Customers dig through bins at northeast Tennessee’s first bin store, located in Mountain City. Merchandise ranges from simple items like headphones and rugs to more luxury items like security systems, cell phones, and tablets. Photo by Brittany Hayworth
By Meg Dickens
Brittany Hayworth opened the first bin store in the area, Summit Liquidations, in November 2020. What no one expected was how quickly the new business would take off. Summit Liquidations is only open three days a week but does a lot of business. As recently as February 28, Hayworth had to close early because she ran out of products. Passersby note that crowds gather at 6 a.m. to wait for access, three hours before the business opens its doors. Hayworth estimates she sees at least 200 to 300 customers per business day.
Hayworth got the idea after visiting a bin store for the first time, stating that people in Johnson County and Northeast Tennessee “would love this.”
“I knew it would catch on eventually,” Hayworth explained. “I didn’t necessarily realize how fast it would catch on. I’m very humbled by the outcome week after week.”
Starting on March 5, Hayworth started a lottery to help protect these people from the elements. People take a number then can retreat to their vehicles without losing their spot in line. Those without a number can still shop but go to the end of the line. Products vary from items like rugs and clothing to security cameras, cell phones, laptops, and tablets. According to Hayworth, the luxury items are “98 to 99 percent off retail” prices. One item the public voiced excitement about was an in-package iPhone 11 that sold for $7 a few weeks ago.
“When we first started this, I told Zack (spouse) you know, people in Johnson County work really hard for their money,” Hayworth explained. “You should be able to buy high-quality products for not an astronomical price. With coronavirus and schools going virtual people were trying to buy computers and accessories for their computers. It’s very important for people to have access to those types of items, even in the county. So, if your keyboard crashes or something to that effect, hopefully, you can find one in our bins. There are some things we get that are sold out in stores.”
The Hayworths hope to expand and grow the business. Brittany was determined to put down roots in Johnson County but faced problems that several other business owners and prospective business owners have faced: property availability. While there are a number of buildings sitting empty or used for storage around town, multiple parties report a lack of commercial and residential space for rent, lease, and sale. Fortunately, Hayworth found an appropriate property for lease.
“For us, it was a big thing to open here in Johnson County just because we don’t have anything,” Hayworth spoke about opportunities in the area. “I know it can be scary starting a business. I just want people to know that businesses can thrive in the county, and they will thrive. Sometimes it’s worth taking the plunge.”
Brittany Hayworth is a Johnson County native and local PRN nurse at Mountain Youth Academy. To find out more about Summit Liquidations and see previews of this week’s products, visit its Facebook page.