Our company may be the only retailer in the country to have described a product as something that we have no idea whatsoever what this is, but it's priced right, don't you think?
Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) April 30, 2012
Happy Approximate Birthday to Them.
American Science & Surplus: http://www.sciplus.com, long famous as a nationwide source for peculiar merchandise at bargain prices, celebrates its 75th birthday this year. More or less. During its long history the official masthead of the company, which now has brick-and-mortar, catalog and Internet divisions, has told customers that it was “established about 1937.” Owner Philip Cable says “the early years are a little shaky in the paperwork department.”
Founded as a mail-order business to sell surplus lenses, AS&S now has stores in Geneva, Ill., Chicago and Milwaukee in addition to its 70,000 square foot warehouse where they process over 100,000 orders a year, from phone, mail and over 1.2 million visits to their popular sciplus.com website. Long famous for their “old timey” hand-drawn product pictures (they have an inventory of 20,000 pieces of line art), in 2008 they added color photos to the website. “Did wonders for our sales of slime—particularly the neon green line,” Cable says.
The catalog and website, as well as the store shelves, are known for irreverent, not to say silly, product descriptions. Customers have called it a “bizarre bazaar” and “a flea market sponsored by Mensa.” Those customers include set designers for Hollywood films, TV shows and theater productions, including Contagion, Top Chef, Mythbusters and Martha Stewart, along with national scientific laboratories, major universities, inventors, teachers, DIYers and 12-year-olds. “When you sell everything from lenses to lava lamps to borosilicate lab glass and rubber chickens, you get a pretty eclectic customer base,” Cable says.
He and other store personnel have appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN and others demonstrating odd products and promoting science in general. (That lens business has grown to include a wide range of telescopes and microscopes.) Their popular Star Parties, hosted by renown Astronomer Paul Chapman, have become such a huge draw, that both local celebrities love to participate as co-hosts. Out of town celebrities, like NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Michelle Thaller, for example, have been flown in by Goddard Space Center to participate in the fun.
The stock is mostly surplus, one-time purchases of close-outs, over-runs, manufacturer’s errors and items whose time may not have come—or may have passed—and as such it changes constantly. The place is popular with bargain hunters and oddity-seekers in general, plus people who buy just to keep getting the catalog for its humor and occasionally brutal honesty. This company may be the only retailer in the country to have described a product as something that “we have no idea whatsoever what this is, but it’s priced right, don’t you think?”
During 2012, Cable says, “we’ll offer 75th Birthday Specials all year—because we have no idea of the exact date the place started doing business. We do think it’s a nice touch, though, that the shopping cart was invented the same year we began. Pretty much.”
American Science & Surplus’s website: http://www.sciplus.com has become an oft-traveled destination on the web as well, with over 24 million web hits per month and 175,000 unique visitors each month as well! Check out American Science & Surplus at: http://www.sciplus.com to locate a retail store in Chicago, Milwaukee & Geneva 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for phone numbers and addresses. Folks can call: 888-724-7587 for their very own hard-copy of their wildly popular catalog!
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