Our Harrison store has been a staple in the community for 20 years... even more than that if you count when we were there the first time. We were one of the very few general merchandise retailers in town. We started downtown on Second Street for quite a few years in a small building. Upon having difficulties with the building and rent, we couldn't maintain our presence in Harrison. We were thrilled when a few years later, in 1998, a retail space became available and we were once again able to return to Harrison. Ironically, this location was one of the first "normal, wide open retail spaces" that we would occupy.
We were once at the end of our plaza with a grocery store next to us. Then the grocery store built a new location and we expanded. Then Save A Lot wanted to come in with us so we "scooched" inside and gave them the end to enlarge the space. This is where we now stand. We operate next to Subway so we are starving by noon from smelling the aromas. As you drive by on Business 27, you have to look past the Jack Pine Bar and Restaurant to see where we are tucked away behind them.
Come in to the bright, wide open space of Merchandise Outlet. Every day brings new merchandise to the floor. Harrison has been notable for being our fastest pace store... ironic for the laid back lifestyle of the surrounding lakeside dwelling environment. As stated before, Merchandise Outlet is almost a staple in the community. I think this is partly due to the fact that almost half of our current staff are originals, or close to it. Coming into the store, for many, is like coming in to visit friends and family.
Harrison is made up of a small amount of population who are here weathering around the lakes in the winter enjoying ice fishing and snowmobiling - but come spring... a population boom. On many days starting in April or May, you will hear the sounds of greetings like family reuniting for a holiday season; recognizing faces as friends return to the lakes for the summer and can't wait to get into Merchandise Outlet to see what treasures it holds.
Norma is the store manager in Harrison. She began as a store manager in Evart in 1995 and has been a manager in Mt. Pleasant and Cadillac, as well as Harrison. She currently also has the role of regional manager in which she leads and mentors other store managers throughout Michigan. Norma is a dedicated, proud pillar of Merchandise Outlet and a dear matriarchal figure to almost all. Norma is dedicated to her staff, the company, and her customers; "In the spring, our snowbirds come back from spending their winters south and have to give hugs because they missed us. That's when you know what you're doing is the right job."
Kim spends most of her time in the back room receiving all the new merchandise every day. Occasionally, she gets to meander amongst the merchandise on the floor for stocking and straightening, or you will find her backing up the cashiers up front. She is a critical source of leadership and information in Harrison as she shares her 20 years of experience with staff and customers. One of Kim's favorite things about working at Merchandise Outlet is the small group of close-knit staff who have created a team of reliance and caring for each other and doing a good job.
If Ann can't bring a smile to your face, then you are just having a bad day. Her laughter and energy is just infectious. An awful lot of her time is spent receiving merchandise in the back in tandem with Kim, but she sneaks out as often as she can to see everyone. Ann, also is indispensable with her 19 years of Merchandise Outlet experience. Ann loves Merchandise Outlet because of all the great people she works with and meets. "It's like the customers and employees are one big, happy family. And it helps that we find such great deals here!"
And this quiet smile is Michelle. Michelle is out on the floor helping customers or at the cashier's station on most days. She has been with Merchandise Outlet for about 4 years, with a lapse in 2017 as she battled with cancer, but has returned with a vengeance. Michelle enjoys working in the vivacious atmosphere of employees, and ever-changing environment of merchandise.
Emily has been with Merchandise Outlet for about 3 1/2 years. She came in for a Christmas season and we just couldn't let her go. Emily has become a mainstay in the daily stocking and re-stocking of shelves as she gets the first hand in displaying, organizing and presenting all of the new goods. She is proud to present the varieties of merchandise and the great deals that are offered and enjoys working around wonderful people.
This is Lisa with her warm, genuine smile welcoming guests like they are being welcomed into her home. Lisa loves being a part of the Harrison team of reliance, respect and caring. She also enjoys being able to build a relationship with customers in such a short period of time. "To be honest, I love everything about my job!"
Kayla is a relatively new member of the Harrison team. She has been familiarizing herself for quite a while as a loyal customer, until she finally signed up on the team. Which is crazier, Kayla, the twins at home or the team at work?
Angie, by far, is the newest employee. I actually caught her here on her first day. That doesn't mean that she is new to Merchandise Outlet, though. She has been a loyal customer (you know- the ones who come in at least a couple times a week!) for at least 5 years. She didn't hesitate to take the job at Merchandise Outlet as she has always enjoyed the cleanliness and organization of the store as well as truly loves everyone on the staff already.
Make sure that as you are heading up or down US 127, you run through Harrison and stop in at Merchandise Outlet, right on the main drag. We are in the plaza with Family Dollar and Sav-A-Lot. With some of our most seasoned staff and some of the most pleasant people you will meet, you are sure to have a great time browsing through some great merchandise and making some new acquaintances.