I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Goodwill “Last Chance” Outlet

Last chance (1)

With the new year upon us, I have been thinking about new ways to increase my profits.  Last year, I discovered that selling jeans may be a good way to increase my bottom line.  I am fortunate to live within a few minutes of a SA store that sells jeans for $2 so that has been my main source in addition to garage sales.  I sold over 700 pairs of jeans, and my sales increased by 30% from the previous year.

While I will continue to sell jeans, there’s only so much I can do, even with DH and DS helping me.  So I’ve been looking at other sources of product that I can sell that will bring in more profits without more work. 

I recently discovered a husband-and-wife team (The Gillmans) who make a very nice income reselling items they find at the outlet stores.  Their income for 2013 was almost 6 figures!  I thought this was definitely worth looking into.

I first visited a GW outlet store in San Francisco in 2011 and  wrote about my experience here.  And, today, I made my second visit to a GW outlet store.  This one is in Long Beach, and it’s called “Last Chance Sales”. While it was not exactly what I was expecting, it definitely has possibilities. 

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The Gillmans have YouTube videos where they show a shopping cart filled with miscellaneous items they find at their favorite outlet store. I’m not sure if they pay by the pound or not, but they always find some great stuff.  And if they don’t find enough items there, they will also shop at other thrift stores. 

This is what I was hoping to find at the Long Beach outlet; but they only sell clothing and other wearable items by the pound.  They do, however, have twice-daily auctions, which is their biggest draw – and something that seems promising.

Last chance (2)

I was there at exactly 8:00 a.m. when they open, and I saw a warehouse with rows and rows of industrial gaylords (those huge boxes in photo) filled to the brim with items. Each gaylord contains only one type of item, i.e., toys, plush, housewares, luggage, electronics, miscellaneous, clothing, etc.  Each has a minimum price, anywhere between $40-$70+, depending on what it holds.  If you are the only bidder, that’s what you pay.  But if there is more than one interested party, then the bidding begins.  It’s all really very low key and simple.

Once you are the proud owner of a gaylord, you pull up your vehicle to the dock where they will deliver your goods to you.  You can then go through the box; anything you don’t want just goes back into the gaylord, which they keep, so you do have to bring your own containers.

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I went in my small Honda Civic so I did not purchase a gaylord, but I did go through the tables and picked up a few things.  Nothing to brag about: a few sweaters, a new blouse, a new pair of men’s pants, a couple of Disney ties, and another tie for DS.  They charge $2.29 per pound (used to be $1/lb.) so I paid $11.79 for a little over 5 lbs.  Comes out to about $1.31 per item.  Okay, but not great, as I only pay $1 for sweaters and pants at the SA by my house.  So I won’t be buying by-the-pound again; but I am very interested in their auctions.

There were not a lot of people.  The manager told me that many of the regular buyers come the beginning of the week.  Because these folks either sell at flea markets or travel south to Mexico on the weekend to resell their items,  the end of the week – especially Saturday – is the best time to go.

Since this was more of an exploratory visit, I was not disappointed that I did not make any major scores because I discovered something new. I may return to purchase a gaylord.  If I do, I will definitely post about my experience.

16 comments:

  1. We have a couple of GO stores here in the Denver area but none do the auctions--they sound like the ones The Gillmans go to, where everything is in those huge blue bins and is sold by the pound. Actually, books are sold by the piece, now that I think about it, and I don't think they're particularly a good deal (.99 each).

    At both of the GO stores I've been to, there are people who literally stay there all day long--they have their own carts and they cover them with sheets to mark their 'claim'. Whenever a new row of bins are rolled out they all go line up along the sides with boxes or totes and go tearing through the bins, looking for whatever it is they look for---for some it is obvious that they are metal scrappers, and for others it's hard to tell. Then they take their pile back to their carts, re-cover them, and sit down until the next row of bins come out. I think most of it ends up in Mexico.

    It can be a bit intimidating and I admit that my jaw literally dropped the first time I saw the melee that occurred when a line of new bins came out and people started tearing through them! Lucky for me, I'm usually looking for vintage stuff and that doesn't seem to be what the 'regulars' are looking for so I can wait until they're done before I go poking through. It can be fun hunting if you're really looking for a dig, but you do have to consider the weight of the items to think if it really is worth it when you have to pay by the pound--you could end up paying more than the item would have been priced at regular Goodwill! Jeans are heavy so they might not be as good of a deal. I know our regular GW stores occasionally do 99¢ jeans on Saturday and I've been there and seen folks with carts piled literally 5 feet high with blue jeans! That's the best deal you'll find on jeans around here!

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    1. Hi Heidi, Thanks for the visit. I recently read a blog post about someone's experience at a GW outlet and they pretty much said the same thing: folks cover up their carts with a sheet; stand in line to wait for the next round of bins, etc. She actually picked up a few nice things, including a nice leather jacket. But she also said that she put back a few things that were heavier. I think when the Long Beach outlet was selling the pound for $1 it may have been worth it, but apparently they recently raised the price to $2.29. I think that may hurt their sales by-the-pound. I saw some gaylords with bagfuls of jeans and my best estimate is there may be close to 200 pairs, so $70 would not be too bad. Wow, your GWs sell jeans for $0.99 - that's an awesome deal. The best I have found is the $2 I pay at the SA. The Gillmans have been doing their thing for a couple of years now. I'm sure they made a few mistakes in the beginning but have now figured out what to buy and not to buy.

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  2. You guys are KILLING ME!!! Our GW's have raised the prices of jeans anywhere from 7.99 - $19.99. I quit going. :(

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    1. Yup, the regular GWs where I live also sell their jeans at those prices. If they have a 50% off tag, then the price is $3.99 - still a bit high for reselling. That's why I go to the SA by my house, but even then, none of the other SAs around here sell at that price. Every time I keep my fingers crossed that they haven't changed their pricing - you know, "all good things must come to an end". But so far it's all good. Thanks for the visit!

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  3. The GW has an outlet in Santa Ana too where they have the lb store and also run auctions. I think it is easier to get to than the LB outlet. I go very occasionally but have had good luck picking up items for resale.

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    1. Yes, I know there are the other GW outlets, but haven't gotten to them yet. There is one in San Bernardino that is closer to me. I ended up at the Long Beach one because I had an errand to do that day in the area so I made it a point to add the Last Chance outlet to my trip - "kill two birds with one stone". I'm planning to check out the other GW outlets this month and see how they compare with the LB Last Chance outlet. Glad to know you are able to pick up some good stuff for resale. Thanks for the visit and info!

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    2. I'd be really interested in hearing about the San Bernardino one. There are not many/any current reviews about it online.

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    3. That's true. I did a search to find out more about the SB outlet and found only one not-so-flattering review that was outdated. Will be sure to post about my experience!

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  4. We don't have an outlet around here, but I went to one when I was on vacation in Nashville. I have to say that I was really overwhelmed. There were a ton of shoppers. It was hard to even look through the bins. And I had to watch where I was going constantly because workers kept moving bins in and out and they didn't act like they cared who might be in their way. That said, our GW prices have gone through the roof. I hardly buy anything form them anymore. It would be nice to have an outlet option where I could purchase by the pound. I would learn to deal with craziness in order to snag inventory at great prices :)

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    1. I think that was why I had not bothered to look into outlet stores before. All the posts I'd read said there were just too many people and it was pretty much a free-for-all. But so far I haven't encountered any of that. Yes, I agree with you in that GW's prices are way too high for reselling, even at 50% off. You can still find some good deals, but not often. I don't shop at the regular GW store very much. That's why I'm hoping the outlet stores work out for me. Other than that, looks like garage and estate sales are it. Thanks for the visit!

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  5. Any chance you could post the link to that You Tube video. A search for the Gillmans isn't bring it up. Thanks!

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    1. Yes, I'll post the link to the You Tube videos, but in the meantime, you can do a You Tube search for GILLDADDY. I think it needs to be in all caps. You should be able to find them that way. But I'll also do a post with a link soon.

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  6. I am a frequent goodwill outlet shopper and love it! It is by the pound here (1.39 unless you buy more than 50 lbs then its like .89. I ALWAYS find good stuff. Burberry shirt for 87 cents! COACH purses for a buck. with that being said, the crowd is rough. Grown men will push little old ladies out of the way to get to what they want. People bring food and literally eat lunch there because they stay from open to close. But, I love the goodwill outlet. Its the only place where I can get so much inventory for so cheap! I post my favorite goodwill outlet finds on my blog every week if youd like to check it out!

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    1. Hi Megan, I guess you either Love or Hate the outlet stores. It's unbelievable how unruly folks become when there are bargains - think Wal-Mart Black Friday horror stories. I can understand why the outlets have guards and are very strict about controlling the crowds. People get crazy! But I agree that it's a great place to get inventory for cheap if you don't mind sifting through the junk. BTW, I have added your blog to my sidebar and will be following you. Thanks for the visit and good luck on your online business!!

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  7. I love shopping and donating to Goodwill. Mainly because I never know what I great deals I may find. I can get a brand new pair (not used) of work jeans for only $8.00.

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    1. Hi Tom, I think more folks are finding out they can get some great deals on brand name and even new items from Goodwill, especially if they're buying for personal use. Prices may be a little high for resale, but even then you can still find some good deals every so often. Thanks for the visit!

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