Store will sell confiscated items

by Jessica Steeno

Merchandise that once sat collecting dust in police storage will be sold at discount prices at a new store opening today.
The City Store, 1037 E. Franklin Ave., sells items confiscated by police, like bikes and jewelry.
University Police Sgt. Joe May said his department does not have any items to sell at the store. But he said he has set up contracts with The City Store’s manager, Mike Oker, to supply items in the future.
University Police will receive 50 percent of the profits from the items they contribute. The other half of the profits will go to People of Phillips, a neighborhood group.
The Minneapolis Police Department supplied all the merchandise for the store’s opening, but Oker said he would like to contract with other police departments in the future.
Oker, who is also a member of People of Phillips, said the store will sell electronics, compact discs, power tools, clothing, jewelry and bicycles. The store will not sell weapons or firearms.
Sgt. May said the University department will primarily use the store to sell the 65 to 85 bicycles his department confiscates each year.
University Police will determine the prices for items they contribute to the store. Oker said other Minneapolis Police departments have decided to let him set the prices.
Oker said he gauges item prices using educated guesswork. He and another store employee have retail experience and will base prices on that knowledge.
“People are going to be finding themselves real happy with our prices,” Oker said.
He said some items, especially clothing, were stolen from retail stores and later recovered. While many clothing items are new, the bulk of the merchandise is used.
Donn Vargas, executive director of People of Phillips, said the store’s initial profits will be used to pay staff salaries and general operating costs.
He said subsequent profits will support the neighborhood group’s Youth Enterprise Center. The center educates youths, ages 14 to 24, about owning and operating a business.