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— Forget about barbecue, a cold brew and parades on Memorial Day.

For hoards of shoppers in the know, the holiday meant packing into the Salvation Army's boutique, "Sally's on 4th," to snag half-off designer label deals. Customers began lining up at 7 a.m. here, and at the peak of the day, nearly 200 people were filling their shopping carts.

"It was packed in here with about 170 people by around 3 p.m.," said assistant store manager Carissa Harris. "And when we opened at 7 a.m., there were about 25 people already waiting in line."

All Salvation Army stores in Michigan have 50 percent off sales for many holidays, including Memorial Day. But Sally's on 4th is the state's only boutique, meaning customers can find designer labels, including Michael Kors, Dana Buchman and Ellie Tahari, mixed in with the Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor.

"We get the best of the best donations," Harris said. "We have items from Kate Spade, Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch and Armani."

Who could resist a $36 St. John's navy-and-white striped top for $18?

Not Karen Herbert of Detroit. Her shopping basket was filled to overflowing with at least 20 garments, including the St. John's top, a $58 DKNY chocolate sleeveless dress with a long matching sweater, and several $5 Calvin Klein classic white T-shirts for less than a skinny latte.

"I've been waiting for this sale," said Herbert, who frequently shops at the boutique, taking advantage of the weekly Wednesday senior citizen 25 percent off sales. "I don't need these things, but I want them. I'm going to visit my son in Oklahoma, and I wanted to get some new pieces because it's so hot down there."

Lisa Erfourth of Royal Oak wasn't even planning to shop on Memorial Day.

"I was driving by and saw the 50 percent off signs in the window so I had to stop," Erfourth said.

She walked out with $200 worth of clothing, including some items for her 13-year-old daughter, who, she said, she was supposed to be picking up instead of shopping.

"I've got a Missoni dress for my daughter," Erfourth said excitedly as she pulled items out of her bag. "I love this store. It's a hidden gem, but now everybody's going to know about it."

Lori Meek of Southfield walked away with a pair of $27 Michael Kors jeans for $13.50.

"I love this store," Meek said, echoing Erfourth's sentiments. "It has so many designer clothes. I feel great about it."

Carissa Harris said all proceeds go to the Salvation Army's Romulus Women's Rehabilitation Center and the rehabilitation program for men in downtown Detroit.

slewis@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2296

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