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Ollie’s Crowns America’s Biggest Cheapskate!

B.J. Clute Trumps 1,600 Contestants in Quest for Coveted Title

Winner Gets $2,500 from Ollie’s Bargain Outlet to Celebrate Chain’s 25th Birthday

Harrisburg, Pa. – Do you wash out sandwich bags and re-use them? Split open toothpaste tubes to scrape out the very last drop? Or separate two-ply toilet paper to turn one roll into two? If so, then you probably were among the 1,600 people vying for the title of “America’s Biggest Cheapskate” – a contest launched in August to celebrate the 25th birthday of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet – America’s foremost retailer of closeouts, salvage and surplus merchandise. Those were but a few of the unusual cheapskate techniques described by contestants in their 250-word essays. The America’s Biggest Cheapskate contest encouraged entrants to describe how Ollie’s Bargain Outlet fits into their frugal lifestyle and helps them make smarter financial choices.

The winner – judged America’s Biggest Cheapskate – is B.J. Clute from Erie, Pa. Ollie’s judges were captivated by Clute’s nomination, written by his wife, Carey, who described B.J.’s sometimes obsessive behavior when it comes to saving money. BJ has been known to unplug every appliance in his home when not in use – from the toaster to the microwave to the TV – all in an effort to slash costly electric bills. B.J.’s antics even made it difficult for Carey to find a late-night snack.

“One night, I sauntered out into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door – nothing,” Carey Clute wrote in her nomination. “Why wasn’t the refrigerator light shining? Because B.J. had taped it up so that he could save electricity every time the refrigerator door was opened.”

But what really won the judges over was B.J.’s unrelenting commitment to Ollie’s, the store that permitted him to eat and dress better while staying within his budget. Once, B.J. used a business trip to Quakertown, Pa., as an opportunity to visit a nearby Ollie’s. But would a true cheapskate rely on a taxi for the 4-mile roundtrip to the store? Never! B.J. emptied his suitcase and made the trek to Ollie’s – on foot! – returning later with his rolling bag in tow, this time stuffed with Ollie’s merchandise. Now, it seems that B.J.’s suitcase-toting trips to Ollie’s are over.

“Thankfully, we recently got an Ollie’s in Erie,” Carey Clute wrote. “Life is good.”

“We are excited to bestow this well-deserved honor on B.J.,” said Mark Butler, president and CEO, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. “Not only does he prove that shopping at Ollie’s helps consumers live on a budget while enjoying top-notch merchandise, he also demonstrates that Ollie’s has some of the most dedicated shoppers anywhere!”
Ollie’s officials worked closely with author and Woman’s Day “Money” editor Mary Hunt to select the America’s Biggest Cheapskate winners – and with more than 1,600 contest entries, the decision was not an easy one.
“I am thrilled to have been a part of the America’s Biggest Cheapskate selection process,” said Hunt, who has built a career around helping people make smart financial choices and stay out of debt. “B.J. is a true cheapskate. He understands the importance of living within his means and also knows that finding bargain-friendly retailers, such as Ollie’s, can improve our quality of living without breaking the bank.”
B.J. will receive a $2,500 Ollie’s gift card – a cheapskate’s dream – to be presented today at the Harrisburg Ollie’s location on Allentown Boulevard. Four first-place winners each will receive a $250 Ollie’s gift card. They are:
• Lynn Hughes, of Quakertown Pa., entertained the judges with a poem about her thriftiness.
• Jeff Garofalo, of Mechanicsburg, grew up shopping at Ollie’s with his dad, and says he knew his girlfriend was a keeper when he took her to Ollie’s on a date and she loved it!
• Dr. John Mast of Elizabethtown, Pa., shared extreme cheapskate habits, including baking a cake for his wife with ingredients salvaged from a grocery store dumpster.
• Pat Anderson of Manchester, Pa., nominated Pastor Bud of the Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene, who buys stacks of religious books – and his ties – from Ollie’s and loves to announce his purchases to the entire congregation. During his Sunday sermon, he’ll say “Ollie’s HAS…” and the congregants respond with “GOOD STUFF CHEAP!”
Judging from all the entries, Pastor Bud isn’t the only who thinks shopping at Ollie’s is a religious experience!

About Ollie’s Bargain Outlet
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, founded in 1982, is the largest retailer of closeouts, salvage and surplus merchandise in the Mid-Atlantic region. Famous for its signature catch-phrase Good Stuff Cheap, Ollie’s offers a huge variety of famous brand name merchandise at savings from 30-percent to 70-percent off the regular retail price, and the assortment is always changing. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet operates more than 50 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia and New York.


Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9AM - 9PM; Sunday: 10AM - 7PM