Tips on where to find great deals

Reprinted from the June 2009 issue of Columbus Monthly

WHAT A CATCH Catch of the Day is a wholesale liquidator that offers savings of up to 90 percent on clothing and accessories for men, women and children. The majority of the items come from a famous national catalog company that has been in business since 1910.

You can choose from ladies' and men's separates, sweaters, accessories, home goods, coats, jackets and shoes, plus kids' clothing. For children, sandals are $3 and clothing is $3 to $5. Leather jackets for men are $90, suede jackets and skirts are $10, dresses are $5, pants are $4, sweaters (including cashmere) are $20 and two-piece jogging suits and pantsuits are $12. All items are new and come in assorted and plus sizes. For even more savings, you can take advantage of the store's offer of any 20 items for $50; items excluded from the offer include Avenue pants, sweatshirts, cashmere sweaters, leather and wool coats and shoes.

' Catch of the Day, 650 Taylor Station Rd., Gahanna (from I-270, go east on Broad Street, then north on Taylor Station Road at Mount Carmel East), 868-7678; catchday.com. Open Mon-Fri 3-6 pm; closed Sat-Sun.

STEP ON IT You might find just the shoes you're looking for at one of several Famous Footwear shoe stores in the area. The stores offer more than 80 top names, including licensed brands such as Franco Sarto, Dr. Scholl's, Etienne Aigner, Carlos by Carlos Santana, Fergie and Vera Wang Lavender Label Collection, as well as Barbie, Fisher-Price and Nickelodeon character footwear for children.

The stores offer a Famous Half Price Sale several times a year, when you pay full price for the first pair and half price for the second, according to corporate public relations manager Dorothy Bell. Each store also has a clearance section with shoes as low as $5. During the half-price sale, these clearance items are included.

' Famous Footwear, Easton Market, 478-9460; Lennox Town Center, 294-3371; Taylor Square, Reynoldsburg, 868-0741; Sun Center, 718-9088; Polaris Town Center, 846-8790; Parkway Centre East, Grove City, 820-0193; Hilliard Marketplace, 876-0921; NorthPointe Plaza, Lewis Center, (740) 657-8168.

DESIGNER SPECIALS Jennifer Robertson opened Kaitlyn's Kloset inside her Kindred Spirits Craft Mall a year ago. Robertson buys overstock from four department stores, including designer styles. The stock is all new women's apparel in sizes misses/juniors, women's, petites and 12W to 34W.

Women's suits by such names as Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, Eileen Fisher, Le Suit and Kasper are $50 or less. Formal and social dresses by designers such as Karen Kane and Evan Picone also are priced at $50 or less. You'll find women's shoes by BCBG, Steve Madden, Anne Klein and Rampage and designer handbags by kate spade and Tommy Hilfiger. The store gets deliveries every day, and all items are inspected and steamed to look their best. All the styles are current. Anything that is in the shop for two weeks gets marked down; check out the $5 rack with dresses, tops, pants and more.

Kindred Spirits Craft Mall also features vendors selling home décor items, garden accessories and gourmet and Amish foods.

' Kaitlyn's Kloset, 799 Windmiller Dr., Pickerington, 759-9808; kaitlyns-kloset.com, kindredspiritscraftmall.com. Open Mon-Sat 10 am-8 pm, Sun noon-

6 pm.

LAPTOP SECURITY The Laptop Guy is now offering a warranty on your laptop even if it's a few years old and you bought it somewhere else. Bring it to one of the shop's three locations, and within 24 hours it will certify your laptop and make sure everything is working. Once it gets a good bill of health, you will get a two-year warranty for $89 that covers everything except accidental damage, software and the battery.

' The Laptop Guy, 980 W. Fifth Ave., Grandview, 487-9674; 980 Claycroft Rd., Gahanna, 328-0368; 8731 Sancus Blvd. at Polaris, 430-5948.

Reprinted from the May 2009 issue of Columbus Monthly

BOOK BARGAINS The Library Store, operated by the Friends of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, sells books and related items to benefit the library. Whether you're looking for beach reads or children's books, this shop in the main library downtown might be the place for you.

The store sells mass-market paperbacks for 50 cents, hardcover fiction for $1, DVDs and CDs for $1 and many decorating books and cookbooks for $2. In May, it's gearing up for the library's Summer Reading Club and always has children's titles on hand.

The shop carries greeting cards as well and attracts people at this time of year who want to browse the selection of Mother's Day cards. You'll also find bookends, bookmarks, unique gifts, educational toys and books about local history. Parking is available in the garage adjacent to the building at no cost for the first hour.

' The Library Store, 96 S. Grant Ave., 849-1008. Open Mon-Thu 10 am-8 pm, Fri-Sat till 5 pm, Sun 1-4 pm.

I'VE GOT A SECRET Lee Spangenberg, president of Secret Doorways Inc., says his company is the only one in the area offering bookcases that serve as doorways into hidden rooms, providing a unique answer to storage problems.

The doorway itself actually is a functional bookcase. When you pull it open, the hidden space behind it could serve as a closet, pantry, laundry room or other storage area. (If you're into murder mysteries, you could even have the opening mechanism be one of the books on the shelf.)

The units can be recessed or freestanding. They are made of maple, oak, poplar or cherry. Spangenberg says he uses quality materials, not particle board. He has 10 designs from which to choose, and you can have one panel or several. The cost for a single-panel unit, installed and finished, is around $1,300. Visit secretdoorways.com to see the doors in action.

' Secret Doorways Inc., P.O. Box 603, Sunbury. Call 226-1593 for a free

in-home estimate.

TASTE TEST The Traveling Vineyard offers the opportunity to host a wine-tasting party at your home with little cost. The national company-a division of Geerlings & Wade, a direct marketer of wines and accessories-has 30 reps in this area who will visit clients' homes to conduct tastings and educate consumers about wine. They provide the wineglasses and five varieties of wine. You have around 60 wines to choose from. You provide snacks, and that's it. People typically invite 10 to 15 guests.

The wines are from California, France, Italy, Australia, Argentina and Africa. At the tasting, your guests can order wine, priced from $12 to $20 a bottle, and if they have it delivered to the host's home, the shipping cost is $8.95 a case. If guests want the wine delivered to their own homes, the shipping cost is $11.95 for half a case and $15.95 for a full case of 12 bottles. According to Allison Casey, director of marketing, you get a better price point through direct shipping than you would find at stores. The evening's hosts are eligible for discounts and free shipping.

' The Traveling Vineyard, (866) 547-9463 or myttv.com to contact a local wine representative.

THINK GREEN If spring cleaning has left you with a pile of electronics you no longer want, you can recycle them for free at an Ohio Computer Recycling drop-off site. According to CEO Chris Weber, your discards do not end up in a landfill-they are either recycled for parts or, if possible, repaired and distributed to those in need. He says they handle 300 tons a month.

Items you can donate to the program include computers, servers, monitors, printers, fax machines, copiers, cellphones, phone and stereo equipment and appliances. There are 13 sites in this area. For a location near you, call 856-3204 or visit ohiodropoff.com.

Reprinted from the April 2009 issue of Columbus Monthly

HAT PARADE Tis the season to don a pretty hat, and Hat & Sole might be the place to find dream hats for women as well as men. Since 1984, this shop has been providing quality hats and shoes, along with cobbler repair service by Joshua Kelner.

Hatwise, the store has new straw creations for women and a large array of men's styles, from derbies to Stetsons. Shoe brands include Dansko, Birkenstock, Wolky and Tilley. Manager Eliza Howey says the store's been selling Ugg shoes for 25 years and has a big selection. The shop has a fun, eclectic ambience; it carries both sandals and fur felt hats year-round. Howey says the store's jewelry from Nepal and Thailand is a big attraction.

The shoe repair service is popular and offers quality work-Naots and Birkenstocks, for example, are repaired with original manufacturers' materials instead of generic. Howey says Kelner can repair almost anything in leather.

Keep an eye out for special sales. In August, the shop discounts merchandise to make room for fall and winter styles; in February, it lowers prices to make way for new spring and summer lines.

' Hat & Sole, 2378 E. Main St., Bexley, 235-2719; hatandsole.com. Open Mon-Sat 10 am-6 pm; closed Sun.

BELLES ARE RINGING Misty Booker, sister Windy Legg and mother Dana Berry opened the 3 Belles Consignment Store in 2007. The upscale women's store keeps bringing in new consignors and customers with specials and varied merchandise, from casualwear to wedding dresses and accessories.

The shop carries familiar brands such as Coach, Kate Spade, Prada, Gap, Old Navy, Guess, Express, Born and Versace. Sizes are from 0 to 4X for teens and women. Pricing depends on the condition of the piece; many items come in with their price tags still on, and the shop's asking price is half the original cost. Each month the prices are lowered; eventually, if an item is still unsold, it's put on the 75 percent off racks. There's also a good selection of vintage jewelry among the accessories.

Every month there are specials. In April, the store is offering $5 off each $30 purchase and 10 percent off the price of a wedding dress. The 75 percent off racks are available on weekends, and you might find anything from fur coats and clothing to shoes and handbags. The shop also offers Comeback Buks, with discounts to be used on your next visit.

' 3 Belles Consignment Store, 7627 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, 322-2100; 3bellesconsignment.com. Open Tue-Sat 10 am-7 pm, Sun noon-5 pm; closed Mon.

CELEBRATE OHIO Cinco de Mayo becomes the Cinco D'Ohio Festival on May 2 from 9 am to 5 pm at the North Market. The fiesta celebrates the array of culinary commodities available from in-state producers.

This is the North Market's first outdoor festival of the season. The Saturday farmer's market will officially open, and more than 20 vendors selling Ohio-made foodstuffs will join the farmers in the plaza. There will be three culinary contests-salsa, hot sauce and a Chef Taco Taste-Off-with prizes for the best in each category. There also will be music, piñatas and family-friendly entertainment.

' North Market, 59 Spruce St., 463-9664; northmarket.com.

FURNITURE FINDS The Granary Gift and Fountain Barn of Findlay has an outlet store in nearby Mount Cory, about two hours' drive northwest of Columbus. Known for its quality, solid wood Amish furniture, the store sends pieces to the outlet when it needs space for new merchandise. Styles include Mission, contemporary, traditional, country and more. Prices can be discounted 10 percent or more. I was told this furniture can last a lifetime-in fact, the company offers a lifetime guaranty.

' Granary Outlet Store, 13466 Township Rd., Mount Cory, (419) 859-3785.

Open Mon 10 am-8 pm, Fri-Sat till 5 pm; closed Tue-Thu & Sun. Call the shop for directions.

Reprinted from the March 2009 issue of Columbus Monthly

CARPET COUP According to one of the owners, Cathy Menendian, you can get at least half off fine Oriental rugs at the K.A. Menendian Annex Clearance Room. The Menendian family, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in the business in 2010, opened the annex two years ago.

An Oriental carpet can last 40 or more years with proper care and cleaning, Menendian says. Most of the selection here is wool rugs handmade in India, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. You'll find traditional and contemporary styles, and because they are handmade, each rug is unique. When I was there, I saw a handmade, 3-by-5-foot rug that had been $600, now priced at $279. Sizes range from 10-by-14-foot carpets to stair runners. The company also has its own cleaning plant to help preserve your investment. If you're interested in the art and history of Oriental rugs, the company offers a basic class on identifying rugs; call for more information and dates.

' K.A. Menendian Annex Clearance Room, 1090 W. Fifth Ave. (at Kenny Road near Grandview), 294-3345. Open Mon-Sat 10 am-5:30 pm, evenings by appointment. Rugs in the annex can be viewed at karugs.com/annex.

FURNITURE FINDS Cort Furniture Rental provides relocation services and can supply individuals as well as businesses with a wide variety of furniture, from bedroom and living room sets to desks and conference tables. After the lease is up and the furniture is removed from a unit, the company sells the items in its clearance center. According to district manager John Roby, you can get up to 75 percent off the price of top-quality furniture.

Pieces in the clearance center could have been used from six months to four years. Some of the brand names are Chromcraft, HON, Lane, Bassett and United Chair. All upholstery and leather is sanitized before being put on sale; this includes dining chairs and mattresses. New inventory arrives daily, and the condition of the furniture determines the price. The center also offers an "Apartment to Go" special for $999, with items to outfit a full living room, a full dining room and one full bedroom.

' Cort Clearance Center, 8600 Sancus Blvd. (from I-71, take the Polaris exit, go west and turn left on Sancus), 985-7368; cort.com. Open Mon-Fri 9 am-6 pm, Sat 10 am-5 pm; closed Sun.

HIT THE ROAD The Third Hand Bicycle Co-op is more than a place to buy a bike for a low price. This nonprofit organization promotes cycling as a safe and environmentally responsible mode of transportation and gives members the tools and knowledge needed to keep rolling in an economical fashion.

Members can buy a bike here or learn more about maintaining their bikes. You can pay a $25 yearly fee or volunteer for four hours at the co-op to be a member. In addition to tools and materials, the shop maintains a collection of good-quality used parts as well as complete bicycles.

The public is invited to purchase bikes here as well; most are around $40. Bicycle maintenance is available from staff and members during shop hours.

' Third Hand Bicycle Co-op, 174 E. Fifth Ave. (in Italian Village), 299-2984; thirdhand.org. Open to the public Wed 6-

9 pm, Sat noon-6 pm.

GLASS BUYS You'll find deep discounts on a wide variety of American-made glassware and china at Midwest Glassware Outlet in Logan. The selection includes barware, bakeware and collectibles in brands such as Anchor Hocking, Fiesta and Fostoria. Most items are quality seconds, and there are more than a million pieces from which to choose. Even some restaurateurs take advantage of the low prices here to stock their businesses.

' Midwest Glassware Outlet, 12811 St. Rt. 664, Logan (take Rt. 33 south to the

St. Rt. 664 Logan-Bremen exit and go left past the Wal-Mart), (740) 380-9400; midwestglasswareoutlet.com. Open daily 10 am-5 pm.

Reprinted from the February 2009 issue of Columbus Monthly

ROCKIN' ROCKS IDG Jewelers has an outlet store in Reynoldsburg that offers savings of 50 to 80 percent on jewelry. The regular IDG shops offer savings of 30 to 50 percent; the outlet has a larger discount on a wide variety of pieces.

Company vice president Michael Ousley says the outlet store carries regular IDG merchandise, plus excess inventory. The company makes some of its own pieces in its factory, which helps keep prices down. When I was at the outlet, I saw Elini watches for half off. A two and a half carat diamond tennis bracelet that originally was priced at $3,999 was $799 here. Pearl necklaces also were half price: A 16-inch necklace was marked from $259 to $129. Colored gemstones are 50 percent off, and other pieces are 70 or

80 percent off. All sales are final, and many items carry a warranty.

' IDG Jewelers Outlet, 2312 Taylor Park Dr., Reynoldsburg (from I-70 east, go north on Rt. 256 to Taylor Park), 866-7800; idgjewelers.com. Open Mon-Fri 11 am-8 pm, Sat till 6 pm; closed Sun.

FURNITURE FINDS FrontRoom Furnishings opened an outlet store in Dublin in November to serve its three other locations. At the outlet, you'll find returns, cancellations, floor models and discontinued furniture.

When I was there, I saw recliners, chairs, love seats, sofas, sectionals and even a bedroom suite that had been used in the Parade of Homes. Among the brands I saw were Lane, Flexsteel and Bernhardt. I found a custom-ordered sofa that was originally $800, now selling for $599. Sofas begin at $299 and end tables could be as low as $69. Furniture prices are 20 to 60 percent less than retail, and accessories and rugs are 50 percent off. New merchandise arrives weekly. Delivery and pickup is available.

' FrontRoom Furnishings Outlet, 6120 Sawmill Rd. (between Dublin-Granville and Bethel roads), 889-0400; frontroomfurnishings.com. Open Mon-Sat 10 am-9 pm, Sun noon-6 pm.

HOW SWEET IT IS Yosick's is more than an artisan chocolate shop-it's a German Village meeting place. Master chocolatier Kristy Yosick left the automotive industry to spend time making people happy, she says. In fact, the sign on the shop's door reads, "Please enter joyfully."

Candy and pastries here are handcrafted in small batches. Yosick blends three grades of Belgian chocolate to create her own mix. All the centers have ganache, a mix of cream and chocolate. The candy is $1.50 a piece, and you can buy one or a box. There also is a full espresso and coffee bar, real hot chocolate and pastries, including Danish, scones and Australian friands.

On Feb. 13, 14 and 15, Yosick is hosting Valentine Date Night. Each evening, she will offer three one-hour sessions featuring a smorgasbord of chocolate, including fondue, desserts and candy-as much as you can eat during the session. Reservations are required; call for prices and more information.

' Yosick's Artisan Chocolates & Pastries and Espresso, 539 S. Fifth St., 223-9575; yosicks.com. Open daily 6 am-8:30 pm.

RESTORE YOURSELF Habitat for Humanity's ReStore gives you the opportunity to save money on home improvement projects while also supporting Habitat's Women Build program, which gets women and girls involved in building homes. This discount store is open to the public and sells new and gently used home building materials donated by businesses and homeowners.

Merchandise could include doors, roofing materials, sinks, cabinets, countertops, siding, insulation, plumbing, lighting, tools, air conditioning units, furnaces, ceiling fans, wallpaper and other building materials and supplies. In addition to being a bargain experience for do-it-yourselfers, Habitat's ReStore facilitates green living through resale and reuse.

' Habitat's ReStore, 3140 Westerville Rd., 737-8673; habitatcolumbus.org. Open Mon-Sat 9 am-6 pm; closed Sun.