar stores in the Chicago suburb of South Holland, a group of seven stores with four more opening this summer. We spoke to him recently about his experiences in the dollar store business.
“We opened the first store in 1997. I used to be in the apparel business. I have friends that used to own dollar stores and they furnished most of the expertise.”
“I like the merchandise aspect,” says Les, and attributes his success to keeping expenses low and “not grabbing every location that comes along, but making sure it's the right fit for us.” This involves visiting centers, spending time analyzing customer behavior and staying within his core demographics.
He started working with Kole Imports in 1998 on the basis of a referral. “They have been excellent and a pleasure to work with. We buy a range of products from them. Picture frames, party good and novelty items - pretty much everything. They come up with some great ideas and information.”
Tepper believes that “there is always going to be a demand for value products. People are always looking to save money. The basic core of the business is people coming in to see what they can get for a dollar.”
He also had praise for the way Kole manages to always have something interesting. “They seem to have a very broad selection of dollar store merchandise, and even though they're further away from us, it always seems to make sense to do business with them. We always get a good value and they're always reliable on their shipping. It's turned out to be a very solid relationship for us.”
His latest innovation has been $10 and under apparel. “We partnered with a company that handles family apparel and have opened stores together. You're going after the same customer, the same treasure hunt idea - just in a new arena.”
Main Street, Carson, CA 90745