REBECCA BARNETT | The Roanoke Times, November 14, 2012 Rodney Davis of Forest is CEO of Brand Name Liquidations. His company hosted a warehouse sale on Nov. 14 in Lynchburg.
Warehouse sales come in all varieties: furniture at the Grand Home Furnishings outlet in Roanoke, cosmetics and fragrances at the Elizabeth Arden warehouse in Roanoke and clothing and accessories at the J.Crew warehouse in Lynchburg. If you’re a fan of warehouse-style sales, you’ll be thrilled to hear about a new liquidation company based in nearby Lynchburg, Brand Name Liquidations (BNLIQ).
Rodney Davis of Forest previously worked with J.Crew on its warehouse sales in the area, but now he is CEO of BNLIQ.
Drawing from his past retail work, Davis and his business partner Jim Rufus, who also works in commercial real estate and with a company called Whole Sale Food Group, created BNLIQ to be the liaison between shoppers and companies that want to have sales. The website states that BNLIQ “liquidate overstocks, returns, samples, damages via warehouse and sample sales on your behalf, while ensuring your brand is protected.”
Brand protection is key for Davis. He aims to keep the integrity of a well-known brand while still hosting a sale with deep discounts. For this reason, the location of each sale will be a respectful distance from any wholesalers and shops who sell the brand in the area. Shoppers can expect many sales to be held locally, though.
Can pop up anywhere
From Nov. 9 through 18, Davis hosted a Vineyard Vines sale in the old Lowe’s location off of Timberlake Road in Lynchburg. This was an appropriate distance from retailers, like Alligator Alley in Roanoke, who sell Vineyard Vines products regularly. He has no interest in competing with retailers who are selling the merchandise full price.
“Typically I just rent an empty space and set up shop,” Davis explained. You never know where his next sale might pop up.
There’s also no set schedule for the sales, as it generally depends on the seasonality of the merchandise and how much a company has to offer. But there are times of year when you’re more likely to see the sales.
“Fall is a really good time because of college kids, which is another reason the Lynchburg area works,” he said. Lynchburg is home to Liberty University and Lynchburg College — full of potential shoppers.
Don’t expect BNLIQ to work only with large apparel companies, either. Davis said he has “a lot of irons in the fire,” but wasn’t ready to release any prospective clients. He is open to hosting a variety of sales, though.
“We will work with smaller companies to do online flash sales and other things,” he said. “If they don’t have a huge amount of inventory it’s not a problem, we can still work with it.”
Shoppers can sign up online to be notified of sales. So far the company has a database of close to 5,000 names. But the advertising for each sale will be different. Some clients are very brand oriented and prefer to advertise simply by word of mouth. If you’re trendy enough to know the brand, you’ll find out about the sale.
The savings at each sale can vary, but Davis said he would estimate most prices can be 75 percent to 80 percent off retail prices.
At the Vineyard Vines sale I attended, merchandise was an additional 40 percent off of the last marked price (which was usually at least 50 percent off). The sale had a very similar feel to J.Crew warehouse sales in Lynchburg, with merchandise set out in cardboard boxes or hung on racks. It’s definitely an atmosphere for the biggest of bargain hunters.
With a small laugh Davis said he can usually tell within a few seconds whether these sales are for customers who walk through the door.
Many shoppers at the Vineyard Vines sale were repeat customers and visited the sale numerous times.
Moms like Cami Wirt of Forest and Virginia Thornton of Lynchburg were shopping for their college-aged sons. And then there was Crystal Gerard of Charlottesville, who met Davis at one of his J.Crew sales and attends any sale he hosts.
Around lunchtime on Nov. 14, the women were all hovering around waiting for the next shipment to arrive — the boxes had been cleaned out of bowties.
“He runs a really great sale,” Gerard said. “It’s just fabulous. People love the bowties.”
Davis and Gerard both cautioned shoppers to dress appropriately and come prepared. There are no dressing rooms at warehouse liquidation sales, so many women opt for form-fitting workout apparel or leggings that clothing can be slipped over. With most companies only offering purchases as final sale (no returns or exchanges), it’s important to know the fit before you buy. Bringing snacks and water is also important.
Davis also warned that shoppers should be prepared to spend some time at the sale.
“It’s almost like a treasure hunt,” he said.
The next sale hosted by BNLIQ will be Moore & Giles, a leather company based out of Lynchburg. This sale will be held on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1081 Tannery Row in Forest.
For more information about BNLIQ and to sign up for the company’s mailing list, visit www.bnliq.com.