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Chillin Style Outlet offers cool discounts

Chillin Style Outlet owner Tommy Collard offers a wide variety of men’s and women’s clothing at discounted prices. His stock is from “shelf pulls,” clothing that the big stores have pulled from their shelves after it hasn’t sold in a certain amount of time.
Chillin Style Outlet owner Tommy Collard offers a wide variety of men’s and women’s clothing at discounted prices. His stock is from “shelf pulls,” clothing that the big stores have pulled from their shelves after it hasn’t sold in a certain amount of time.
Published Nov. 22, 2013

MASARYKTOWN — Shoppers are learning that by making a short trip to the southern part of Hernando County, they can save a lot of money.

The destination is Chillin Style Outlet Store, and the location in the small community of Masaryktown helps owner Tommy Collard offer name-brand apparel, shoes and accessories at preposterously low prices.

"Out of town keeps the overhead down," says Collard, who opened some seven months ago in Ronco Plaza, at Broad Street and Ayers Road.

As the owner of an independent store, Collard has no corporate staff, regional managers or national advertising, eliminating many of the costs incurred by chain stores, he said. He passes the savings on to customers.

Collard buys his stock from "shelf pulls," clothing that the big stores have pulled from their shelves after it hasn't sold in a set amount of time. His sources generally include Rue 21, Sears, Belk and Dillard's.

Fashions are selected for upper tweens to upper 20s, a demographic that knows the meaning of "chillin' style."

"I picked up 400 dresses yesterday, from casual all the way up to dressy," Collard said recently.

"The day before that, 1,000 pairs of shoes, from women's flats, sandals, to glamorous 7-inch heels. They have bling all over 'em."

" Men's sneakers," he added. "We sell shoes every day at $5."

Then there was a load of men's dress shirts — "Van Heusen and Arrow, still in plastic wrap, from Dillard's."

"We buy and sell at greatly reduced prices," the 50-year-old entrepreneur said. "Nothing is over $14.99, not coats or anything."

Currently displayed are some 20,000 items of clothing. The store receives new inventory as often as three times a week.

Not long ago, Collard learned firsthand of some financially hard-pressed families anxious about a sparse Christmas. He spread the word so it would reach them: Everything cut to $5 for the weekend. He choked up as he recalled the shoppers who came through his doors.

He's continuing the $5 price on many items through Jan. 6.

Chillin draws its customers from the Masaryktown area and as far away as Dade City and Zephyrhills. Collard advertises in the programs at high school sporting events and on local radio.

Some 60 percent of the shop's customers come through buyer referrals or drive-bys, Collard said.

Collard, a native Kentuckian, learned marketing and merchandising mainly from selling Ford vehicles for 16 years, including a stint at Flammer Ford in Spring Hill.

By the way, Chillin sometimes has leftover goods, too.

Collard sells those on eBay.

Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@earthlink.net.

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