It definitely won’t be the familiar old Arcade, but when One-Eyed Bob’s Clearance Center & Discount Emporium opens on Front Street in Greenport sometime next week, owner Bob Paquette hopes it will follow a formula for success.
“It could be anything,” the former Arcade owner said about the merchandise he’ll soon offer. Initially, that will include bicycles.
After that, it could be TVs or whatever else he finds that he thinks will sell.
Since he’s purchasing odd lots that can be bought and sold at reasonable prices, the merchandise will be changing week to week.
But two stalwart staples that sold well in the old Arcade — stationery and kitchen gadgets — definitely will be back.
“We still have merchandise coming in,” Mr. Paquette said. Several weeks ago his going-out-of-business signs were replaced by large question marks. He ran similar newspaper advertisements. Last week, he began loading merchandise and ran an ad announcing One-Eyed Bob’s Clearance Center & Discount Emporium at the Arcade.
“A lot of people have been driving me crazy asking what I’m going to do,” he said. His response has been, “Buy it and do what you want.”
As was the case with the Arcade, the new store is on the market.
After four months of paying bills with nothing to show for it, Mr. Paquette decided to try the discount merchandise route. He fully expects that if it flies, any number of people will be reaching out a hand for a cut of profits, saying the idea was theirs.
Mr. Paquette plans to open with a “skeleton payroll” — just himself and one or two others who have been helping him get the store set up. For an operation of this nature, he doesn’t need a larger staff, he said.
“The old store was a lot more intensive,” he said. He hopes this model proves cost-effective.
“We’ll see when it opens,” he said. “It’s a little different type of business with a different kind of customer.”
Mr. Paquette said he preferred the old Arcade concept, where people could purchase a wide variety of goods, but the availability of low-cost goods in Riverhead and the changing demographic in the village made that impractical.
“Face it, a lot of my customers aren’t working,” he said, referring to the many contractors and others whose jobs have ended or slowed in the contracting economy.
“If I find it doesn’t work, I don’t want to throw a lot of money into it,” he added.
The plan calls for an opening next week and full-time operation through Labor Day weekend. Then he expects to cut back and open Fridays through Mondays until New Year’s.
He’ll likely close for the winter months, he said. But if all goes well, he’ll be back next spring.