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Experience real factory outlets

With outlet malls dotting the retail landscape, it's easy to forget what a true factory outlet looks like.

Traditionally, factory outlet stores were little storefronts attached to actual, working company factories or warehouses that sold product directly and at a nice discount. There are very few of those original models left, but some of them do still exist around here. And what bargains there are to be had on everything from cookies to clothing!

* Petri Cookies bakes up more than 200 kinds of cookies.

Whether you're a fan of their classic, homestyle soft sugar cookies or their wire-cut Pecan Dandies, there are sweet deals at Petri's factory store in the company's main office at 18 Main Street in Silver Creek.

A one-and-a-half-pound bag of assorted irregular cookies sells for between $1 and $2. These are the same delicious cookies that end up in stores, but they're either made too big or too small, aren't perfectly round, or too many of them were produced.

The store also sells packaged cookies nearing their expiration date by about two months.

Varieties change daily and sometimes from morning to night. Call 934-2661 for more information.

* Oh dear, sweet, dreamy Choco-Logo Confectionery Design. Where do I begin?

Located in the city at 141 Broadway, Choco-Logo crafts sweets in tiny batches using real butter and cane sugar - not hydrogenated vegetable oil and cane syrup. And you can tell.

Makers of Bloomingdale's Big Brown Bar chocolate, ChocoLogo stocks its shop with an ever-changing variety of goodies it makes for corporate, charity and designer accounts.

Nordstrom recently changed the packaging for its Almond Pecan Popcorn. Do you know what that means?

It means that at this very moment, the folks at the Choco-Logo factory are filling shop shelves with containers bearing the old, unused design - and filled with fresh product, of course-and slashing the price.

Depending on what the factory is producing that day, you can find just about anything under the shop's red awnings. Whatever it is, it's bound to be delicious and at least 20 percent off.

If nothing else, you must try the Salty Caramels ($12): chocolate-covered, homemade honeyed caramel, sprinkled with organic gray sea salt on top. Yum!

Call 855-3500 to find out more.

* M. Wile Factory Direct Fashion is one of the few remaining examples of a true clothing factory outlet.

Located at 2020 Elmwood Avenue between Hertel and Kenmore Avenues, M. Wile sells designer men's clothing, sportswear and accessories for up to 50 percent off every day.

These are the same suits manufactured locally, then sold nationally under such designer labels as Pierre Cardin and Kenneth Cole.

Now until Saturday, every single suit in the store is buy-one get-one free. Everything else is 20 percent to 75 percent off.

The best part? It is almost exclusively fresh fall stock - not summer leftovers.

Call 874-3616 for more information.

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