'Bargain Bill' Dead at Age 66

Monday, February 5, 2018 | DrydenWire |

Rick Collins, age 66, proud owner of Bargain Bill’s, passed away peacefully on February 3, 2018, in Rice Lake, Wisconsin surrounded by his loving family.

He was born on May 27, 1951 in Rockford, Illinois to William and Bernice (Metzler) Collins. Rick was a “way-wow, too-cool” larger-than-life character who spoke frankly and was the most generous man ever. He was a loving husband to his wife, Kathy, of 41 years and a supportive father of Andy of Anchorage, AK, Jackie of Girdwood, AK and Elizabeth of Grand Junction, CO and daughter-in-law Shannon, who asked the tough questions and gave the best advice. Rick’s grandchildren-Dylan, Maddison, Ruby, and Ella-hope to grow up in his likeness; 2 brothers, Mike (Joan) Collins of Tampa, FL and Bill Collins of Chelmsford, MA; a sister, Beth Collins (Jim Magill) of Fraser, CO; many nephews and nieces.

To his friends, Rick was the best crewmember on sailboat adventures, although he was occasionally seasick. He enjoyed learning about his friend’s trades and hearing their life stories; Rick was the best friend they had ever known and were thankful for their time together. He was an avid reader of books and enjoyed listening to public radio.  He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Dan Collins.

Rick was attracted to “small-town USA” so he moved to Rice Lake, Wisconsin in 1973. He opened Bargain Bill’s, a liquidation business, in Rice Lake in 1985.  

Rick was married to Kathryn Ann Roux on August 14, 1976 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Dobie, WI. A Celebration of life will be held from 2-6PM Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Lehman’s Supper Club in Rice Lake.  

Appleyard’s Home for Funerals in Rice Lake is in charge of the arrangements. 

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Is Bargain Bills Going out of Business?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 | by Diane Dryden

If the parking lot in front of the Rice Lake landmark, Bargain Bills, is any indication, they must be going out of business. Vehicles have been parking right out to the street because there are so many.

Hand-written signs outside the building say everything is fifty percent off and “Bill” himself says he's selling everything right out to the walls.

Even the shelving is for sale.

But oddly enough, everything else is fifty percent off, but not the Christmas decorations.

“Bill,” really a man named Rick Collins, is a hard guy to chase down and an even harder guy to interview. But a few quick words garnered this information between bites of pastry.

When he started the business in downtown Rice Lake he couldn't find a catchy name that rhymed with Rick, so he named the place Bargain Bills instead.

He won't say yes, and he won't say no that he's closing, or what he plans to do next, retire or open something else or if he plans to sell the buildings, but he does say he's very happy.

He also said there will be three semi-trucks coming in a week or two loaded with sleeping bags.

Now you know as much as anyone else.

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