People return big-box items for a lot of reasons: The bike is too tall, the toaster is the wrong color or the lamp shade is the wrong fit.
But what happens to those products when they are returned? Most of the time, they are sold in bulk to companies such as Open Box Liquidation in Centennial Hills, the owners said.
Like many similar shops, Open Box Liquidation promises low prices. But unlike its competitors, Open Box Liquidation sells only items that have been opened and returned by the customers.
The store’s products come from retail chains such as Walmart, Target, ShopKo, Kmart, Sears, Kohl’s and others.
Co-owner David Panter said it is store policy to reduce the suggested retail price by at least half when it has been opened or has a damaged box. He said some items that are broken and require fixing can be sold at up to 90 percent off the sticker price at other stores.
There are three common reasons why an item is returned, according to the store: It was not what the customer wanted, the packaging was damaged when it was shipped or the customer was trying it out before committed to purchasing it.
Panter said he and co-owner Jason Tippetts had a warehouse near North Rancho Drive and West Cheyenne Avenue that opened around Labor Day, but quick success led them to move to their retail site at 6808 W. Cheyenne Ave. The store space next door is being used as a processing center.
December was a big sales month, January was slower, but things have picked up in February, Panter said.
“We kind of buy and sell equipment and were accumulating consumer goods and so we said, ‘What the heck, there are probably people that would want this stuff,’ ” Panter said.
So they opened their business. They moved to the retail location around Thanksgiving. Panter is still an auto technician, and Tippetts has a real estate license.
Panter said it is less expensive for big-box stores to sell their damaged and open products in bulk rather than hiring a staff to inspect and work with the manufacturers. But just because the big stores do not reinspect the product does not mean Panter does not. He said that everything is tested before it goes on the shelves.
“Even in this business, you have to have a good quality control,” Panter said. “We depend a lot on word of mouth.”
The store has a no-return policy because it tests its products, but Panter said it will accept products if they do not work.
“It’s a different, unique type of shopping,” he said.
Open Box Liquidation carries everything from electrical and industrial goods to items such as tools, toys, bikes and bedding.
Open Box Liquidation posts its new items and sales at facebook.com/openboxliquidation. It also relies on email to get the word out, said Panter, who added that he and his partner also are considering opening a store in St. George, Utah.
“The people there are a little more frugal and a little more conservative, looking for deals,” Panter said. For now, though, he said he has plenty of customers in Las Vegas looking for price cuts.
For more information, call 702-358-3328.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Laura Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839.