BinStar, where shopping is like a treasure hunt, opens first store in Boston

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BRIGHTON – A new bargain company has opened its first store in Boston and shopping there is like a treasure hunt. BinStar offers customers huge discounts on discarded and returned items from major retailers, and it’s helping the environment.

Founder Jack Laughlin used to work in the returns department for a big online seller. He says 7% to 8% of their inventory was ending up in a landfill because it wasn’t cost-efficient to process returns and ship them to stores.

“It started driving me crazy that we were paying good money to throw away good products,” Laughlin told WBZ-TV. “Returns cost money to process and shipping costs money. There is an opportunity to turn these problem children of retail into what became BinStar.”

BinStar takes those returns and castaway products from major retailers and sells them in a unique way. The items are thrown into bins, and on Saturday any items in the bins are $19. The price drops every day until Friday, and then it restarts.

BinStar shoppers
Shoppers at BinStar in Avon.

CBS Boston

“If you can name a retailer you have heard of odds are some of their stuff has ended up here,” said Laughlin. “The price every day decreases. Sunday, it goes to $15. Monday the bins go to $10. On Friday from 4 p.m. until we close everything is a buck. The whole thing is a game and people play it in different ways.”

“I feel like it was old Filene’s when I was growing up. You watched the tag at Filene’s and more of the hunt,” said Debby Abner, who was in the store while her husband was waiting in the car. “We were on our way home, and I needed to stop. I said I would go for 10 minutes, and I’ve been in here for a half an hour.”

They have sold everything from wedding dresses to PlayStations. They even sold a motorcycle transmission. Laughlin says it’s entertaining for his teams to sort a new shipment because they have no idea what might come in.

Pierre Granzoit has been to the BinStar in Avon, Massachusetts just about every day it has been open. Laughlin has the receipts to prove it. Granzoit bought a $400 invisible fence for his two dogs, and it only cost him $20.

“Sometimes I find stuff worth $200 to $300, and you can buy them here for $19,” smiles Granzoit.

They have had a line 200 people deep just to get in on a Saturday when the most expensive items hit the $19 bins to start the week. One of their regulars shows up to the line with binoculars to try to get a peek inside.

“He will be literally binoculars pressed against glass to say I am going to go here, then here. People run plays like we are football team,” laughs Laughlin. “There are customers who have become friends in their love of bargains.”

“Everyone does look around and see what [other people] got and they congratulate people,” smiles Abner. “We meander around and touch and feel things, and people ask do you need this? Do you need this?”

BinStar is headquartered in Avon, but they just opened a Brighton location last Saturday. They hope to open another spot in Saugus in the future. 

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