Bargain Hunting at the City Store

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Some of the amazing, ahem, finds at the City Store
I'm on a tight budget -- but, right, who isn't? So when my boyfriend suggested we check out the inventory of police-confiscated property for sale at a nearby warehouse, I jumped at the opportunity.

The City Store, located off Stemmons Freeway on Irving Boulevard, sells seized property, lost junk and city surplus goods to the public on Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. We arrived just after 8 a.m., and I was positive the really good stuff had already been snatched up. But this isn't Macy's the day after Thanksgiving.  And inside, there are some finds -- but, mostly, it's junk, as you can see in our thrifty slide show.

The trick with the City Store is to get there early. Anything that's worth a damn will be gone in an hour. My boyfriend and I found decent bikes for $15 and $40. And don't forget to walk through the store to the back warehouse. That's where you'll find mostly usable exercise equipment (a $200 treadmill), ripped-out cubicle desks ($25), retro office chairs ($5) and a whole load of Dell computers ($35 each) and monitors ($5 each). The computers and monitors were gone by 9 a.m., after a businessman from Nigeria bought them all to ship to schools there. So he said ...

Says manager Gloria McNac when asked who shops at the City Store: "Man, it's all kinds of people come through. Normal citizens."

Then we were off to the new HotelLiquidation.com store at 1505 Oak Lawn Avenue.

For almost 20 years they've bought and sold furniture from hotels that are either remodeling or going out of business. Budget hotels usually buy the tossed furniture from more upscale hotels for their own remodeling plans.

But on January 1 the company decided to expand into the retail business. They have the various items from hotels arranged in showrooms; the place looks like any other furniture store. They sell armoires from the Westin, Sheraton and so forth (from $99 to $750), disinfected mattresses, sofas ($125) and those bland floral hotel paintings ($40).  

So, manager Lisa Vance, what do you tell people who are interested in bringing a black light to check the sofas for, well, you know what?  "I would think that those wouldn't be the people down here shopping."

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