While this “everything in the place costs $5 or less” store has expanded to several states, it was the brainchild of an entrepreneur who started two other wildly successful ventures in the area (Encore Books and Zany Brainy). The current president and CEO used to run Walmart.com, so there’s definitely someone with some marketing and managing chops running the show. While you may have visited any number of discount stores, it’s the concept behind Five Below that makes it such a great store: the merchandise is specifically selected to appeal to tweens and teens trying to get the most out of their allowance money. Yes, that’s right. The items for sale are targeted to kids ten to twenty who may not have a lot of discretionary income, but would like to be able to come to a single location to find the items they are most likely to want, where nothing costs more than $5.00. Whether it’s gag gifts, school supplies, craft kits, joke books, tech accessories, t-shirts, make-up, room decor (think lava lamp) or something seasonal (like a headband with reindeer antlers), they know they can leave the store with a purchase. It’s a great place to take a kid for a “you did a great job, why don’t you pick out something for yourself” reward, or a “yeah, that trip to the dentist DID stink, but you were brave” treat or a “let’s just bring your cousins something small to thank them for having you” gift. If you’re new to the Main Line or Philadelphia area, you’ll find several locations nearby. My advice is to do a recon visit so you understand what all the hoopla is about. I would be willing to bet you walk out with something, too.
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