Bargains line shelves at Dollars R Us store

Customers who step inside Dollars R Us, Bonney Lake’s only dollar store, are reaping more than bargains from their shopping lists. They’re also getting service that’s friendly and personal, said co-owners Ramon Sanchez and Miguel Marquez.

Kasey Bittner readies the shelves with new merchandise at Dollars R Us in Bonney Lake.

Friendly staff awaits shoppers at city’s only dollar store

Customers who step inside Dollars R Us, Bonney Lake’s only dollar store, are reaping more than bargains from their shopping lists. They’re also getting service that’s friendly and personal, said co-owners Ramon Sanchez and Miguel Marquez.

“There’s a concept we’re bringing to everyone who comes in here: our employees look up and say ‘hello,’” Marquez said.

That standard of service is the underlying foundation for the brothers-in-law partners, who greeted 5,000 customers in the first three weeks since their Dec. 8 opening. Add in congeniality and personal attention and it’s easy to see why both men believe their store offers more bang for their customers’ buck.

“People walk into some stores where the employees don’t acknowledge them,” Marquez said. “But in here, we look them in the eyes. We walk them over to the item they’re looking for. We’ll also bring them a shopping basket and say ‘thank you.’”

The concept for going into business together began four years ago, Marquez said. “Many times, we sat down and thought of ideas.” Those ideas strengthened when the men studied demographics and learned through marketing surveys that Bonney Lake lacked a dollar store.

“The closest one is 10 miles away and it doesn’t sell items at only a dollar,” Sanchez said.

With his strong retail background and Marquez’ organizational skills – he’s a former East Coast homicide detective – the two hit upon the dollar store idea in February 2007. They settled on a store located adjacent to Bonney Lake Grocery Outlet and alongside the heavy traffic of state Route 410.

While some businesses have suffered deep economic losses over the past year, both Sanchez and Marquez believed their store’s arrival comes at an opportune time as households tighten spending and grow more aware of bargains.

With a staff of 12, Sanchez and Marquez said they are proud of the work each employee makes to keep the aisles clutter-free and the floors clean for their shoppers. Employees are trained to greet customers curteously, such as in a family setting.

“We are a family business and we want to extend that concept to our customers,” Marquez said. “Everyone is to be properly greeted. I understand that we all have bad days, but everyone deserves to be treated with respect.”

The store carries a large variety of goods priced at a dollar: from toys to housewares and items for infants and children. One special section includes a large selection of night lights, with some featuring sports themes and dolphins. In the utensils section, serving platters with seashell and ocean themes lie waiting for summer barbecues, while another aisle carries office supply products. Other sections feature themes for baby showers and birthday parties.

Offering a wide selection of merchandise – all at a dollar each – comes with a bonus. “I want them to have the ‘wow’ factor when they come in here,” Sanchez said. “We want to be unique. The only way to compete is with our customer service, our cleanliness and offering a variety of good-looking, quality merchandise.”

Both co-owners said they are happy to open their business and have taken it to heart.

“I left everything I knew to invest in this,” Sanchez said.

“(Owning) this store means my three children will have a future,” Marquez said.

Dollars R Us is at 18318 state Route 410 in Bonney Lake. Its hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The store can be reached at 253-862-2322.

Reach Judy Halone at jhalone@courierherald.com or 360-802-8210.

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