Behind the Scenes at the Bargain Center
Maybe you’ve shopped the Ministry Village Bargain Center. Maybe you’ve even donated to it. But have you ever wondered how all those items get sorted, organized, priced and ready for sale? Or what happens to the items that don’t sell after a few weeks? We decided to find out what happens behind the scenes at the Bargain Center.
The Ministry Village Bargain Center serves our community by offering gently used, high-quality merchandise at bargain center prices for the purpose of generating financial support for the Ministry Village at Olive programs and providing assistance to the community. Located near the intersection of Davis Highway and Fairfield Drive, the 12,000 square foot facility is easily accessible from Exit 4 of Interstate I-110. 100% of the net profits of the MV Bargain Center support the Ministry Village programs.
A dedicated team of 8 employees works at the Bargain Center and strives to reflect the love of Christ in all that they do. With thousands of items to inventory and manage each week, they also rely on a faithful group of volunteers. A group of 11 community volunteers plus the ladies from the Charis House work more than 780 hours each month to tackle all of the tasks associated with turning the donations into sellable items. When items are donated to the Bargain Center, they are sorted into categories: children’s items, hard goods (like kitchen items, knick knacks, picture frames, etc.), and books. Clothing items, shoes and accessories are sorted into categories like you would find at any clothing store – men’s, women’s, children’s – and by type of clothing – tops, bottoms, etc.
Items that fall into the hard goods category are cleaned and priced for sale. Clothing items are inspected, put on hangers and priced. All items are also color-coded so the Bargain Center staff will know how long an item has been on the sales floor. The BC regularly runs sales on specific color tags, so by watching their Facebook page, you can score even better deals! Once the items are priced, they are moved to the sales floor in their appropriate department. Any items that are deemed not fit for the sales floor go straight to the warehouse — a hidden gem at the Bargain Center where the savviest shoppers can find some of the best deals in town. “We tell our customers that shopping the warehouse is more like a shopping a yard sale,” says Julie Paden, Manager of the Ministry Village Bargain Center. “Items in the warehouse are priced to move quickly.”
Merchandise on the main sales floor has a lifespan around 8 weeks. The color-coded system helps the staff know when items were put out, and when they need to be rotated off the floor. Hard good items that do not sell during their 8 weeks on the floor are moved to the warehouse where they are deeply discounted. Any clothing items that do not sell in 8 weeks are purchased in large bins by Teen Challenge, a local addiction recovery program. Teen Challenge bales the items and ships them to Guatemala where the fabric is repurposed into blankets, rags and other items of clothing.
Julie remembers one of the most unusual items she ever saw come through the store — a remote-controlled Radar Robot from 1960, in its original box. “It is very rare to have such an old toy, and its box too. It was awesome!” Several local organizations and businesses donate items regularly to the Bargain Center, including the US Navy and Azalea Trace Nursing Home. “We regularly get calls from estate sales as well — people looking to donate whatever didn’t sell.”
Shoppers come into the Bargain Center looking for a wide-range of items, but some of the most sought-after items are medical scrubs, small kitchen appliances and Christmas items. Julie said the Bargain Center is regularly in need of donations of men’s and boys clothing in good condition. “We just don’t get a lot of donations in those two categories. I’d love to be able to offer more in those departments.”
Julie credits her team of volunteers for making the Bargain Center run smoothly. “We love being able to offer great items at fantastic prices at the Bargain Center. The hard work our volunteers devote to us each week helps to make that possible.” Julie and Ministry Village at Olive would like to thank team of Bargain Center volunteers for their dedication and hard work – Sarah and Jerry Bennett, Shirley Hamm, Judy Elston, Rhoda Simkins, Kathy Clements, Margie Adkison, Anita Butler, Laura Wiley, Charlotte Anderson and Audrey Salter.
Here are a few ways you can help the Ministry Village Bargain Center & Ministry Village at Olive.
Donations of gently used goods are accepted Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday 9 AM to 6 PM. All proceeds are used to fund the work of the various Ministry Village programs. Ask your friends and neighbors for their donations so you can deliver them to the Bargain Center!
🗣Spread the Word!
Tell friends and neighbors who might not know about the Bargain Center the kinds of things we have to offer…which is a little bit of everything! Encourage others to shop with us, or organize a shopping date with a few friends and make the Bargain Center one of your stops!
Volunteers are needed to accept donated items at the warehouse, sort items, organize items for sale and/or work on the sales floor.
Contact Julie Paden at (850) 912-8222 (JPaden@mvbargaincenter.com) for more information about serving through the Ministry Village Bargain Center.