Family Discount

Electric co-op provides long-term savings and support to multi-generational rural business

Two men posing in front of furniture for sale

Bailey’s Discount Center manager Dalton Bailey, left, talks with Darrell Marks, energy advisor at Kankakee Valley REMC. Marks first visited the store as a teenager in the 1980s shortly after the store opened. He recently worked with the store on lighting upgrades that received Power Moves rebates.

Northern Indiana native Darrell Marks first met Mark Bailey when, as a teenager in 1985, Marks and his dad bargain hunted at Bailey’s new store.

These days, Marks continues to meet with Bailey and several of his family members – offering savings of his own.

Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson, Ind., received $25,953 in Power Moves® rebates from Kankakee Valley REMC, it’s local electric cooperative. Marks, the energy advisor for Kankakee Valley REMC, worked with the store on the rebates for upgrading the lighting throughout the 200,000-square-foot store to LEDs, which are brighter and use less electricity than other kinds of lighting.

Customer selling an aisle of clothes at warehouse store

Bailey’s Discount Center sells a variety of products that are either closeout or discontinued. Staff members visit 40 trade shows a year to negotiate for products, which they sell at 40-60% less than retail price.

“We wanted to create a brighter and better experience for customers coming into the shop,” said Dalton Bailey, who is a manager at Bailey’s Discount Center and the son of Mark Bailey. “We get huge crowds in here. We can get 5,000 people on Saturdays, and we want to make the product looks good.”

Store employees immediately noticed the brighter light from the LEDs, particularly in the back of the store, Dalton Bailey said. The family also noticed the lower energy costs from the upgrade.

“Then you had the rebates to get everything done,” he added. “It was huge.”

Close up of countertops and cabinets

Matt Bailey, the brother of Bailey’s Discount Center founder Mark Bailey, created a business designing and installing cabinets and countertops. That business also is housed in the same facility as the discount center, which received Power Moves rebates for LED lighting in the facility.

Mark Bailey first opened the store in a 3,000-square-foot building offering closeout and discontinued products at a discount. The store’s success led to multiple moves through the decades; several previous buildings have since become storage to house products. The store sells virtually any kind of item sold in a department store, including furniture, clothing, food and seasonal items.

“I remember going into the old buildings with my folks,” said Marks, who has remained a loyal customer through the decades with purchases that include a freezer and encouraging friends to buy generators and other sale items. “The customer service is just fantastic.”

Kankakee Valley REMC has supported Bailey’s Discount Center as it has grown. The store received $7,670 in Power Moves rebates in 2013 for previous lighting upgrades, along with rebates in 2018 and 2019 for energy efficiency upgrades that included heating and cooling equipment.

Furniture for sale in a warehouse

Mark Bailey opened the discount center in 1985 in a 3,000-square-foot building, and today the store is housed in a 200,000-square-foot structure. Previous buildings that used to house the store now are used for storage.

“Kankakee Valley REMC has been great to work with,” Dalton Bailey said. “We always have a contact there if we have a question about power, or we have a power issue.”

Dalton Bailey first learned about the family business as a child when he would visit his dad at the store. His grandfather, who is now in his 80s, worked with Mark Bailey when he opened the store and still works there today. Mark Bailey’s brother Matt developed another business creating and installing cabinets and countertops that is housed in Bailey’s Discount Center.

“It’s extremely enjoyable. I get to work with my grandfather, dad and uncle basically every day,” said Dalton Bailey, whose sister Emily also works in the family business. “We ‘re all very fortunate that we enjoy working together.”

Inside of busy warehouse store

Shoppers at Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson, Ind. The store received $25,953 in Power Moves® rebates from Kankakee Valley REMC for upgrading to LED lights, which are brighter and use less energy than other kinds of lighting. The nearly 40-year-old business has grown through the decades and received support from its local electric cooperative for previous projects.

The Baileys visit nearly 40 trade shows across the U.S. annually to meet and negotiate with businesses for products. The store sells most products at 40-60% below retail price.

“We definitely have our locals, but we sit in a town of North Judson, which has a population of 1500 people,” Dalton Bailey said. “On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s nothing to see people drive 1 hour, 2 hours to come shop.”

The Baileys have added office space at the front of the store that is leased to different organizations, and Matt Bailey opened a coffee shop that also serves sandwiches. He also is planning to build a new restaurant next to the coffee shop just inside of Bailey’s Discount Center.

“I think we’re on record pace in sales this year,” Dalton Bailey said. “We had a record year last year. We’ve been extremely fortunate in that regard.”


Summer Enrollment

A ringing school phone breaking the summer silence was music to Buddy Faulkner’s ears.

It was about an electric cooperative program offered to the school district where he worked. It began a multi-year partnership that led to thousands of dollars in rebates – and more in long-term energy savings.