Sunday, July 11, 2010
Later known as "Mr. Wiggs," the original Bargain Fair store was located 2609 Venice Road. Harry J. Lorber wrote a feature article about the Mr. Wiggs store on Venice Road in the May 22, 1976 issue of the Sandusky Register. He interviewed Ed Singer, who was the chief executive officer of Mr. Wiggs at that time. Singer said that when Bargain Fair first opened in 1956, there were no homes west of the store, just farms. Except for the Giant Tiger store in Perkins, most of the shopping in Sandusky took place at the Cleveland Road Sandusky Plaza and in downtown Sandusky. There weren’t even dial telephones in Sandusky in 1956. Bargain Fair was athe first store in Sandusky to be open on Sunday. The Ford plant was just in the planning stages in 1956, and one of Sandusky’s biggest employers at that time was Philco, also on the west side of Sandusky.
The Register article told how Dave Wiggins founded the first Bargain Fair in Mentor, Ohio. “In the 1950s, as the nation emerged from a shortage economy of the war and post-war years, a new form of retailing was born. Discounting appealed to the price-consious consumer and offered merchandise at a lower price without frills, services or plush decor…Humble facilities where merchandise could be laid out for self-service at a low price was the prime consideration in this type of operation.” Promotions were popular at Bargain Fair. A “Krazy Daze” sale at the Mentor Bargain Fair attracted 50,000 customers to the store on one day in 1954.
Other discount stores to come to Sandusky before K-Mart and WalMart, were Hill’s and Ontario, both located on Perkins Avenue. Bargain Fair, later known as Mr. Wiggs, was sold to Heck’s Department Store, a division of Tri-State Wholesale from Charleston, West Virginia, in 1981. After Heck’s closed it doors, Pat Catan’s operated at 2609 Venice Road for several years.