Back in 1970, my friends and I lived a preteen dream. Summer days were spent lounging on the banks of a slow moving river, lazily tossing our fishing lines into the water, not caring much what we hooked. Some of my fondest memories of those days were the stops we would make on our walk to the river at what my grandmother named "the day-old bread store" but everyone else called the thrift store. There we would buy a big box of cupcakes, fruit pies or other sweet baked treats to tide us over as we angled July and August days away. This trip down memory lane was sparked by the announcement that Big Lots has been named the Official Hostess Thrift Outlet.
Yesterday, along with Hostess, the discounter announced it would begin selling Twinkies, CupCakes, etc. at its stores at up to 40 percent off suggested retail prices. Hostess closed its 600 thrift stores as part of a cost-cutting measure.
"The Thrift Outlets were extremely popular," said Big Lots CEO David Campisi in a statement. "We are thrilled to team up with this iconic brand and give customers a new destination to find outstanding savings on the products they know and love."
"It's a win-win," Chris Boring, principal of Boulevard Strategies, told The Columbus Dispatch. "I don't think Hostess was necessarily the most-nimble retailer. They had some class-C locations, whereas Big Lots has some excellent locations. Right there, you're getting an upgrade. Plus, Big Lots is a professional retailer — that's what they do."
Big Lots has launched a social media campaign called #thriftisback to promote its effort. Two videos to promote the retailer's position as the "official Hostess thrift outlet" began running on YouTube yesterday. The company is clearly hoping the videos will go viral to help its new venture take off online and in its stores.
"There is a tremendous hunger for the Hostess brand and for saving money at Big Lots," said Andy Stein, chief customer officer for the chain. "We plan to welcome Twinkies in a big way."
How important will social media be to the ultimate success or failure of Big Lots as the "official thrift outlet for Hostess?"