New discount store opens in Niles Charter Township
Published 5:37 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023
NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — A new business is bringing bargain items to the Niles community.
Niles resident Donna Tolley recently opened Mrs. Bell’s Bargains at 1040 Bell Rd. in Bell Plaza, Niles. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the store offers items like housewares, seasonal items, toys, cleaning supplies, décor, basic apparel, health and beauty products and more at discounted prices.
Tolley, who is also the manager of Riverfront Park Campground, started Mrs. Bell’s Bargains last November with her sister and sister-in-law as a way to offer discounted items to community members trying to make ends meet.
“I’m a person who’s always liked to help others,” she said. “My mom raised five kids on her own working three jobs, so obviously budgeting was always a purpose in our lives and with price changes, COVID and everything, I’ve always helped to pay it forward. Why not get a bargain? Why not help the world do this?”
Tolley travels across the region purchasing large pallets of merchandise from liquidation warehouses and auctions and sells the items individually at discounted prices.
“It’s a challenge,” she said. “It’s a lot of research and a lot of work. You’ve got to be devoted to it. But when it comes to all of us out in the world, we deserve it…This is what I do and this is what I enjoy. Niles doesn’t have anything like this, so we brought it here.”
Originally conducting business from her home using Facebook Live videos to promote, Tolley said interest in her products soared to the point where she decided to pursue opening a storefront. Tolley continues to create Facebook Live videos through the “Mrs. Bells Bargains” group on Facebook.
“It was a huge hit,” she said. “It got so overwhelming and big that I had to turn it into this.”
The Mrs. Bell’s Bargains storefront opened its doors at the beginning of March and Tolley said the response has been positive.
“They love it,” she said. “They love coming in here seeing the cheap prices and stuff and are grateful for it because of how the world is right now.”
The business also provides Tolley the flexibility to spend time with her son, who has special needs.
“It feels good that I’m doing this for my family,” she said. “I still get to have time with my son. I don’t have to place him anywhere; he’s with me as his caretaker and so it’s a win-win for everybody.”
While the work is often challenging, Tolley enjoys being able to help those in need.
“I feel good because when I walk out of here every day, somebody has also walked out of here saving money,” she said. “The economy right now, with all the big adjustments and people losing their homes and they shouldn’t have to. If people can get stuff here that I can help them with, they can put that other money that they would spend at Target or whatever toward paying house bills and stuff and that’s how a lot of them look at it. That’s called paying it forward and it’s done in many ways.”