As retailers struggle with online competitors, some discount stores thrive

     Since Michelle White opened the doors to Salvage World in the Sherwood South Shopping Center last October, business has been going well for the discount retailer.

    Salvage World makes its mark specializing in furniture, construction supplies and reselling merchandise that was returned after being sold elsewhere. Likening the business to an “upscale garage sale,” White says they don’t feel pressured to be located in new buildings in up-and-coming parts of town—which helps keeps rent costs down.

    “While the traditional brick and mortar retail stores seem to be struggling in this era of internet sales and high real estate costs, the discount stores like mine seem to only work in a brick-and-mortar setting,” say White, who hopes to eventually open stores in Lafayette and New Orleans. “A brick and mortar location is the only way to showcase the varied inventory that we receive. It is almost like a treasure hunt for our customers because you can’t just get online and know exactly what we have in stock.”

    At 20,000 square feet, White’s Baton Rouge store is roughly half the size of the 40,000- and 60,000-square-foot Salvage World locations in Mississippi and Alabama. Her success, however, has her considering either finding a larger location or splitting the furniture and construction supplies inventory into two separate locations, enabling an increase in inventory.

    Founded by her father and sister a decade ago, White says she’s seen the company’s business model work with their seven Mississippi and Alabama stores, so she quit her job as an architect to open the Baton Rouge store in October at the intersection of Sherwood Forest Boulevard and Old Hammond Highway.

     

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