Consumer Alert: Rochester liquidator provides merchandise for resale operators

Consumer Alert: Rochester liquidator provides merchandise for resale

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“No one should buy anything full price.” That’s the mantra of a Rochester liquidator who’s the engine driving small businesses across the region. She’s a liquidator and plays an important role in the reverse supply chain.

The process is the opposite of the way the supply chain works.  Instead, the process starts when the customer returns an item to the store, and the store sends that item to a suppler, of sorts, a liquidator.  That’s where Jessica Bartlett comes in.  Her business is called Rochester Pallets.

What Bartlett does is a deal hunter’s dream.  Her warehouse is packed with pallets of product retailers no longer want, which are boxed and shipped to liquidators like her. And for a price, a pallet can be yours.  Everything in her sprawling warehouse is for sale.

Her customers are folks who buy the product to sell on the resale market, like eBay and Facebook Marketplace.  Many of the pallets are huge, boxes stacked as high as 8 or 9 feet. All are at different price points, which are determined by the price Bartlett is charged for the pallet.

But there’s one big drawback.  In most cases, neither Bartlett nor the buyer knows what’s in the boxes.  Bartlett leaves them packed and sealed just as the retailer sold them.

Asked how she got the idea to start the business, Bartlett said, “I was doing the other side of it, buying and selling out of my house. I kind of created what I would have wanted as a buyer.”

Most of the pallets are big, but she says many of her buyers will make multiple trips to get the haul home. 

“I like the idea that my buyers, my customers, are getting a good deal on what they’re buying and they’re able to pass it along even further,” said Bartlett.

The consumer potentially wins on every rung of this resale ladder — Jessica, who buys the overstock; the buyer, who sells the product; and the consumer, who gets it at a discount.

Occasionally when retailers send the product in the original box, customers are able to do a Google search on the SKU and find out what’s inside. But often the buyer has little information about what’s inside. Therein lies the risk.  But Bartlett says the reward can be sweet for her and her customers.

She says she loves it when a customer is able to make huge profits from their sales.

Bartlett warns that about 10 percent of the product sold to liquidators is damaged.  That’s another risk you take if you want to start buying and selling liquidated merchandise.  But for the true deal hunters, it’s incredibly fun way to make a buck.