Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opens in Albany
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is known for setting up shop in vacant buildings. Here in Albany, they’ve moved into the old Toys R Us building.
A crowd of people were seen on Wednesday waiting to get into Ollie’s.
The prices range from $1.00 to $5.00 for items, which aligns with their slogan “Good Stuff Cheap.”
“I’ve shopped at Ollies’ stores before at different locations, and when I heard they were opening one here, I got really excited. I needed to come here to get some household things that are very reasonable, and some items for my grandson who is in college,” said Cassie Hale, an Albany resident and Ollie’s shopper.
Ollies will not only offer customers ways to save but will offer a service for more retail shopping in northwest Albany.
“What we look for are areas that have been vacant for a while or buildings that have been open for a little while in a well-populated area. The location that we’ve got here in Albany is fantastic. Right next to the mall and we there are lots of other retail organizations,” said Tom Sizemore, Ollie’s district team leader.
One resident says in the past, she has had to travel to other locations to get hot commodity items that you may not find elsewhere.
“I’ve been wanting an Ollie’s in Albany for like five-six years now. I’ve been going to Tifton, Cordele, Thomasville. So, it’s great to have one in Albany, Georgia, where we reside at,” said Qwajalien May, Albany resident and Ollie’s shopper.
Sizemore tells WALB that they have received tremendous support already with lines out the door. They say they have a business plan to stay successful and relevant, despite the closures of other stores in Albany.
“Basically what keeps people coming is deals. That’s what we are known for. We find products that either the packaging is changing, or that other retailers no longer want to carry. We get it at very low prices, and we are able to present name brand products to our customers at up to sometimes 70% off what they would find it at what we call big box stores,” said Sizemore.
15% of workers in Albany are in retail, according to the city’s five-year consolidated plan. And with Ollie’s bringing at least 50-60 new jobs to the area, residents now have another option for work and play.
Sizemore says that what keeps the customers coming back are the deals and the clean environment for customers to shop.
“So excited to be here today. Albany, what a great town the foot traffic today. The welcome by the customer is more than we could have ever hoped for. We counted well over 200 people waiting in line to get in the doors for the first time at 9 a.m. this morning,” He said.
WALB reached out to the Albany-Dougherty County Economic Development Commission as well as the Albany Chamber of Commerce about how Ollie’s fits into a larger forecast of retailers in the area. They haven’t gotten back to me. However, the city’s five-year consolidated plan notes that, “Many large corporations have left the city over the last 30 years. Many smaller businesses did not survive the pandemic. Programs are necessary for those businesses to restart.”
Sizemore says he is happy to be part of a positive trend when it comes to filling vacant buildings in Albany and keeping shoppers closer to home.
“It’s definitely self-gratifying to know that we can close those gaps and that we have a loyal customer base that is willing to drive 35-45 minutes away. And now, they can drive 10-15 minutes to their local Ollie’s here in Albany, Georgia.”
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