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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


New store items, thrift store prices

Offering items “half off its lowest price” is the motto of Joe Laque, co-owner
of The Trading Post at Ocean Pines, a new shop off Cathell Road. The Trading
Post will open Saturday, allowing customers to buy, sell or trade for anything
in the building.

The idea is to
feature a multitude of contractor tools and materials in the back, while the
front carries products for the home and leisure. Laque, who shares ownership
with his wife, Donna, ensures that everything available at the store will be at
least 40-50 percent off the average price of the same thing at other retail

“If I can buy it
and sell it, I will,” he said, explaining that his approach is to buy in bulk
from businesses around the area.

Because the bulk
purchase lowers the price per unit, he applies that discount to his own prices.
The result has been a variety of items from musical instruments, to sporting
equipment and even rare and unique items such as the double-decker oven that
will be for sale immediately after the shop’s opening.

“When people
come in, we want them to see something new each time,” Joe said. “You never
know what you’ll find.

 “We will have products for children,
parents and grandparents,” he said. “We have enough stock to fill this place for a year.”

Gearing up for
the holiday season, a large selection of Christmas sweaters and Halloween
costumes hang on the wall. At the moment, only children’s costumes are
available and consist of characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Thomas the Tank
Engine and Spiderman.

A large
assortment of hunting and fishing gear are examples of products the Laques
expect to stock all year long.

Other items such
as tents, lampposts and NFL licensed products – including large Ravens flags –
will be stored in the front.

As evidence of
the claim that shoppers will be able to find just about anything, Laque
revealed a collection of soda machines for sale.

“These are
perfect for the man cave,” Joe said.

In the back
section, not only will construction tools be for sale, but the Laques will also
offer larger products such as windows and doors.

Custom sheds
built by Joe will be available for purchase at any time. Since the Ocean Pines
Association has strict rules regulating a shed’s specifications, the Laques
customize them to meet the standards. All sheds will be delivered to each

While items will
already be offered at a steep discount, they could be available at an even
cheaper price, since the Laques will allow customers to trade-in or sell used
items that are still of good quality.

Most items sold
or traded-in will give people store credit, but higher-caliber such as high
definition televisions could earn the seller cash.

“If the item is
right, I will buy it,” Laque said.

Hanging on the
wall is a “Barter Board” on which any person can purchase a spot to put his or
her business card up on display for $1 per month or $10 for the whole year.

This is not the
only community service planned, as an outdoor flea market with items sold by
area residents is planned to be held in the parking lot behind The Trading Post
at Ocean Pines every month, starting in the spring.

For $10, anyone
can rent a table for the soon-to-be monthly event.

The Laques will
also write a monthly newsletter showcasing new items, unique products and goods
about to go out of stock for anyone who wishes to sign up to their mailing

Hailing from
Anne Arundel County, the family moved to Ocean Pines 12 years ago.

While continuing
to run Developmental Day Care Center in their home town, as they have done
since 1989, the Laques wanted to open a new business for additional income and
to bring more consumers to the shops off Cathell Road.

On deciding what
kind of venture the family wanted to open, Joe felt his experience selling
goods at flea markets was more than enough to create a thrift store.

“For years, I
have set up tables around town selling items from lingerie to power tools,” he

The store’s
layout has been finalized this week, as Laque built every display with the help
of one of his four children, Joe Jr.

The Trading Post
at Ocean Pines will be open every Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6
p.m. All hours are subject to change.

For additional
information or to sign up for the future flea markets, call Joe Laque at