A life-size dinosaur, 12-foot toy soldiers and about 10,000 other unusual and whimsical products are expected to attract thousands of bargain hunters this weekend.
Design Toscano, a manufacturer of unique merchandise such as its signature Bigfoot statue, will hold a warehouse sale with deep discounts from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at 1501 Nicholas Blvd., Elk Grove Village. But you might need shinguards to get through the lines.
"During every warehouse sale, we have thousands of people who wait outside the warehouse every morning to be one of the first to gain entry into the building. Some customers actually fly in to Chicago or set their vacation to be in Chicago for this," said Marilyn Stopka, who co-owns the company with her husband, Mike Stopka.
For more than 25 years, Design Toscano has attracted gardeners and celebrities alike. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos liked Design Toscano's products so much that he ordered a 6-foot Bigfoot statue, also known as a garden yeti, to grace his headquarters' lobby in Seattle. TV personalities, such as Jimmy Fallon, have talked about the unusual gift items featured in SkyMall magazine and referred to Design Toscano's products on the air. And many gardeners have scooped up gnomes, animal replicas and statuary to grace their flower beds.
This time, the company has collected about $2 million worth of merchandise, some originally priced in the thousands of dollars. But due to damage, overstock or returns, discounts could be up to 90 percent. For example, the Bigfoot statue ordinarily sells for $2,250 in new condition. But some damaged statues are expected to be tagged for about $500.
These warehouse sales are scheduled once every two years. This time, the Stopkas rented another 70,000-square-foot warehouse for about two months just to get ready for this sale.
The first hours of the first day are the toughest. That's when the bargain hunters will be in full force, grabbing any available shopping cart and loading up on statuary, furniture and decor. Throughout the day, Mike Stopka will monitor the inventory and slash prices, he said.
"Just think of it as a flea market on steroids," Mike Stopka said.