Meet Barry Berkowitz: Making an impact with liquidated goods


It’s the season of giving…away liquidation pallets!

B-Stock buyers all have different reasons for being on the platform, Barry Berkowitz included. In addition to working at a local Bay Area technology company, Barry has used B-Stock as an opportunity to source and donate liquidated products that could help communities save on their operating expenses. Rather than growing his own resale business (which many of our buyers fuel through liquidation inventory), Barry has chosen to donate and sell merchandise to local nonprofit organizations and schools. A great option for business buyers and entrepreneurs looking to give back to their own communities and do good with the product line available.

Upon hearing of B-Stock as a source for pallets of merchandise from friends running their own bargain bin/ general merchandise liquidation stores, Barry took things in a different direction… Items like paper towels and paper goods are actually an important operating cost of an organization. As Barry explained, “That $1 of a contribution can turn into $10 of impact.” All this to say, Barry encourages others to find more opportunities to make an impact with liquidation merchandise.

With the season of giving in full swing, we want to share how Barry has found a way to make an impact and how more buyers can do the same. In this holiday edition of our Reseller Community Spotlight: Meet Barry Berkowitz!

The Beginnings

Q: Do you do this full-time or part-time?

I’m a very “unique user” of the platform. I don’t have a full-time business selling liquidation products and have generally been using the platform to support nonprofits through donations. I am a volunteer at certain nonprofits like schools and other community nonprofits in the Bay Area.

school supplies liquidation pallets

School team unloading a shipment of school supplies

Q: What drew you to this idea?

I’m currently the board chair of my children’s local Jewish Day School and have been volunteering in local organizations, schools, and other nonprofits for the last couple of years. I have been the treasurer of several organizations and have seen the need for organizations to fundraise to fund their operations. The product line of B-Stock can be perfectly used by organizations.

Organizations, if they’re buying things in bulk anyway, they don’t need it to be perfect. Being excess, overstock, or return liquidations is perfectly acceptable because they don’t need to be in the best condition. It could help them by purchasing liquidation inventory at a significant discount or donating to them.

Q: What would you say to others looking to do what you do?

Entrepreneurs who want to give back to the community should find an organization that is meaningful to them and develop a relationship with them and find out what they need in terms of contributions and donations. Then, look on the B-Stock platform for opportunities to purchase it, and either donate or sell it to the organization at a fraction of the retail cost.

Turning liquidation inventory into donations

What Barry is doing is thinking about the way he sources these goods and can distribute them to the appropriate organizations—saving the organizations themselves thousands of dollars versus if they were to buy the same inventory at full retail prices. On B-Stock, you can find liquidation inventory at 10-30% of retail!

“If you were to invest $10,000 you might be able to make that $50,000 worth of products that you would be contributing to these nonprofits. I think this is a very creative way to help others and give back particularly during the holiday time.”

Thinking about product categories differently

You can find liquidation inventory across every product category. Purchasing supplies at retail is a lot more costly for organizations, even with donation money.

Barry chose a few categories to focus on in the technology space, along with office and classroom supplies, toys and gifts, as well as grocery, all in an effort to make meaningful contributions to local organizations.

grocery liquidation pallets

Separating food items for usage or donations to the local soup kitchen. Many schools are nut-free!

Who needs what

Essential items for schools and nonprofits can be as simple as cleaning supplies. It can also go as far as electronics and technology. There are even opportunities to donate to organizations that collect donations and offer discounted supplies for teachers and educators, such as the Resource Area for Teaching (‘RAFT’) organization and the Oshman Family JCC in the Bay Area.

“My children’s school, South Peninsula Hebrew Day School, has really benefited a lot from pallets like cleaning supplies and office supplies. I’ve also provided over 150 Chromebooks for the students. And actually, just last week, we purchased refurbished laptops for the teachers.”

Popular B-Stock marketplaces like Office Depot, Essendant, Target, Home Depot, and B-Stock Supply are go-to’s for Barry.

How to accelerate the impact

An important takeaway is how to accelerate the impact of donations and the work that Barry does. As he said, “When you’re looking to give back to the community, you want to make it as efficient and inexpensive as possible.”

Here are a few ways to accelerate the impact:

Leverage staff and administration

When unloading and storing pallets of goods, Barry has often called upon the help of school staff and administration. This has helped him save money on renting out storage facilities (which can be costly) and accelerated the distribution process.

donated grocery liquidation pallets

Amazing staff so happy to receive snacks for children and teachers

Food and PPE contributions

Food and PPE contributions are especially helpful. Pallets of food and snacks can be used to create micro-kitchens for staff and teachers, while healthier food can be distributed to the children at snack time. In terms of PPE, schools can greatly benefit from disposable gloves and hand sanitizers.

“A lot of big box stores have excess PPE and are liquidating it, but there are organizations that are still in need of it that could certainly benefit through contributions.”

Lessons to share for interested resellers

Meeting resale requirements

A resale certificate allows you to purchase liquidation goods tax-free. If you’re not reselling the inventory as most buyers do, you still need to work in the charging of sales tax to your “customer” or recipient in order to remain compliant. So whether you choose to donate inventory as a contribution or sell it to the organization, you must still charge and remit the sales tax, or you can include it. Here’s what Barry recommends for determining the cost to sell or donate products:

“Come up with an appropriate allocation methodology to the cost of what you’re purchasing. You can spread it out on a per unit basis or a relative fair value to make sure that whatever you’re selling to the organization is the cost (20-30% of retail) plus the sales tax.”

Turn unsellable inventory into donations

Liquidation buyers will typically find that there is a small percentage of merchandise that is not sellable. That’s just the nature of liquidation. However, instead of tossing it into the trash, buyers can possibly look to donate that inventory. Think of places like a local charity or organization that can still benefit from it. That can also include local churches, synagogues, schools, and hospitals.

“This is a business of volume. B-Stock buyers are purchasing things by the pallets and truckloads and they often don’t know what to do with the excess if products can’t be flipped to make a profit.”

Create a backup plan

Resellers must research every step of the way. Even after the bidding and auctions are over, it’s important to have a plan for your liquidation goods. (This goes for selling or donating!)

“My advice is to have a backup plan as to what you’re going to do because inevitably you’re going to receive something that might be different than what you were expecting and you should just roll with it and continue to make the best out of it.”

Looking ahead

We also spoke about the power of a coordinated effort. For example, a central location within a region that can help multiple locations with accessible supplies and donations. In addition to this, how buying and donating to charities where someone’s donation can get multiplied five or 10x. Well, there’s even more in store:

“I’m working on an initiative for Collective Procurement that could benefit and impact the region of schools where it would make sense to purchase truckloads of merchandise and bring them to a central location in a region and then sell and distribute to local nonprofits at a fraction of the cost.”

We hope to see more resellers try this approach to making an impact in their communities using liquidation inventory found on B-Stock.

B-Stock’s Reseller Community Spotlight is an ongoing series that aims to highlight our unique buyers in the B-Stock network.

Are you a B-Stock buyer and want to tell us more about your reselling business? Let us know and we can feature you in B-Stock’s Reseller Community Spotlight series.



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