On Wednesday I wrote about how you can use the internet to find some bargains. Today we’ll go native and shop local.
Scrounging for Gold
I do enjoy the vignettes on display in retailer showrooms to give me ideas, but for appliances, I’m more interested in the back room. “Open box,” “scratch and dent,” and “display model” are words that should prick up your ears. Dallas has several of these little-known appliance “speakeasys.”
Note: Be aware that most of these items will have a full new-product warranty – ask to be sure.
CandysDirt.com supporter Capital Distributing has their main showroom on Stemmons just north of Inwood, with a backroom outlet on 183 just south of Regal Row. You can find bargains on brands like Sub-Zero, Thermador, Gaggenau, Viking, Bosch and Wolf. Pay particular attention to Sub-Zero and Wolf – they almost never go on sale. The only way to find a deal is at places like this that sell display models, returns, and discontinued models. Get on their mailing list for special sales. Due to their relationships with manufacturers, they do not publish pricing online or provide it over the phone, so you’ll just have to stop by for a peek.
I discovered Elite Appliance when they were in a scrummy warehouse off Motor Medical District Drive and 35E. They’ve since moved to better digs on Alpha Road west of the Tollway and across from the old Great Indoors (now Sears Outlet). Their backroom (Designer Home Surplus) specializes in some pretty high-end appliances with a special fondness for Viking, but you’ll also find Bosch, Aga, Liebherr and many others. Their backroom moves so much merchandise, they’ve opened a warehouse around the corner at Simonton and Welch dedicated to bargains. I picked up a $7,500 Viking fridge for $2,500 because it was a last year’s display model (boo-hoo, right?). It came fully warrantied and has worked trouble-free for over five years so far.
As of this writing, I’m seeing a Viking Professional Premiere Series Double Oven VEDO5302TSS (above) with a list price of $7,469 being offered for $4,499 or 40 percent off.
Another deal shows a Viking Designer Series undercounter refrigerator drawers (Part# DURD144DSS) retailing for $3,899 on sale for $1,399 or 65 percent off.
Factory Builders Stores
Located in Grapevine and other Texas cities, Factory Builders Stores has a small backroom worth noting. Their website stinks because backroom merchandise is rarely updated, but a visit or a call may unlock a half-price Gaggenau wine fridge as it did for me. If you have a truck and gas to spare, a road trip to one of their other stores in Houston or Austin may net some bargains – obviously call ahead before a road trip. The store also sells kitchen cabinetry but customer service was spotty when I used them. They do offer delivery for local items.
Appliance bargains are about the only reason to visit Sears and Sears Outlets these days. The old Great Indoors on Alpha mentioned above is now an enormous outlet with a nice corner setup with mid-range appliances at cut rate prices. Unlike most other backrooms mentioned, there can be noticeable and significant damage to their goods. It’s important to check things out thoroughly before buying. Sears does a good job posting their inventory online, but it’s not perfect…call ahead if you’re looking for a specific item you’ve seen online. There are several Sears Outlets in the DFW area.
By scouring backrooms I was able to score $21,000 in tippy-top premium kitchen appliances for $12,000 – not much different than I’d have paid for Samsung at Lowes. There’s no reason you can’t too!
Work the Sale
When planning a renovation, understand your material needs and start asking about sales. Some items go on sale at certain times of the year. For example, look for cabinetry in the winter when no one is renovating and factories are idle. For me, this equated to a 30% discount off custom cabinets. Retailers will almost always offer a free sink base with a minimum order, but this really isn’t a lot. Generally the most expensive cabinet in a kitchen houses wall ovens. Negotiate.
Haggling isn’t something most Americans are comfortable with, but I find that email makes it easier to ask and gives the company time to work on an answer versus a blanket “no” when you’re standing in front of them. I ordered tile for my balcony and just before I placed the order I asked if there were any sales coming up. I was told there was and that they’d give me that discount even though the sale wasn’t “on” yet. In another instance the 40%-off discount items didn’t appeal to me but (of course) the full-priced items were. I asked when they’d go on sale and was offered the 40%-off price on the just-received merchandise.
1) Do your homework.
2) And you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (now that they’re legal in Texas)! firstname.lastname@example.org