SYLACAUGA – District 3 Councilman Donnie Blackmon announced Tuesday evening that Dirt Cheap of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, will be the first tenant for the old Kmart building on West Fort Williams Street.
“I’ve been working with Second Street Development on this project since it is in my district. I am glad they let me make the announcement about this store locating here,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon gave some background on the store, which will occupy 28,000 square feet.
Dirt Cheap was a business that grew out of another business, Treasure Hunt, in Hattiesburg. Over the past 25 years, Treasure Hunt has expanded, growing to be the largest buyer of insurance claims in the United States while adding manufacturer and retailer buybacks, closeouts, bankruptcies, customer returns and out-of-season goods.
In October 1997, business officials realized the Treasure Hunt warehouse shelves had become full of excess inventory. In order to clean out its warehouse and make room for new merchandise, the company decided to set up a sale in a warehouse.
At the sale, all merchandise was sold at “dirt cheap” prices until gone, and the Dirt Cheap concept was born.
As business progressed, the amount of inventory grew, establishing a need for more than just a warehouse sale. The first Dirt Cheap store opened in 1998 in Petal, Mississippi, and the business has since grown into more than 90 stores across eight states, with 17 stores in Alabama, including Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.
Today, Dirt Cheap is a standalone company purchasing its own merchandise and exhibiting its own unique selling strategies.
According to the company’s website, Dirt Cheap is a bargain hunter’s paradise, offering private label and brand name merchandise for as much as 30 percent to 90 percent off regular retail prices.
Blackmon said Second Street Development expects to turn the keys to the building over to Dirt Cheap in May, with the opening scheduled for June.
There are two more available spaces in the Kmart building. One is 4,000 square feet, while the other is 8,500 square feet.
Dirt Cheap will be next door to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. Second Street renovated the old Coast to Coast building for Ollie’s and Anytime Fitness.
The City Council approved tax incentive agreements for both projects to help bring them to Sylacauga.