CLOSEOUT STORE TO OPEN

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first 50below, a frozen food closeout store, is scheduled to open here next week.According to the owner, Charles Huber, the 3,000-square-foot unit will offer 125 stockkeeping units representing all frozens categories, including pizza, meats, vegetables and desserts -- all to be sold at a 50% discount, hence the banner name. Huber plans on opening two additional 50below units this

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first 50below, a frozen food closeout store, is scheduled to open here next week.

According to the owner, Charles Huber, the 3,000-square-foot unit will offer 125 stockkeeping units representing all frozens categories, including pizza, meats, vegetables and desserts -- all to be sold at a 50% discount, hence the banner name. Huber plans on opening two additional 50below units this month.

"We're concentrating on putting 10 to 12 in metro Indianapolis, so we can take advantage of truckload orders coming into town," he said.

Hoping to draw customers from grocery stores, Huber plans on locating his stores close to supermarkets. Indeed, one area broker said the first is on a heavily trafficked highway located near stores operated by Meijer Inc. and Kroger Co.

"When shoppers are thinking about frozen shrimp, or steaks, or riblets, or chicken, we want them to think about us, too," Huber explained. "We want them to say, 'I'm going supermarket shopping, and while I'm there, I'll stop by 50below and pick up some pizza.' "

Huber said the target demographic group is easily defined. "This is for anybody who wants to save money."

50below will deal directly with manufacturers when available, but Huber is currently setting up an in-house broker. Some of the vendors on-line include Tyson Foods, ConAgra and Sara Lee.

"We can clean up lots of odds and ends that [manufacturers] have in their warehouse," he said. "If they've got 10 or 20 cases left, I think we can be valuable to them."

Huber previously served as a merchandising executive with the Wholesale Club, Indianapolis. Prior to that, he was with Shopper's Choice, a hard goods closeout operation with 31 stores in the Buffalo area.