Clark Howard

10 surprising things you might not know about Dollar Tree

If you’re into cheap everyday items, you probably love Dollar Tree! This discount chain, headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia, has more than 13,600 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces.

REALTED: 8 of Clark’s favorite dollar store items

There’s more to Dollar Tree than meets the eye!

Read on for some well-known and some obscure facts about the beloved dollar store.

This $1 cleaner gets high marks from customers

'LA's Totally Awesome' stands up to the toughest jobs for just a buck — and has legions of fans as our own Katy Wolk-Stanley found out when she put it to the test.

The concentrated cleaner/degreaser is formulated to work on a multitude of surfaces, from air conditioners to rust stains, chrome to driveways. In all, the bottle includes directions for 43 different types of surfaces.

Worried about toxic chemicals in cheap products like this one? Don’t be!

LA's Totally Awesome oxygen cleaner even received an 'A' from the Environmental Working Group. (Considered the standard for rating the toxicity of personal care products.)

Dollar Tree is a ‘true’ dollar store

In the world of dollar stores, there are two kinds of players. There are the true dollar stores like Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only where everything is $1 or less — no exceptions.

And then there are places like Dollar General and Family Dollar, which are dollar stores in name only. Their merchandise is generally low priced, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be $1 or less. You’ll find things in their aisles at a variety of price points.

Incidentally, Dollar Tree recently completed an acquisition of Family Dollar. But you shouldn't expect everything to suddenly become $1 at Family Dollar locations now that they've come into the Dollar Tree fold; they'll continue with their historical multi-price point business model.

The acquisition really just allows Dollar Tree to reach a broader range of customers. While Dollar Tree targets customers primarily in suburban areas, Family Dollar targets low and lower middle income households in urban and rural locations.

RELATED: This meal serves 6 people for only $7! (And it’s so good!)

The store will sell $1 steaks from time to time

For those with an adventurous palette, Dollar Tree sometimes carries $1 ribeye steaks in stores that have a freezer section. The frozen, boneless beef steaks come pre-seasoned in a brine.

The steaks are from the brand Stampede, which is available in other major stores. The Dollar Tree steaks are just a smaller portion size.

Dollar Tree’s business delivery services are cheaper than the warehouse clubs

A lot of warehouse clubs have business delivery services that require you to pay a membership fee and maybe even have an order minimum. But that's not the case with Dollar Tree Direct to Business.  Everything is $1 and you can get free shipping with in-store pickup to your local Dollar Tree.

Dollar Tree Direct to Business has a specific focus on the following industries:

  • Florists and gift shops
  • Restaurants, bars and hospitality
  • Wedding and event planners
  • Nursing homes, hospital and care facilities
  • Religious and nonprofit organizations
  • Cleaning and janitorial services

‘Bonus Buys’ offer maximum product size for your dollar

One of the gripes about dollar stores in general is that you get smaller product sizes than you normally would elsewhere. Clark has long fussed about how Barbasol shaving cream — a longtime dollar store crowd-pleaser — was once 14 ounces and then it became 11 ounces. Now it's a six-ounce can at Dollar Tree.

But there's a solution to that kind of problem. Check out the Bonus Buys section of Dollar Tree's website. That's where you can find staples like household goods, food and cosmetics with extra product thrown in for free…still at $1 a pop!

The disposable razors and ovulation predictors get high marks!

Here are two unlikely Dollar Store buys that have great reviews online!

First up, we have Personna Twin Blade Plus Disposable Razors, 5-ct. Packs, which 91% of reviewers would recommend to a friend.

'The Personna Twin Blade razor is fairly close to a Gillette Good News disposable. My observation is it gives 85% as close a shave as a Gillette,' a user named abcEasyAs123DoeRayMe123 writes online. 'Considering the Personna is about 1/6th the cost, it should be considered for those in need of a decent razor. Thanks Dollar Tree.'

Which brings us to the Assured Ovulation Predictor, which 86% of reviewers would recommend to a friend:

'Trying to get preggers can be expensive when ovulation predictors cost about $7 a stick in the stores (and you have to use them around 7 days in a row),' user mjbowers77 writes online. 'These dollar store products worked great for me and saved me so much money!'

Liquidation sales offer the chance for deeper discounts

Discontinued toys can sell for big bucks on eBay. All the stuff Dollar Tree can't sell in stores winds up online. Just check their closeouts and liquidations page.

You can be the first to get a crack at buying a case of Sesame Street Bath-Buddy Elmo Bath MittsCAT Mini Plastic Construction Vehicles and so much more.

As the time that I wrote this, Dollar Tree was liquidating Gear'd Up Junior Friction-Powered Licensed Ford Toy Vehicles, 2¾' for a $1 a piece. (Minimum quantity 1 case of 24 units.)

The same toy car was being sold on eBay for $4.99!

You can buy in bulk online and get free shipping with in-store pickup

Maybe you’re planning a wedding this summer and you want 24 fluted glass ivy bowls for your floral arrangements, or perhaps you need 36 beautiful taper candles for the tables where your guests will sit. But you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg!

Good news: You can buy in bulk online and select the free ship-to-store option. When your order comes in, you simply go to the store and show your e-mail confirmation and ID  to a manager.

Of course, you can buy any product Dollar Tree sells online in bulk — not just wedding and bridal supplies!

Dollar Tree’s Deals sub-brand is going away

There are 222 Deals store locations across 19 states, focusing on selling everyday essentials, party, seasonal and home products in a multi-price point environment.

But you can say goodbye to them all — 217 Deals stores will be converted to Dollar Tree and the remaining five will be converted to Family Dollar.

Dollar Tree Canada is the place where ‘Everything’s $1.25’

Clark has long joked about wage inflation driving up the price of goods at the dollar stores. Because let's face it: You don't have a compelling brand if you have to become Two Dollar Tree!

But amazingly, Dollar Tree Canada does big business selling at a higher price point. While the stores in Canada are still called Dollar Tree, everything they sell is…wait for it…$1.25! 'Everything's $1.25' is their trademarked phrase.

RELATED: 6 best dollar store buys