Millions of products must go at Mendelsons before closing

People are traveling from as far away as California to buy up the inventory at Mendelsons before the iconic eight-story store closes in downtown Dayton.

Most closing businesses have hundreds, maybe thousands, of goods and products to get rid of.

Mendelsons has millions.

PHOTOS: Demolition begin on part of Mendelsons complex in Dayton

Ownership and longtime employees say they aren’t worried about having to vacate the building, which was sold in 2019 and will be redeveloped, by a Sept. 1 deadline.

They say the business known for being the “first place to look for every last thing” will sell everything, even down to the shelving and display racks that hold its products.

PHOTOS: Mendelsons selling off millions of products

“It won’t be hard,” said Heather Mendelson-Goodrich, who has worked at the family-owned business nearly her entire life. “ It’s exciting — it’s new beginnings.”

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Mendelsons has until the end of August to clear out its more than 550,000-square-foot liquidation outlet at 340 E. First St.

The property, as well as a warehouse and lot at 418 E. First St., were purchased by Crawford Hoying, one of the developers of the booming Water Street District.

Crawford Hoying says big things are in store for the flagship building, but plans are still in development.

However, demolition of the warehouse and another building started early this week to make way for a new hotel.

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The liquidation outlet building is enormous and jam-packed with an incredibly diverse range of things for sale.

Rows are filled with army fatigues, ladles, puzzles, necklaces, industrial components, computer parts, commercial equipment, T-shirts for 50 cents, movie trivia games from the late 1990s, carts, electrical supplies, shelving, trinkets, decorations, clothing, electronics and countless other goods.

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There’s so much stuff that workers say every day they spot something they have never seen before.

All that product has to go, and Mendelsons has hired a liquidator to help move its inventory through bulk sales.

Michigan-based Liquid Asset Partners LLC has connections across the country and has attracted buyers who have flown in from California, Texas and the East Coast.

One has been considering buying all of Mendelsons’ assorted gloves, which could fill two tractor-trailers, said Jim Sefernick, a consultant with Liquid Asset Partners.

The client also is interested in buying thousands of dishes and multiple truck loads of clothes, Sefernick said.


“He is a reseller and does a lot overseas, especially in Africa,” he said.

A buyer from the East Coast bought more than a tractor-trailer’s worth of brand-new lawnmower parts.

In the first week, the liquidator helped move about seven truckloads of goods, according to Mendelsons staff.

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Over the course of half a century, Mendelsons acquired everything under the sun and built a small empire that was probably the largest liquidation company in the Midwest that sells out of its own store, Sefernick said.

Mendelsons is one of a kind because of the amount of product, but mainly the variety, he said.

“There’s nothing like it,” he said.

Many people are sad to see Mendelsons go and will miss its deals.

The business has longtime regulars. Some make sure they are waited on by their favorite employee, like owner Sandy Mendelson and family members.

They have nicknames and inside jokes. Out-of-towners have made special stops or trips to Dayton to visit Mendelsons one last time before it closes.

A few clients are coming in every week to stock up on things they think they might need down the road because the store is closing, Mendelson-Goodrich said.

Last weekend, someone bought nearly 1,000 T-shirts for printing and silk-screening.

One customer who usually comes in every week to buy a three pack of underwear recently bought more than $700 worth of clothing, including more than 500 jock straps. He resells the items.

Retail sales and foot traffic have picked up since it was announced Mendelsons has closed — maybe by about 50%, said Mendelson-Goodrich, who became a Realtor with Re/Max Ultimate last fall after her family's property was purchased.

When products are sold on the ground floor, goods from upstairs are brought down to fill the holes.

When fireman and military boots ran out, they were replaced by statutes. When the statues sell, something else will go there.

When the shelves eventually are empty, they will be sold.

Noticeable progress have been made to reduce inventory. The eighth floor is nearly cleared out.

Mendelsons had no problem emptying out the warehouse buildings before demolition began this week for a new hotel.

The warehouse contained retail fixtures, including showcases, restaurant booths and chairs, clothing racks and department store display cases and tables.

All of the products were sold at auction.

“Things are going great,” Mendelson-Goodrich said. “There’s lots of good deals.”

Mendelsons is special and should be able to sell everything, as long as the right people find out what it has to offer, said Sefernick.

“It’s a goldmine,” he agreed.

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