Do you love a great deal?
Do you prowl Craigslist, Thrift Stores, Free-cycle, Flea Markets, yard and garage sales? Do you know what antiques and collectibles are worth? Are you willing to make a reasonable offer below listed price to arrive at a fair exchange? I have some confessions to make. I hate paying Retail for anything. Retail is for Suckers. If I can’t find what I need mildly used for a fraction of it’s original price, I’ll go without. My thousand dollar wool suits? Thrift store bargains! Less than twenty bucks off the rack and another twenty in alterations and I’m stylin’! Almost all my home furnishings are either antiques (very second, third or fourth hand), or gently used by others for years. Plus, I usually acquire these things at auction, so I get real wood furniture for about what an Ikea piece of reconstituted shit sells for new! Food is about the only thing I buy new but I also offer less if the food is past or near its Best Used By Date. And before you get all grossed out, know that I’ve only had food-poisoning once in my life, from a Country Club in North Carolina.
As you may recall from my last installment, “Stuff is just stuff.” So the stuff I’ve accumulated over the last few years after living in the wilds of Louisiana for ten months has served me well, but in order to begin the Boot-Strap Expat adventure, it is time to part with most of it. So Friday, I rented a 12×12 booth at Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor, Michigan and carted a couple pick-up truck loads of stuff to off-load for currency. Gibraltar Trade Center has a great business model. They rent vendors space inside a huge warehouse, then charge the public $2.00 per car to shop there! There are hundreds of vendors. I started my bonsai business at the Trade Center twenty years ago before moving into upscale malls. So what does it cost to be a vendor? That depends on what you’re selling. Since I am selling household/used items, I get Garage Sale rates of $10/day per space (I have two adjoining spaces) so my rent is $60.00 per weekend. If I was selling new merchandise, the rent would be double that amount. Do the math – assuming 100 vendors – there are actually hundreds – at $45/weekend (average between resale and new rates), that’s $18,000/month from the vendors. A typical weekend easily brings in 500 vehicles, so that’s another $4,000/month from people willing to pay for the privilege of shopping! A few administrative staff handle all the business aspects during the week, and low-skilled workers are brought in on the weekend to keep things neat and clean as well as work the Food Concessions. Gibraltar doesn’t allow food concession competition so every shitty slice of pizza, hot dog, wet burrito and Texas Fry goes almost straight to the bottom line.
But I’m not here for the food, and I’m not here to shop. I’m here to liquidate. I’m not asking for top dollar either, most of the items I’m offering are priced at or below my acquisition costs, with just a few exceptions. Why? I enjoyed and used them for years, so any sale is a bonus. Plus, The Boot-Strap Expat adventure needs lots of cash and not a lot of stuff, so I’m dealing on everything. How good are the prices? All of my sales on Friday were to other Vendors and Dealers; these people live and die by turning a bargain into cash-flow, so they appreciate the underlying value of my antiques, collectibles and household items. Examples – newer Kirby Vacuum $200.00; Rug Doctor used less than a dozen times $200.00; Professional Poker Tour Poker set in metal hard case $25.00; elegant antique writing desk $130.00; Cut and polished gem-stones $1.00 – $5.00 each. Solid Oak end tables, new in the box for $50.00, coffee tables for $70.00, real wood book cases for $120.00 each; I just need them gone.
We only had time for two pickup truck-loads on Friday, so my daughter and I hauled a couple more loads today in preparation for this weekend. Folks can’t buy it if they don’t see it. Friday and Saturday are supposed to bring rain and thunder storms to the area, perfect weather to wander around a warehouse full of bargains. If all goes well most of the liquidation will be complete by midmonth. Then I’ll be able to focus on lining up sponsors.
Please consider being a Sponsor for this adventure.
To support my efforts directly, donations through PayPal can be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Background on this Adventure, see my posts –
Boot-Strap Expat 2013/09/13 Background
The Boot-Strap Expat – Adventure Planning and Budgeting – 13,200 Miles to Santiago!
The Boot-Strap Expat – Some Thoughts on Planning
The Boot-Strap Expat – What a Formal Project Plan Looks Like
The Boot-Strap Expat – Liquidating Assets – It’s just Stuff! https://7thpillar.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/the-boot-strap-expat-liquidating-assets-its-just-stuff/