Nothing 'stupid' about store's approach



“Everyone likes a good deal,” says Bruce Martin.

He and four partners have evolved that truism into a string of discount stores that increases to three with the opening today of a Federal Way location. A fourth store is scheduled to debut in Monroe next February.

At all of them, shoppers can buy brand-name merchandise marked way down from the prices of major retailers and warehouse stores that sell items to Stupid Prices.

Okay, what about the name?

It came from when a company that bought Martin’s original nine Liquidators Outlet stores went out of business in 2000 –– in part, he said, because the prices were higher than liquidation shoppers preferred. “It was stupid,” he related.

He registered Stupid Prices as a store name and has fun with it. Shoppers receive hats marked “Stupid customer.”

But there’s nothing slow about Stupid Prices’ market, Martin said.

“Our customers range from the rich, who go for high-end watches and golf clubs, to the fixed-income elderly or immigrants, who are looking for scratch-and-dent merchandise,” he said.

Merchandise reportedly flies off the shelves. The stores are only open three full days –– Wednesdays through Fridays –– and a half-day Saturdays in order to allow time for fresh shipments from suppliers, Martin said.

Clothing, furniture, appliances, home electronics and lawnmowers –– many items with warrantees –– are among the out-of-season or hard-to-sell goods that Stupid Prices buys from national retail chains. Business rules prevent the chains from being identified, but trust him, they’re the big ones, according to Martin.

The Federal Way store, located on South 314th Street in the midst of a commercial area, covers 20,000 square feet and employs 16 people.

Other stores are in Kent and Kenmore.

Along with Shane Baisch, Martin’s partners are his sons –– Justin, 29, Lonnie, 27, and Brett, 24.

Martin, 53, grew up in Burien. He taught biology and physical education at Seattle Pacific University before going into business.

“I’m having a lot more fun doing this,” he said.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565,

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