Tammy Flora of Hubbard knew when she saw the retail space available that her long-sought dream would come to fruition.
"How much more visibility can you get than being located between a pizza place and a liquor store?"
Flora was chatting about her dream while sitting in front of the relatively new Anything Goes discount and surplus store in Woodburn.
Located next to Papa Murphy's on Highway 99E, Flora did pick a busy area to set up shop. GW Hardware, a couple of supermarkets, Bi-Mart, Coastal Farm & Ranch and even another surplus outfit, Wheeler Dealer, are all within walking distance of Anything Goes, which is in the same location where Wallace Video peddled entertainment for decades.
Now the store space is filled with anything from clothing to air purifiers to small yardwork implements — all at discount prices.
Although she worked in retail a bit when she was younger, Flora has spent most of her adult working life as an accountant, and she still does. But operating a bargain retail establishment just seemed like something she was grooming for nearly her entire life.
"I've been a single mom for my whole adult life, so refurbishing things and looking for deals is something I have always done," she said. "To me it's an adventure going into stores like Wheeler Dealer or Ross Dress for Less to see what you can find. ... It's really an anything goes atmosphere."
Hence the store moniker and Flora's motto all in one.
"She always says that — Who knows? Anything Goes," store manager Alexis Ontiveros chimed in.
Raised in Stayton and now a Silverton resident, Ontiveros connects with that sentiment.
"I have three kids, so I appreciate finding bargains," she said. "I've worked in retail; I worked at Safeway for 2½ years, and I love working with people and being able to talk to people and hear their stories. It makes you grateful for what you have."
Ontiveros saw an ad on Craigslist and stopped by the shop early on, before Flora even had much of an inventory or setup. But both knew the fit was right.
"Alex can make anyone feel comfortable and relaxed. I wish I had that gift," Flora said.
Flora keeps her accounting hand active in the building's upstairs while also searching for deals and leaving the retail and customer-service tasks to Ontiveros and the handful of women who run Anything Goes.
Ontiveros said the store owner is a master at putting people where they excel and avoiding oft-dreaded workplace micromanagement.
When she is not locating various returns and overstocks, Flora finds fixable items. In that light there is one other crucial person in the Anything Goes fold: her 80-year-old father, Dan Flora, of Brooks, a lifelong mechanic who applies his skills to woodworking in retirement.
"My dad ... anything that is broken, he can fix. And he's also a fantastic woodworker," Flora said. "Sometimes you will find something like a weed eater that won't start, and he will find that it's a simple fix."
Flora marvels at how well her variety bargain shop has gained footing, despite surrounding impediments of the times. The concept was coming together as COVID-19 protocols were mounting; the store opened in September, just in time for wildfires to cast a pall over the area. And then there was the February ice storm and accompanying power failures.
"We are already where we wanted to be in a year's time," she said. "My hopefulness is that we can someday open another store in Salem."
What: Brand name discount and surplus merchandise
Where: 1505 N. Pacific Highway, Woodburn
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Web: www.anythinggoessurplus.com; Facebook, Anything Goes Surplus.
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