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Shopping adventure awaits bargain hunters

Jodi Smith has opened the Value Bin Thrift Store on Highway 34 east, an ever-changing inventory geared to the season and customer needs. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Jodi Smith's thrift store has been a dream in the making for about seven years.

"I didn't have the spot or the finances," she said. But she had the backing of family members.

"One day your dream will come true," husband Brian encouraged her.

So she began researching options and building an inventory, heading to auctions and other sources to fill her Value Bin.

When her son, Mason, headed off to school, she determined the time had come. The tattered economy boded well for the venture.

Her sister, Kristine Juntunen of Menahga, lent a hand. And her father-in-law, Ken Smith, offered use of a shop on Highway 71 south, her initial location.

"But I couldn't draw the elderly," she said of Heartland city bus service, which operates within city limits. "I wanted to be in town."

This fall, Smith opened her shop on Highway 34 east, next to Northern Convenience.

Her initiative is well received. "It's going great," she reports.

The store holds clothing for all sizes - baby to adult - and miscellaneous. The ever-changing inventory includes furniture, movies, CDs, toys, purses, bedding and décor for every holiday - including kids' Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations.

"It's priced to what I would pay," she said.

Shopping at the Value Bin Thrift Store is a serendipitous adventure. Wednesday is Senior Citizen Day, with 20 percent reductions. And she discounts prices on "surprise" items as well. Books are often found at 20 percent off.

Smith accepts donations of items and will, in some instances, do in-store exchanges. Customers will be given a gift certificate for use in the store. She accepts only clean clothing without holes or stains. "And no broken zippers."

This has proven to be her drawing card. "My biggest compliment is people telling me it's workable," Smith said.

In some instances, she will buy the item. She posts items she's looking for at the store. Baby items have proven to be big sellers.

The store will be open through the winter, with hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.