Here Today Looks to Reinvent Discount Shopping

Discussion
Nov 18, 2013

Combining value pricing with a high-end shopping experience, Here Today, a new discount concept from the former top executives at Save-A-Lot, Grandpa’s and Deals, opened its first door in early November in Florissant, MO.

The 15,000 to 20,000 square-foot concept will sell a range of merchandise, from home decor to electronics to grocery items.

"It’s difficult to describe because it really isn’t like anything else," Bill Shaner, one of the investors and a former CEO of Save-A-Lot, told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "If you take a combination of a Trader Joe’s, a HomeGoods and a Five Below and mesh them all together — put them in a pot and stir them up — that’s Here Today."

The name, Here Today, underscores how the concept will particularly play up the treasure hunt experience, much like Costco. The mix will be helped by a focus on opportunistic buys, whether closeouts, overstocks, seconds or expiring products.

"You can visit the store every week and find new stuff," Tom Holley, another partner in the project, told the St. Louis Business Journal. Holley formerly ran Grandpa’s, a chain of discount stores in the St. Louis region, and founded Deals Nothing Over a Dollar.

The concept also promises "fun" in more of a boutique format rather than the "over-jammed racks and dingy stores offering ‘bargains’ that turn out to be cheaper online," according to its marketing copy.

Here Today promises a contemporary, bright environment with eight key zones or "shops-in-shops." Identified by massive signs, the zones include Savor (food, beverage & wine), Chill (frozen/refrigerated), Play (pets) and Imagine (home decor). Free coffee is another perk.

Initial plans call for the opening of five to 10 more stores in the next two years in the St. Louis area.

Jason Long, owner of Shift Marketing Group, sees opportunities to elevate the discount shopping experience above the dollar store and other discount chains.

"If you look at what Five Below has done, they took what seemed like an old, tired concept and really spruced it up a little bit," Mr. Long said. "Dollar stores are pretty no-frills. So if you can take that model and ‘Trader Joe’s’ it up a little bit, I think there’s something there."

What do you think of the potential for the Here Today discount shopping concept? What will be the keys to its ultimate success or failure?

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7 Comments on "Here Today Looks to Reinvent Discount Shopping"


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Ian Percy
Guest
8 years 6 months ago

In every industry there’s a Holy Grail. Unfortunately most Holy Grails are hidden in the smog of disbelief, skepticism and nay-sayers. Take the Holy Grail of everyone having good affordable health care for example or the one closest to my interests right now…fault-free software performance. It’s almost like we’re conditioned to fear the wonderful, the perfect, the truly helpful, the ideal. Like Marianne Williamson wrote: ‘what we fear most is that we are powerful beyond measure’ in reference to the Holy Grail of our Self.

Bargain priced high quality goods in an appealing and energetic shopping environment may be the Holy Grail of retail. And Here Today may have it in its sites. If it proves consistently and enduringly profitable it’s their’s to claim. I wish them well.

Bill Davis
Guest
8 years 6 months ago

It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but as someone whose daughters absolutely love Five Below, that comparison would be promising for them. Unfortunately, we live in an area, PacNW, where there aren’t any Five Belows (we visit grandparents in the northeast every summer) and it doesn’t appear that a Here Today will be for several years at the earliest, so we have no way to validate the concept.

Mike Christenson
Guest
Mike Christenson
8 years 6 months ago

Don’t become a Big Lots or Fred’s imitator. Stay FRESH and it will work.

Mohamed Amer
Guest
Mohamed Amer
8 years 6 months ago
This is an intriguing concept – or better yet a bricolage of retail concepts under one roof! From their website, they emphasize “a combined total of more than 200 years finding incredible deals” and having “cultivated relationships with key vendors and sellers.” So, their claimed competitive advantage is internally focused on their ability to buy smartly and find deals that others can’t replicate. If they can keep their stores warm and clean that might be enough to separate them from other deep (or off price) discount formats. I salute them for innovating around format while leveraging buying deals to introduce “extreme value retail experience.” They do understand and acknowledge that today’s consumers are time-starved and value-conscious. Will those characteristics translate to their winning format? The challenge will be in getting the shopper to think “Here Today” when they are planning their shopping trip or to check them out when they drive by. And once in the store, to ensure they deliver on their brand promise. How long will it be before they have to think… Read more »
Tony Orlando
Guest
8 years 6 months ago

It seems nice, but there are a million discount retailers all trying to find the same closeout deals that have more leverage to do so, and the concept isn’t exactly breaking any new ground.

No one wants to pay retail for anything, and if they can keep it from being junked up with SKUs nobody wants, than they’ll do some business. Time will tell if they make any impact against the other deep discounters today.

Brian Numainville
Guest
8 years 6 months ago

It is an interesting hybrid. Discount shopping shouldn’t have to be situated in old tired facilities with little energy. This combination of fun, value and fast could be an exciting combination.

Alexander Rink
Guest
8 years 6 months ago

I think the concept is intriguing, especially for shoppers who like to bargain hunt or browse for good deals. I believe part of their success will be determined by whether or not they can strike the balance between reliable and fresh/interesting. The trick will be to carry enough of a selection of items to attract mission shoppers – and hopefully get them to stumble upon some unexpected deals they cannot pass up, much like Costco does – while simultaneously exposing enough completely new items to appeal to the novelty shopper.

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