By  on March 19, 2009

For budget-conscious teens, retailer Five Below couldn’t be more apropos — a dollar store aimed at them, just as after-school jobs dry up and mom puts her credit cards on lockdown.

Unlike many traditional dollar stores, which are deliberately drab, Five Below (all items $5 or less) celebrates whimsy. Music pumps from speakers and painted wheelbarrows playfully “tip” out novelty merchandise. Most of the left side of the store is devoted to style: earrings, sunglasses, beauty supplies, a T-shirt wall and peg racks featuring handbags, scarves, flip-flops, tights and other accessories. There are Guitar Hero posters and pink travel coffee mugs with a makeup mirror built in and not a can of Comet bathroom scrub in sight.

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