Bargain buys in Final Clearance

Acacia District Councilmember Vicki Hunt inspects a child’s backpack with Final Clearance store owner Dan Thompson.

No big grand opening – yet. But business is apparently booming without all the fanfare.

Final Clearance, 8200 W. Peoria Ave., has been open since July 6. Owner Dan Thompson said 1,000 people walked through the door Aug. 6. That’s through the door of a renovated and decade-long vacant Albertson’s store.

Inside are items that once lined the shelves of major retail stores like Target, Macy’s and Sports Authority. Think of a store that sells camping gear, tents, tennis shoes and yoga pants, storage totes to small makeup kits and baby clothes.

Need a backpack without breaking the bank? It’s there.

How about an area rug? A big display hangs on racks in the back of the store.

There are even small, blow-up backyard pools on the west side of the building.

Whatever big stores are willing to sell at reduced prices, Thompson is ready to buy, but only if they are in brand-new condition. This is not a used-clothing outlet. What you will find are items major retailers are pulling from their stores to make way for the next season’s offerings.

Thompson is fairly new to the retail game. He started out as a technology employee, writing a software package for bigger stores to handle their returns.

“I couldn’t get the attention of big stores,” he said. “So, I opened a big outlet store to help them sell the big store returns.”

His first store was at 43rd Avenue and Camelback Road, where a Home Depot was formerly doing business. But Thompson was ready to move out of Phoenix, where, he said, retail leases are much higher.

He went to MetroCenter and looked at the old Shoe Pavilion store, but the 20,000 square feet lease was as much as the 60,000 square feet he now leases from the State Trailer owner, Ray Hult.

Thompson’s goal is to put a store on the West Coast – he considers the Peoria store part of that region – and another store on the East Coast, where major distribution is located.

One of his biggest sellers is school uniforms.

And one of his long-term goals is go forward on American-made apparel. He is a big proponent of Made in America.

Thompson hasn’t made up his mind when he will host a grand opening. But, he said he will continue his tradition of helping in the community with fundraisers.

“I’ve always done something for the community,” he said.

Aside from that, he also shares his experiences on Facebook, where, he said, Final Clearance has 20,000 followers. Follow him at Facebook.com/ThriftyLots.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Thompson said hours will be extended once he has hired more people. To learn more, call 623-979-3936.