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BEST SMALL RETAIL MIRACLES Phoenix 2006 - 99¢ Only Stores

It's the national chain with the huge purple-and-green logo. Accept no substitutes! Unlike most other soi-disant "dollar" stores, everything here is 99 cents ? unless it's two, three, or four for 99 cents. Six big ounces of posh Yardley shower gel. Brilliant blue, red, or green cotton tea towels embroidered with adorable vegetables. Everything for the table: candles, vases, melamine superhero plates, classy Indonesian barware. A gamut of groceries, from fresh produce to snacks of the world to rarities like instant espresso powder. Live plants, pots and soil. (Experience indicates an 80 percent survival rate for 99? Only's flora, and that's hard to beat.) Scarves and ponchos and scrunchies, oh my! Fill a stocking or a basket. Fill a gift bag (the bags are two for 99 cents). And never buy Halloween candy in a "regular" store again, not when name-brand snack-size bars are 10 for ? wait for it ? 99 cents.
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