New store items, thrift store prices
OCEAN PINES — Offering items “half off its lowest price” is the motto of Joe Laque, co-owner of The Trading Post at Ocean Pines, a new shop off Cathell Road. The Trading Post will open Saturday, allowing customers to buy, sell or trade for anything in the building.
The idea is to feature a multitude of contractor tools and materials in the back, while the front carries products for the home and leisure. Laque, who shares ownership with his wife, Donna, ensures that everything available at the store will be at least 40-50 percent off the average price of the same thing at other retail stores.
“If I can buy it and sell it, I will,” he said, explaining that his approach is to buy in bulk from businesses around the area.
Because the bulk purchase lowers the price per unit, he applies that discount to his own prices. The result has been a variety of items from musical instruments, to sporting equipment and even rare and unique items such as the double-decker oven that will be for sale immediately after the shop’s opening.
“When people come in, we want them to see something new each time,” Joe said. “You never know what you’ll find.
“We will have products for children, parents and grandparents,” he said. “We have enough stock to fill this place for a year.”
Gearing up for the holiday season, a large selection of Christmas sweaters and Halloween costumes hang on the wall. At the moment, only children’s costumes are available and consist of characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Thomas the Tank Engine and Spiderman.
A large assortment of hunting and fishing gear are examples of products the Laques expect to stock all year long.
Other items such as tents, lampposts and NFL licensed products – including large Ravens flags – will be stored in the front.
As evidence of the claim that shoppers will be able to find just about anything, Laque revealed a collection of soda machines for sale.
“These are perfect for the man cave,” Joe said.
In the back section, not only will construction tools be for sale, but the Laques will also offer larger products such as windows and doors.
Custom sheds built by Joe will be available for purchase at any time. Since the Ocean Pines Association has strict rules regulating a shed’s specifications, the Laques customize them to meet the standards. All sheds will be delivered to each property.
While items will already be offered at a steep discount, they could be available at an even cheaper price, since the Laques will allow customers to trade-in or sell used items that are still of good quality.
Most items sold or traded-in will give people store credit, but higher-caliber such as high definition televisions could earn the seller cash.
“If the item is right, I will buy it,” Laque said.
Hanging on the wall is a “Barter Board” on which any person can purchase a spot to put his or her business card up on display for $1 per month or $10 for the whole year.
This is not the only community service planned, as an outdoor flea market with items sold by area residents is planned to be held in the parking lot behind The Trading Post at Ocean Pines every month, starting in the spring.
For $10, anyone can rent a table for the soon-to-be monthly event.
The Laques will also write a monthly newsletter showcasing new items, unique products and goods about to go out of stock for anyone who wishes to sign up to their mailing list.
Hailing from Anne Arundel County, the family moved to Ocean Pines 12 years ago.
While continuing to run Developmental Day Care Center in their home town, as they have done since 1989, the Laques wanted to open a new business for additional income and to bring more consumers to the shops off Cathell Road.
On deciding what kind of venture the family wanted to open, Joe felt his experience selling goods at flea markets was more than enough to create a thrift store.
“For years, I have set up tables around town selling items from lingerie to power tools,” he said.
The store’s layout has been finalized this week, as Laque built every display with the help of one of his four children, Joe Jr.
The Trading Post at Ocean Pines will be open every Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All hours are subject to change.For additional information or to sign up for the future flea markets, call Joe Laque at 443-783-5509.