Stanford University’s “Secret” Surplus Store Open to Public


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There is no question that college can be pretty expensive, so students must save up as much as they can.

If you need to buy furniture at a low price? A yard sale is the answer! And Stanford University’s surplus sales manager supervises what could be one of the best surplus stores anywhere.

The staff of Stanford University’s Property Management Office has turned a 3,000 square foot warehouse into a storage and surplus store where students can buy things at a greatly reduced price.

At the store you can expect to find a $10 table made of strong red-oak. A dresser could also just cost $40. Imagine how much a student can save with prices like these!

Stanford University’s Surplus Store

The Surplus Property Sales store is open to anyone including the public, student or visitor, every Wednesday and Thursday, from 9 AM until 4 PM.

Although anyone can buy, those from the university’s community can avail a 10% discount when they buy an item for personal use. University staff and faculty, though, can reuse furniture for free.

Because of the low prices, though, many things vanish quickly, with neighboring institutions or passing visitors buying chairs, tables, and other things in bulk.

Another thing that makes the Surplus Property Sales special is that it’s the only store allowed to sell materials, furniture, computers, vehicles from the university on the school grounds.

Department managers, who find surplus things or property they don’t need anymore, can just process the disposal online for the store.

Also, this way, university departments don’t have to pay fees to landfills for the property they want to get rid of; they can also contribute to the university’s sustainability and environmental preservation goals.

The best thing is that departments get a certain percentage from the items being sold at the Surplus store.

They can get anywhere from 25% to 90% on items that sell for more than $1,000. During the past five years in the operation of the Surplus store, Stanford University departments have earned over $2.5 million!

Alex Perez, the Property Management Office manager in charge of the Surplus store, expressed that this was a helpful initiative for both the students and the school.

Stan Dunn, the associate director of the PM Office, agreed and also stated that it always seemed to catch people by surprise whenever they learn that Stanford has a Surplus store, considering the advantages it has given to the university.

Surplus Store Items for Sale

The store has a lot of materials sold, and since they’re all from the university department themselves, things like electric typewriters, which is a rarity in regular stores, can easily be found at the store.

Other things the store has sold include: a bloodmobile, an old vintage camera, dumbbells that weigh 135 pounds, computers, and a physician’s exam table, among others.

But if you see a marble statue that dates back to the 1950s, don’t hold your breath. It’s not for sale.

The disposal specialist and the surplus collections coordinator, Polly Kavanaugh, said that the Surplus store resembles a yard sale, in that “one person’s trash is another’s treasure”.

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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