If this is what a recession feels like, it isn't half bad. At least, that's the way the folks at DVA, a Los Angeles liquidator of DVDs, CDs, and video games, see it. The company's sales hit $21 million last year and are, so far, up 8 percent this year. DVA buys hundreds of thousands of copies a year of the movies and shows that Hollywood and big-box retailers no longer can or want to sell. It then resells them to discount retailers and online. Hence all those copies of 24 Hour Party People and Pinky and the Brain at your local dollar store.

The discount segment, of course, is a rare safe haven in retail during this recession. That translates into tons of business for companies that supply discounters. Bazaar, a closeout supplier in River Grove, Illinois, buys overstock of items such as soap, paper plates, and socks, then resells it to discounters. The company says sales are brisk this year.

Specialty shops are also cashing in. Jimmy Beans Wool, a knitting and crochet supplier based in Reno, Nevada, buys discounted yarn from upscale shops unable to sell their supplies, then resells the stuff in its shop or online. Sales are up 50 percent this year, says co-founder Laura Zander. "People will buy anything if it's on sale," she adds.