In 1927, Harry Cohen opened his first store in South Ozone Park, Queens, in New York. A unique and somewhat eclectic deep-discount retail concept, John’s Bargain Stores quickly became the place to go for exploration, discovery and astoundingly cheap prices. Though much of their inventory was comprised of surplus items from manufacturers, they also purchased many second-hand or imperfect items. Adopting a slogan of “Give us your mistakes and we’ll make them pay,” very much like the Walmart of today, John’s Bargain Stores purchased in bulk, further lowering costs, while increasing their margins. In fact, during their peak, John’s Bargain Stores were able to order as many as a quarter million units of a particular product at a time. Pretty impressive, considering this was 30 years or more before Walmart opened their first store and cornered the market on bulk purchasing.

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