I’d never heard of AJ Wright until a few weeks ago when they emailed The Recessionists to say they were opening a new store in Norwalk, CA just north of LAX (Los Angeles Airport). AJ Wright invited me, and several other LA area bloggers (@mommymandy @mamaof3kids83 @rockinmama @mintcool @kariellen @adramaticmommy) in for a shopping challenge. They gave each of us a $100.00 gift card and set us loose in the store to see what bargains we could find. AJ Wright is not a household name in California as it is on the East Coast. However, the store is part of the TJX (TJ Maxx and Marshall’s ) family of companies and follows the same philosophy of offering name brands for less. Tomorrow, May 20, a new AJ Wright opens in the greater Los Angeles area in Norwalk. What can you expect to find there? Well, I am here to tell you , there are plenty of good deals in the store, however, you will need to spend some time digging for them. The store features brand-name family apparel and footwear, accessories, home essentials, giftware, cosmetics, fragrances, toys scrubs, plus sizes, luggage, pet accessories and pet carriers plus books and food items. There is plenty of merchandise and it runs the gamit from high-end to low-end. You have to be choosy when you shop there. But with some patience, and time spent digging through the racks, here are some of the things you might find. I have to admit, I didn’t take as much time as I might have ordinarily have taken since I went on a weekday after work. For maximum bargain hunting, I would recommend stopping in on a weekend.
Here are some of the deals I found, including of course my fabuless pink ballet flats from BCBG pictured above.
Name brand books, including a Patti LaBelle’s cookbook, which I have been dying to have since I meet Patti and she told me about her chili and other recipes. The book was only $7.99. I’ve seen it on Amazon for about $25.00. There are also kids books and bestsellers on the racks.
All kinds of PC accessories including cooling stations for your PC and laptop pads for when you watch TV. These tools are invaluable to a blogger! I stocked up on a laptop pad and plenty of memory sticks for all my blogging posts and images. It’s always good to have a back-up plan. I also found a great carry case for my digital camera with just the right length shoulder strap (price was $4.99).
Name brand electronics from Philips, Emerson and more. They have DVD players and CD players too. These are good items to put on your list for Father’s Day Gift Giving. Other items to look for are cell phone headsets and iPad carry cases.
For fashionistas on a budget, there are some great handbags like this one from Nine West, but there are knock-offs too. Pick and choose carefully here. Beware of the bags with misspelled designer names on them.
The fashion accessories area includes ELF cosmetics, leading fragrances and some hair products. I bought some good designer combs and and a high-tech eyebrow tweezer.
My final stop in the store was the gourmet food section. They had plenty of gourmet cookies including Mrs. Fields. Other items on the shelves were Olive Oil and Martini Mixes.
Bottom line, AJ Wright has some good deals. There is junk too, make no mistake. Junk is there at all the discount stores. That is why you have to take your time and pick through things carefully. Time is the trade- off sometimes for getting a deal. If you check out the grand opening tomorrow in Norwalk, here are some things you might be interested in . If you get there early, you could be one of the first 100 customers who will receive a $20 gift card before the store opens at 8 am. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a real model search to be the next face of AJWright if you visit the Norwalk Plaza store on Saturday, May 29 from 11 am to 4 pm).
One final thing I have to mention that I like about AJWright is their philosphy of giving back to the communities they move into. The store gives back to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and that is a very cool thing to support. I’m also glad to see a store moving into Norwalk, CA and bringing in jobs for the locals. Unemployment in California is still incredibly high. I saw 3 people come into the store while I was there to fill out job applications. That’s pretty amazing considering that I was only there for a short period of time. The job applicants were a sad reminder that there are many people out there looking for something much more important that the latest shopping find.
So that’s my AJWright story. I came, I shopped and I left with a good set of values for the price. Take that Ultimate Shopping Challenge. I can sniff a BCBG discounted item a mile away!!!