I Shoulda Bought It

It's not exactly a secret that we're wild about Marden's — you can read The Maven's take on it in The Boston Globe. With all due respect to the Marden's Lady (or is that Maaaahden's?) we don't have an accent that needs translation and we don't shop there because we're cheap. We shop there because it's like a treasure hunt — and, really, who doesn't love a ridiculous deal?

Sometimes, we leave empty-handed, but we've found Ann Taylor clothing, Tod's driving mocs, model-skinny Ralph Lauren runway samples, leather couches, Pottery Barn tables and other goodies for a fraction of retail. After shopping for months for her wedding dress — everywhere from Priscilla of Boston to House of Brides in Bangor — The Maven found her silk, hand-beaded designer gown at Marden's in Calais for $99. When her tailor heard the price, she said the fabric alone was worth more than that.

Until recently, the best thing about Marden's has also been the worst thing about Marden's: You truly have no idea what you're going to find. In Brewer, for example, savvy shoppers always show up on Tuesday evening, when they unload new stock. But now, they don't have to.

Marden's recently launched a redesigned Web site and added a feature that shows which stores are getting what. Store blogs give more detailed information. There's even a place to view this week's newspaper ads, just in case you missed them. The site is, in a word, fabulous. Simply click on the column down the left-hand side of the page and you'll learn that the Lewiston furniture department just received new loveseats, Brewer just got in a shipment of women's clothing from a home-shopping channel, and all stores just received pine and cedar wainscot.

That's Marden's for you: always thinking of ways to save (in this case, a trip). Now, you truly have no excuse to say you shoulda bought it.


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