Would you furnish or decorate your home with dollar store finds? Well, if holiday shopping at dollar stores this past holiday season were any indication, you would.
Shoppers ranked dollar stores as their favorite place to shop, behind online shopping. That means that plenty of Americans are going to continue to shop at dollar stores locations—including for home decor—well into 2012.
A recent Time Magazine article outlined the fact that the country's top three dollar stores—Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar—are all seeing an uptick in shoppers who are continuing to shop in their local dollar store locations. That article noted that one of the attractions of shopping in a dollar store was affordable home decor that actually looks like something you would want in your home.
That's because in many instances the folks working behind the scenes at dollar store companies are working to improve the quality of the products they offer there. I learned this when I attended a Family Dollar holiday shopping event in December at which I got to meet and speak with buyers in the food, toys, and home decor areas of the store. All talked about the importance of working with their suppliers to ensure that what they are selling is comparable to what someone might find in another retailer but at a lower cost.
As far as home decor goes, Donna Barker, vice president of merchandising at Family Dollar, displayed a number of items that have been hot sellers at Family Dollar. "Our fastest growing category is wall decor," Barker told me. And the wall decor that I saw in the store wasn't yard sale quality. There were framed prints, upscale look clocks, and prints on canvas that you would find in another department store. Again, the biggest difference was price, but the quality, as far as I could tell, was comparable to what you might find at JC Penney or Sears. "Nowadays these retailers are more likely to be selling products of decent quality made with real glass or stainless steel, not just the cheap, chintzy plastic of yore," the Time Magazine article explained.
In fact, at that event, which was held in an actual Family Dollar store, we had time to shop around the store. I ended up picking up two green ceramic desk lamps, with shades, for $12 total. I thought was a steal. Back home they look perfect in my home office, though I need to buy some tiny lightbulbs to use in the lamps since regular sized bulbs stick out of the top of the lamp shade.
Here's another steal I discovered in Family Dollar but not quite related to home decor—cookies. That is, if you like Girl Scout cookies but don't like paying the high price for Girl Scout cookies—I'm talking about the price-per-box of Girl Scout cookies, not what eating them could potentially do to your hips and thighs—you must check out the coconut caramel cookies from Family Dollar's Family Gourmet line. They taste just like the Girl Scout cookies called Samoas or Caramel Delights, but they cost only $1.55 per box. With Girl Scout cookies costing between $3.50 and $4 per box, based on where you live, that's a significant savings for a similar sweet! And that's a perfect example of how it is possible to save big when shopping for certain items at a dollar store.