Thursday, November 5, 2009

J. Crew Clearance Center, Arden, NC...It Is as Awesome as it Should Be!!!

I have to be fairly quick in this post, but I definitely want to give you the highlights of my trip to the Arden, NC, J. Crew Clearance Store. There is a closer store to me in Lynchburg, VA, but that is still about a 2.5 hour drive, so I have never been there (but do plan on it someday...hopefully with some of my DC JCA friends). My hubby was down in Asheville, NC, for a conference at the GORGEOUS Grove Park Inn and Spa, and he decided that he needed his family around, so the three of us tagged along. :)

I certainly enjoyed Asheville to its fullest, and even got to go the very yummy Tupelo Honey while I was there...AppGal, you were SO right about its delicious menu, but I knew that at least part of the time I was there I would HAVE to go 20 miles outside of the city to visit the smaller enclave of Arden. I mean, yes, I did visit it mainly for me, but I also knew I would have my JCA blogroll place revoked by Alexis if I didn't go to this clearance center and report back my findings. So you all know, AppGal has been there before and did a very nice write-up of her experience, as well.

Turns out we had kind of different experiences while visiting. (Granted, AppGal visited at a different time of year...so that may be why she found less "deals" and I found less shoes to ogle.)

I found a lot of tempting goodies in my hour or so there. I have created a polyvore for you all to peruse so you can see the details, but let me put it to you this way...if you are ever in western North Carolina for any reason, and you are travelling I-40, stop by. It is worth the 20 extra miles or so off the highway.

Here are some things I want you all to know:

1. Your GPS can find this location (1 Clifford Way, Arden, NC). It is not that far off the beaten path. However, if on the way back to your hotel or location you request "no highways," you may very well end up driving on a mountain on a tiny-a** little road. Yes, this happened to me. Alexandria has very few hills. I was actually told by my realtor to avoid buying a place near a fairly steep hill (what we here in NOVA call hills) because of my fear of hills. It was an interesting drive back to the hotel. I obviously survived, no thanks to Miss "I drive these here mountains all the time" teenage girl willing to tailgate me on the entire drive on the mountain.

2. If you have kids, the clearance store has toys. Oh, yes they do. Thank you, very very kind people of this center for thinking of all of us mommies whose toddlers may recognize J. Crew (and shout "ooh, J. Crew momma" from the back of the car) but really don't enjoying shopping at said J. Crew. :)

3. Speaking of kids, they have crewcuts. Not very recent crewcuts, but crewcuts nonetheless. I bought three items. Two from spring 2009 and one from fall 2007.

4. They are NOT an outlet. Everything they sell is from the actual "J. Crew" retail store. There are no double diamonds, etc.

5. If you ever see a really good price for something on ebay, and it has a mysterious designation of "tag marked with a black line to prevent returns," the person selling it has bought it either from the J. Crew Clearance Center (Paisley Petunia, an Ebay store I adore, does sell these things, and if you look, they are from Virginia, so they probably buy their items from the Lynchburg clearance center) or from TJ Maxx or Rugged Wearhouse.

6. It is probably worth buying these items with the tagged marked to prevent returns, because the clearance stores do NOT do charge-sends, as one of my blog friends tried when she saw the great deal I got on the stadium-cloth Winnie Jacket. The two Winnies that I purchased (one for me and one for HeidiG.) had nary a thing wrong with them (and the other items--nothing wrong there, either). Turns out that sometimes the retail stores get returns and instead of going to the warehouse, some of them get sent to the clearance store. Why current items go there is beyond me, but, hey, it worked out for us in the end! I am sure some of the items have issues, but I didn't see anything on the items I looked at (and I am a very careful observer...I have to be frugal with my money now as a SAHM/sometimes substitute teacher).

7. One place you will see the "black line through tag to prevent store returns" means that the item may potentially have an issue is at places like TJMaxx or Rugged Wearhouse. I have seen items at these stores that are from J. Crew that have missing buttons or a seam that is wonky, etc. But that said, I bought a Super 120s Black two-button jacket in a size 4 at Rugged Wearhouse that had a button missing. That was all. And it cost $25. Down from $235.

8. The hours at the clearance store seem super-friendly, like 10 am to 8 pm on M-Sat., and 12-6 on Sundays (maybe...didn't check Sunday hours as closely).

9. The staff were very sweet and helpful. I think they liked my kids. :)


Here I am outside the store. I had to take the pic myself, so don't laugh too hard. It wasn't like I could get CW to take it for me. :) I am wearing the Liberty print button-down from last spring, the pewter one with the big florals on it. I saw NO liberty print items that day...sadly.


Items in this set:
J Crew jacket, $245
J Crew jacket, $178
J Crew hoodie, $70
J Crew top, $158
J Crew tote bag, $298

Here is the polyvore of what I did get. Note--the cashmere cardi is actually a paler, heathered silver color that is just divine with my skin tone (I normally can't wear greys very well, so I was pleased to find this). Another thing, that navy schoolboy blazer? I bought it in an 8, and the 8 is BACKORDERED until sometime next year. Crazy. And the sherpa hoodie? I had bought it in the same color and same size just last week, and knew it would be on my doorstep, but for $30, I knew this was a great price, so I just chanced it. Turns out it is THE SAME exact hoodie, just 40 dollars cheaper. Yes. That is all. I am returning the new one this weekend. The one with the black mark through the tag--it's the keeper for me.

I wish I could get to a Clearance Center every weekend and help more people out (HeidiG. seemed pretty happy to hear I scored her a Winnie for well under retail), but not in my cards...however, I will make sure that anytime I am on I-40, I take a tiny little detour to the west to Arden. :)

Questions? I should be able to answer sometime tomorrow (along with commenting back on my last two posts).

30 comments:

MMM said...

You already know how jealous I am of you (and Heidi) on scoring those Winnies! It looks like you had a ton of great finds though!! Good for you! (:

Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I have to go now so I can talk to my husband about why our next vacation NEEDS to be in NC! :-P

Kathy said...

Thanks for the recap of the trip! Seashell and I are headed on a road trip to FLA and you know we will be stopping here!

kristin said...

Thanks for the review. I am from Asheville and have been to all of the lovely places you mentioned (tupelo honey has the BEST sweet potato pancakes!). I am going to be visiting Asheville in a few weeks and I will definitely be visiting the clearance center! I can't wait! Congrats on all of your great finds!

Summerilla said...

I am totally jealous - $90 for the winnie? Seriously. Oh I want to road trip to NC right now! I think I'm going to save up some serious money and take a vaca down there and buy everything!!

Thanks for sharing - I'm jealous of AppGal and how close to the store she is!! DC JCA's need to go visit AppGal! :)

ashley said...

WOW!!! you got some great stuff! so lucky! i really wanna get over there now!

silver_lining said...

Oooh, how FUN! Thanks for the detailed report - what a great haul you got!

tastymoog said...

Congrats on your deals! I can't believe I never visited this or the place in Lynchburg when I lived in cville. Could have been a fun day trip!

Jenn said...

Dina -
I live 45 minutes outside of Lynchburg and make a trip to our J Crew Clearance Center about once a month. You need to come down sometime! There are the same deals and steals in this clearance center. It amazes me that I can find items that are still selling for full price online and in stores for about 50 to 75% off. For those of you who have not ventured into one of the clearance centers, all shoes are $70 (not sure about flats - they may be cheaper), all cashmere is $50, most blazers are $50-$75, most tops like the Victoria, Kelsey, etc. are $30, most wool coats are $70-$100. It is a J Crew lovers paradise! I also look at paisleypetunia's Ebay offerings but I'm always hesitate to buy because I know they get the items from the clearance center and they are charging double (or more) then what they paid for it.
Even though the prices are low, I can still walk of out there doing a lot of damage to my wallet!!

MMM said...

Kathy: I just sent you a message on Polyvore! :)

Also, I just wanted to mention that I spoke w/ a SA at the Arden Distribution Center earlier today and she said that they are having a HUGE warehouse sale this Saturday (Nov. 6th)!

CheesyGoodness said...

Awesome scores at the Clearance center! The yellow Winnie will look great on you. Thanks for sharing the photos from the baptism/birthday party. Your behbeh is scrumptious! Love her crown and your dress, too.

amy kelinda said...

What GREAT DEALS! I've never even heard of this clearance center, but now I feel like I have to visit, haha! Someday... And how incredible that you found that EXACT same hoodie for way cheaper! Come on, J.Crew fairies, send me some of dinagideon's Crew-luck my way!

Patina said...

oh, i'm so jealous of your winnie coat!!! i love all your fab buys. please let me know how the leather holds up on your campo tote. I just love mine,but the SA told me that some are having issues. thanks so much and a big *cyber hug* for all your wonderful words of encouragment and support over the last few days.
oh, can you believe my word verification is totedne...must be a sign that the campo tote is in my future :-)

HeidiG said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!

So excited to see you this weekend and pick up my new Winnie. You are so awesome for doing that. Well, you're awesome anyway... So in for a field trip to Lynchburg. But given the proximity to the holidays...maybe an early spring road trip? Save my pennies until then...

Can't wait to see all your purchases in person!

Rosa said...

OMG, I am about to pass out after reading about all the amazing deals you got. Really? I am so jealous. I am going to NC this Thanksgiving and I am going there, it sounds like heaven!!!

Belinda K said...

Great scores at the Clearance Center, Dina! Well done!
Did you just LOVE Grove Park Inn? It's one of my favorite places in the fall!

MMM said...

If any of you ladies live near this Clearance Center and are willing to make the trip this weekend- I will pay you (in advance through PayPal) to pick something up for me!!! Pretty please... Just send me an email: holly.leiskau@gmail.com

I'm desperate! :-P TIA for any help!

HeidiG said...

Now I feel guilty.

MMM - we'll put you on speed dial when we do our Lynchburg field trip. :)

MMM said...

Ha, ha... Speed dial might not be a bad idea though! :-P

But please DON'T feel guilty! Be excitied! :D You both deserve too!

gigiofca said...

So basically our 1st national JCA gathering will be a the clearance center, right?

Excellent post. Thanks for the details!!

Rosa said...

gigiofca, that is an excellent idea. Let's do it!!!

MMM said...

I'm in!

OneFashionistaDiva said...

omg! you got such awesome deals!!!! i literally just told my husband that i want to go up there next weekend. it there a best time to go? shipment dates?

OneFashionistaDiva said...

omg! you got such awesome deals!!!! i literally just told my husband that i want to go up there next weekend. it there a best time to go? shipment dates?

dinagideon said...

Hi, all! Wow...there is a lot of really interested folks out there in a national trip to Arden, NC. I don't know that they would know what hit them. :) LOL. Their store isn't all that big, but I know all of us could find some awesome things there. Maybe someday soon this could actually come to fruition!!! I am seeing HeidiG. tomorrow...hmm...

And onto the questions you all had...

Jenn: Thanks for adding to the discussion. I remember the pricing at Arden was very similar...which is why I knew everyone would be so excited. I really want to get down to Lynchburg and soon...maybe some pre-Christmas shopping???

Cheesy Goodness: I love it...behbeh, I need to start calling her that...so sweet and precious! :)

Amy Kelinda: I want some more of my luck, too! ;) I have been on the other side of things far too often, buying something at full price and then one week later it's all 75% off and free shipping! Let's make our own luck and get down to these clearance stores more often!

Patina: I wonder what they mean by "issues?" The tote is made of a leather that scratches easily, but eventually it will be all soft and worn-in looking, and I think I will love it even more...but maybe that kind of "patina--haha couldn't resist" is too much for some consumers? I normally buy patent leather for that reason, but I JUST had to have the Campo Tote, at that price, and with how pretty it is, I couldn't resist! :) I think it will be yours...for sure!

HeidiG.: If pre-holidays don't work, then yes, I say February. February is kind of a hard month and it would be so much fun... :)

BelindaK.: I am so in love with Asheville, esp. the Grove Park Inn. I am so going back...hopefully when they have a special, because otherwise, woo, it is a pretty penny to stay there (thank you, hubby's work)...

Gigiofca: This must happen...how cool would that be?

OneFashionistaDiva: Well, supposedly they have sales once a month (and today, 11/6/09 was the day--too bad I wasn't there today), so I would try to make it work with one of those dates. As far as shipments go, I have no idea on that...maybe AppGal does? But I suspect any day you go, you will likely find something for yourself. They had many things in my size, and in great condition, and so far below retail that I was stoked. A sale on top of that may have made me explode!!! ;) Have fun when you go and let us know how you liked it!!!

fabumom in nc said...

I have now been educated on the clearance centers. I live in NC and never knew about the Arden store! Can you believe that? I live about 3-3 1/2 hrs. from Asheville. Now, I understand what the black marks on ebay items mean. Thanks so much for all of the wonderful information.

AppGal said...

Yeah! Road trip to visit me! I like Summerilla's idea :)

crewlade drinka said...

hey dina! thanks for all the info. knew about the store already from appgal but your post came at a great time for me, since we drove up from atlant to chapel hill, nc to see the folks this weekend! we had a short detour and only a small time to shop but it was great. funny story, when I walked up to the store, I noticed a sign that said "sample sale" whith an arrow pointing to side of the store (basically looked like nowhere b/c there was a fence and grass. i was going to ask once inside, but I forgot b/c I saw all the boots and coats right away and was distracted! (more in a minute) first, I would say that yes, you can get a great deal here, but if there is something specific you want, call first, b/c you don't want to be disappointed. second, there is a pretty wide selection of different things and sizes. I got 2 pair flat nottingham boots in brown and gray (fab buy!) but they didn't have my size in other shoes I wanted. I was hoping to find a black frances (long sleeved) but none. as I went to check out, I remembered the sign and asked about it. well, guess what?! there WAS a big sample sale going on around the back at a side door(i should have realized why the parking lot was full!) my husband told me later that he didn't understand why there were carloads of girls jumping out of their cars and RUNNING to the side of the building!! (he waited int car for me) anyway, it was a madhouse, everything jumbled together in boxes, people trying on stuff in the middle of the floor (no mirrors btw) the only thing on hangers were the coats. I didn't have any time to shop at that point b.c we had to get to our destination. I did try on and get a double cloth peggy coat (hol 07) in bright poppy. very cute. its sort of a trench style with a tie waist. as I was contemplating the purchase, i said to my hub, its only $50(wool coats were 50), the sales lady said, oh no, that's not 50 thats 20, its not wool! me- are you sure?? so yeah, I paid $20 and tax for this !(now i was pretty sure it was wool, but I didn't argue, and have since confirmed it IS wool) they told me the sample sale had items from lynchburg, arden store and samples (my coat was a sample)wow!! very excited about my purchase. as I was leaving I noticed a LOT of cute short coats/jackets that I didn't see initially being tried on (people were grabbing anything interesting and putting in theese big plastic bags and then once done shopping were trying all on) so basically there was alot more stuff there than I saw b.c they all got there before me but there's always next time!

also, another funny-
I had already looked atall the coats in the clearance store and moved on when I noticed this lady wearing the purply ingenue coat and I thought, Where did she see that one? I waited and waited for her to take it off but she never did. finally, I realizedit must be HER ACTUAL coat. I thought she was just trying it on and wearing so no one else would get it while she finished shopping. duh(but, it was not buttoned up wool coat cold!)

for everyone, feeling like they are missing a great deal, DON'T! you can call them and get on their email list and they will let you know about the sales and you can always call to check about specific things you are wantign (as long as you can get there to get it!) its about 3.5 from me, so I don't think I will go often except when already heading that way. have to figure gas money and time driving. I hope this post is helpful and not too insanely long but had to share- even my hubs was excited to get those deals thought the detour was worth (and he generally super impatient!)

crewlade drinka said...

oh my gosh! i can't believe how long my post is! sorry!

tres tippy said...

ooh thanks so much for sharing the details of this shopping trip! i need a reason to go to NC or Lynchburg like right now! :)

Alexis said...

Thank you so much for sharing all this information with us. :) I cannot believe the prices!!! I am so jealous of your trip. ;)