GARRETT — When Michael Baker learned he needed to relocate his retail business from the Westedge Mall in Auburn earlier this year, finding a suitable new location in a short period of time was not very promising.
Just when he was about to give up, Becky Hefty, a customer at his Auburn General Discount Store, mentioned she was leasing her open building in Garrett that once housed Tri-County Land Surveying at 114 N. Cowen St.
“She is literally my hero,” Baker said of Hefty.
Baker and the rest of the tenants inside the mall, which was built in 1972, was forced to relocate after the sale of the property by Burt and Elise Dickman’s Trust.
The building was purchased by PB Development who looks to develop the property with an announcement on Thursday during a Key Turnover celebration at the mall.
In attendance will be members from the Allied Commercial Real Estate team, staff from Michael Kinder & Sons, Auburn Mayor Mike Ley, representatives of the Dickman family and representatives from the DeKalb Chamber Partnership. The community is invited to attend the celebration.
Within a week, Baker moved the entire inventory from the Auburn location where he has operated for the past 15 months to the newly-named Baker’s General Discount Store in Garrett. The business opened in its new location Sept. 2.
Since then, business has been booming, according to Baker. The store offers people items they might need — or they might want — at a considerable markdown and items are literally flying out the door. Customers sometimes return later in the day to find the items they want to have been sold in a few hours.
Whether you need a Halloween costume, bedding, phone accessories — it’s probably on the shelf at the discount store. Currently, the store is stocked with fall and holiday items, but they are going fast with items priced up to 50% off retail, or more. Christmas items are now on display.
Other savings include high-end bedding that retail at $60 offered at $13, packages of licensed party napkins at 50 cents, nail polish and lipsticks at 50 cents apiece, iPhone accessories, OTC drug store items and bulk cleaning products, books, crayons, and other school supplies.
Each day offers a new inventory due to product availability. Baker loads up in his van two to three times a week with merchandise from a liquidator in Indianapolis.
“It’s like playing the lottery,” he said of opening the unmarked pallets of boxes storing name-brand merchandise from Bath and Body Works, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Dollar General, among others.
Similar to buying the contents of a storage unit, a $20 skid sometimes results in a jackpot of $3,000 worth of merchandise, while just the opposite can also happen.
All items, anything and everything, are guaranteed, Baker said. New items are literally added daily from inventory stored offsite.
“I’m not trying to get rich, just trying to make a living,” he said. “My goal is to stretch your dollar further.”
People can also shop from his Facebook page — Mike Auburn Seller Baker and place orders for pickup.
Baker’s General Discount Store accepts debit and credit cards, and cash. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the first Sunday of the month from noon to 5 p.m.