By Steve Yablonski
Chris Farmer, owner of F&F Bargains, started in his garage in August 2021. He now sells seven truckloads worth of merchandise a week, and expects to double the amount with a second facility
Chris Farmer started a little bargain business in his garage. But he quickly ran out of space and has opened in a much larger facility at 755 E. Seneca St. in Oswego.
Now with more inventory and increased business, he plans to add another showroom nearby his current location.
“I’ve been in this building since August 2021 after starting out in my garage. Now I’m looking to increase space by adding another nearby building in June.”
F&F Bargains offers items of all sorts at a discounted price. They are open every day from 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
He explains: “Our stuff is brand new. It’s like overstock; it’s canceled orders, box damages and returns — it’s a liquidation warehouse,” he said. “I buy, say $100,000 worth of merchandise, I can get it cheaper, sell at a lower price, because they are liquidation truckloads “
For instance, if you order something on Amazon, but cancel it and it’s already gone through the shipping process, they don’t send that back to where it came from, he explained.
“They just liquidate it. They don’t send it back to where it came from. If they did, the warehouse would be overloaded,” he said. “We sell stuff so fast. Right now we do about seven truckloads a week. When we open the other warehouse (June 1), it will probably be around 15 truckloads.”
“We stand behind every item we sell, 100%,” Farmer said. “I guarantee you’ll leave happy.”
“I’m homegrown Oswegonian. I realized that I was a natural born hustler and I love helping people. I’m talented in both areas— I’m talented in talking people into buying things and in helping out people,” he said. “I view myself as a child of God. I like doing things for others; that’s a way of life. That’s the way to live. Helping others is what I love to do. I have a passion for that.”
A myriad items are on display — tools, a grandfather clock, exercise equipment, pet supplies, furniture, household items, electronics and much more, many still wrapped in plastic on palates.
And, there are dozens of “mystery” boxes stacked along the wall.
Decorated with question marks and hints of what each contain—holiday decorations, pet products, household, tools, random and other clues— the boxes cost anywhere from about $50 to $450.
They also have a presence online. The group has more than 12,000 followers online.
Dozens of people come in to check out the merchandise daily, many carrying large boxes as they leave.
“Business is good — good enough to acquire more space,” Farmer said as he watched customers looking over the merchandise.
“I work 12 hours a day — haven’t taken a day off. That’s what this job requires.
“It’s definitely difficult running a business, more difficult than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “There was many a night I thought about closing the doors. There were days that I went through crappy dealers. From the beginning I’ve had a 100% refund policy for anything broken, missing pieces. I stood behind all my product.”
Sometimes he had many returns to do; took some losses, buying stuff that wasn’t sellable.
“I went and found better people to buy stuff from. It wasn’t until I got here that I realized that one man’s junk really is another man’s treasure. No matter what it is in life there is value in it. That’s worth 5 cents when it’s empty,” he said pointing to a Mountain Dew bottle. “But do you know how many people throw these out? Some people see no value in it — some people see value.”
According to Farmer, no matter what you have, as long as you offer great customer service and stand behind your product, you can sell it.
So, what’s in those mystery boxes?
“It’s a mystery. If I answer your questions, it isn’t a mystery any more. There goes the whole surprise. There goes the whole sales pitch,” he said. “The reason why people buy it is because they want to know what’s in the box. If I tell you what’s in the box you’re not going to want to buy it — or you might.”
“I buy the biggest mystery boxes of all. When I buy them, they are unmanifested and I don’t know what it is until after I get it,” he added. “I’m the biggest mystery box buyer of all!
“But I will say all those mystery boxes — everything inside them is brand new. We make sure there is plenty of value so people can take them home and can take what they want and sell what they [don’t] want and be happy. If we don’t make people happy, then they wouldn’t come back, right?”