CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When you step inside the Harvest Discount Foods store in Charlotte, the word that comes to mind is treasure hunt.
The enormous warehouse space is jam packed with rows of freezers full of meat and seafood, cardboard boxes full of cereal and canned goods, along with shelves of household cleaners, medicines, even designer clothes and produce. Stock changes daily, so you never really know what you re going to find.
We got a lot of stuff you can t buy in stores...this is chicken from a restaurant, but I can t tell you which restaurant, we re not allowed. Says owner Rick Hannon.
We found things like paper napkins, perfectly good ones, although in a random, pastel blue color, marked down from $1.69 to just 49 cents. There are entire cases of these napkins.
Just feet away, cold medicine from a popular drug store is on buy-one-get-one special. The price of one box, just $1. There s even an $80 designer polo shirt, with tags still attached, selling for $12.50. Beyond a bargain, if you don t mind the small black smudge on the front.
Hannon has been in the discount food business since 1985, with several stores in the Charlotte area. But Harvest Discount Foods is his dream project.
Because of the current economy, people were hurting around me. Though prayer and planning, took two-and-a-half-years, and it was the right time to help others, while helping 'others' .
Using the contacts he s built throughout the years, Hannon is able to obtain restaurant overstock, slightly dented or imperfect merchandise, and items close to, or just past their expiration date.
Everything is guaranteed . Smiles Hannon. We don t claim to be the cheapest, but across the board you ll save between 40-and-60 percent.
On the far back wall of the store, something you can t miss. The words Where The Bargains Are A Blessing And So Are You.
Founded on Christian beliefs, the profits from Harvest Discount Foods go to five different area ministries. The include Blessings in the Storm, Lois Lodge Maternity Home, Hoskins Park Ministries, The Urban Restoration and Temporary housing.
There's people here who literally have to walk here, some use their last few dollars to come here and buy things. It's a real reward for us when they tell us we were able to go on vacation for first time in five years because of the money we saved here.
The people who shop at Harvest Discount Foods range from businessmen in suit and tie, to the couple Hannon points out, who walked from the local motel. But judging by the welcoming hugs given to everyone who comes in, or the smiling faces in the complimentary child care center up front, this is a place where everyone is encouraged to get a good deal, and help others at the same time.
You can visit the store's website at http://harvestdiscountfoods.org.