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Posted on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

Ollie's Bargain Outlet to open this week in Ypsilanti Township

By Lizzy Alfs


A shopper checks out the baking pans in the kitchen aisle at Ollie's Bargain Outlet in Oakwood, Ohio.

Chris Stephens/

Discount retail chain Ollie’s Bargain Outlet plans to open its first Washtenaw County store this week.

The 36,000-square-foot store in Ypsilanti Township’s Roundtree Plaza shopping center is set to open at 9 a.m. July 31. Ollie’s is located at 2375 Ellsworth Road, east of the Walmart store.

“It’s right in the same center as the Walmart is, it’s a busy road, and there are other good tenants in the shopping center,” said Jerry Altland, Ollie’s vice president of real estate. A space formerly occupied by both Busch’s Fresh Food Market and Sheena’s Marketplace.

Altland said the space has been renovated and the company hired 45 to 55 employees to staff the store.

The warehouse-style Ollie’s Bargain Outlet stores typically display inventory on pallets and moveable fixtures, with caricatures and quirky signage separating the store into 19 categories. Departments include hardware, books and stationery, carpet, domestics, food, toys and seasonal goods.

“We’re in the bargain business and we’re in the name-brand business,” Altland said. “We love buying name brands.”

The Pennsylvania-based retail chain operates more than 140 stores in 13 states, with plans to open about 20 to 30 stores per year, according to its website. A store in Lansing also opens on July 31.

“We’re focusing on the east side of Michigan today — the Detroit area and its surrounding communities,” Altland said. “That makes some sense, it’s a good population up there. Next year, I don’t know what we’ll do yet in the state of Michigan. We’ll probably open a couple stores.”

Altland said the chain expects some crossover traffic with the Walmart located in the same center, but he called Ollie’s its own “destination store.”

To celebrate the opening of the Ypsilanti Township store, Ollie’s will have NASCAR driver Jeff Burton on-site at 10 a.m. July 31 to meet with fans and customers. Beginning at 7:30 a.m. on opening day, Ollie’s will hand out 250 tickets to people who will be able to meet Burton.

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Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


sandie schulze

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

And we can go to Big Lot on the same shopping trip!


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 4:09 a.m.

Fabulous place for popular hard-cover and paperback children's books, activity pads, coloring books, etc. Very low prices on all books -- less expensive than TJ Maxx and Marshalls with a larger selection, and better prices on kids' hardcovers than even Amazon. Lots of name-brand kitchen supplies (I saw Kitchen Aid and Cuisinart), laundry (Tide and other name brands) and other cleaning products, hardware, etc. The one I was in was well-organized and clean. Definitely worth a visit.

Julia Herbst

Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

My family loves this store, and the book section is one of my favs, especially for childrens books. Weve been traveling to the one in Fremont or Sandusky Ohio for a while, and then they put one in Monroe, and one in Taylor, then Westland, and now FINALLY Ypsi. My dad likes to crack a joke and say its because he always told them to put one in Ypsi, so he thinks he made em do it. Looking forawrd to having such a great store so close to home


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

Will there be a guarded parking area?

Basic Bob

Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 3:07 a.m.

Yes, as long as you bring your own guard.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

Why should there be ? are you going along the the lines of Lake Trout ?

Patricia Briggs

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

We were there shortly after 10, lots of people coming out of the store with their 'treasurers', little did we know that Jeff Burton was in the store giving our autographs. My nephew spotted the book area, MANy GOOD deals from many many categories. He got 3 hard backed books. Check them out.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

I love Ollies! It kind of reminds me of the old Arlan's Department Store in Westgate when it first opened. Cheap stuff and a cheap "fragrance" about the store. I'll admit though, they Do have great prices on overruns!


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

tdw, Westgate is on the west side of Ann Arbor near where Huron turns into Jackson and Stadium turns into Maple. (It's in Lake Trout's neighborhood.)

Ann English

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

justcurious, You're jogging my memory. Arlan's had a snack bar at one end. Then a store named Rink's took its place. Then one named Old World. Then True Value Hardware. TJ Maxx and Learning Express.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

Is Westgate in Westland ? if so I remember those bird cages full of parakeets


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

I remember Arlans....and then it became that craft mall...


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Too far away for us but I wish them well.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

I will check it out!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Whenever I see a claim of "good stuff cheap", I wonder how they can offer such reduced rates. I'm wondering if they are able to do that like Walmart does; on the backs of the workers. Is there any info as to what pay and benefits are offered and how many of their folks are full time?

Basic Bob

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

they buy stuff that might otherwise end up in a landfill. it would be too expensive to ship it back to the third world so they sell it to ollie for next to nothing.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Ignatz.....They buy things that have not been sold ( overstock ) .In general, the items are models that have been replaced by newer models or ones that have been discontinued BTW....I've asked a few Walmart employees about their jobs and they mostly have said that it's not the best job they've had but not the worst.You can't have a discount business and offer benefits like GM or Ford.No one is forced to accept any job,they take it on their own free will

Lake Trout

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Thisis a truly unfortunate choice of location for this store. I stopped going to that shopping center /area years ago. Walmat is filthy, the whole area is run down and the crime rate is very high. Purse snatching, carjackings and robberies are a common event. I wish them luck, but won't be getting any business from me or many I know who feel the same way I do.


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

Seems like Lake Trout doesn't go anywhere. That's no way to live life.

Ann English

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:52 p.m.

Arieswoman, Maybe Walmart cleaned itself up, and keeps clean today, since it sells fresh produce.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

YpsiLivin...I'm thinking there may be some insecure feelings there.Insecure people often resort to downright lies to make themselves feel better


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

YpsiLivin....I've been in that area for 50 yrs.I'm gonna say " all of the above "


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

tdw, From Lake Trout's recent commentary: 6/12: "I stopped going downtown after parking costs skyrocketed and didn't feel safe anymore." 6/26: "Well tdw, I stopped going there years ago because the service and food are terrible." 7/31: " I stopped going to that shopping center /area years ago." My favorite? 6/12: "How about you visit the area some time instead of talking about something you obviously have no knowledge of. "


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

Lake Trout, Since you stopped coming to this area years ago, how would you know any of what you're saying is true? I've lived in this area for 20 years, and never once in that time have I ever seen anything that makes me think of my neighborhood as either run-down or crime-ridden. At least one of three things is going on here: A. You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about B. You have an axe to grind C. You're trolling. Since you seem to think that purse snatchings, carjackings and robberies are the norm out here in Mad Max Estates, you're more than welcome to stay home. We'll all probably be happier that way.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

WalMart is really a clean store now. What are you talking about?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

I don't shop at Walmart unless forced to, been in that store once years ago and it is not like the new ones, you are correct. The rest of your post is non-sense, you sound like a mark to me.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Lake Trout......You are flat out lying.Not a single thing you said is true not one.Do you have finical interests in another plaza ?

sandie schulze

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

My daughter lived in PA and I enjoyed shopping at Ollies. Never know what you are going to find. The stores are not well organized, so keep that in mind-it's also part of the fun. This store is very close to Big Lot, so will be great for folks who like to shop at a store that can be full of surprises.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

If anyone goes, I would love to hear the report. I'm always seeking inexpensive school supplies for a group of kids who desperately need them. If I make it out today, I'll post something on what I find.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

When I went to Canton high ages ago, our school supply store was the cheapest around. Was told the gov. subsidize it and why prices were so cheap.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

Arieswoman: Many office supply stores offer basic supplies for free after rebate or close to free. I haven't bought a ream of paper in years - Staples always has them free after rebate or after rewards. Pay attention to the ads and you'll save a lot of money on office supplies.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

I went there this morning and I was about the first into the store. Yes, they have school/office supplies. I purchased a ream of copy paper. It has about everything. Good prices on groceries too. I like the store very much and will go back when things settle down! Very busy this morning.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Yes, please do report back and let us know. I'm curious.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

Never been in one of these stores. Looks like it's worth checking out!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

They got a bit of everything, whatever they can get cheap. Just check the dates on the food items

Boo Radley

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

Does this company have any connection with the old Ollie Fretter's electronics and appliance stores that were big in this area back in the '70s? The "I'll give you five pounds of coffee if I can't beat your best deal" Ollie?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

No relationship between them. This Ollie's was started by a gentleman in Pennsylvania.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

I remember that.That advertisement was during the coffee shortage


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

I am looking forward to it. I am sure it will be cleaner and nicer that Big Lots next door! That store is messy and boxes in the aisles. Not a pleasant shopping experience.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Staff cost $ and the costs are passed on down to the buyers. You want neat, shop at Target


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

Let the snob attacks begin....


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Lake Trout, I live in that area and I have no idea what you're talking about. Very little happens there.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5 p.m.

Oh..... Lake Trout no you don't I live in that area and keep tabs in my area nuf said

Lake Trout

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

Oh but tdw I really do know what I am talking about and anyone who lives in that area knows as well. The statistics are in, just check with Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township for their crime records...nuf said.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Lake Trout....let me add that myself my mother and many friends have been there literally thousands if not tens of thousands of times since that whole striped opened and never had a single problem.You should know what you are talking about before you speak


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Lake it isn't you are either misinformed or just talking about something you know nothing of

Lake Trout

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

Nothing to do with snobbery - that area is known for high crime rates and I just don't need that. Many other places to go that are safe for shoppers.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

Because it is in Ypsi Township, they surely will begin ! If this was located in Arborland it would be the best thing since sliced bread and canned beer!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

Got an ad for them in the mail on Monday with the other circulars. Poorly laid out, hard to read, cheap looking.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

Yeah but the one in Farmington has some super buys. Can't have everything.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

A2...Ok fine I'll go with that.But just re read my second sentence.Now, being a marketing expert, you know the costs of good advertising


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

tdw: Yes, I am a Marketing professional. Wasn't an issue of not being shiny or on fancy paper. Tiny type, poorly laid out, hard to read. Amateurish comes to mind.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Then stay in Ann Arbor and hit Macy's!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

That is sort of their gimmick...quirky Its a fun store, fairly random but mostly name-brand stuff


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

A2....are you a marketing professional ? Its a overstock discount store.Do you even have a clue of the costs of those shinny multi colored advertisements ?