Making a Buck & Finding a Surplus

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Making a Buck & Finding a Surplus

Juan Rosales in his warehouse at RGV Surplus.
Juan Rosales in his warehouse at RGV Surplus.

Juan Rosales started out small, buying used books, figurines and old music albums.

He called it “Just Trying To Make A Buck” back then in 2012, declining his wife’s suggestion of “Juan’s Junk” for his nascent surplus business.

Microscopes are among the educational items at RGV Surplus.
Microscopes are among the educational items at RGV Surplus.

“I bought a few Just Trying To Make A Buck things and I got hooked,” said Rosales, a retired manager of the cigarette distribution business.

He then began attending government and school auctions. His purchasing eye fell on filing cabinets, desks, computers and an ever expanding list of categories. 

“After a while, I had about anything you can think of,” he said. 

Creating a Bargain Warehouse

Rosales went from Trying To Make A Buck to RGV Surplus in 2014. His warehouse quickly became a stop for small business start-ups, schools, medical offices and bargain hunters at large. There is plenty to discover at his Edinburg warehouse on Freddy Gonzalez, just off McAllen’s 10th Street. 

Walking into Rosales’ 2400-square-foot warehouse with thousands of inventory items is enough to set a bargain hunter’s heart a flutter.

“When they come here, it’s like a candy store,” he said.

Rosales is a bargain hunter in his own right. He delights in finding a good deal, just like his customers. He gains even more satisfaction in helping customers find what they need, be it at his warehouse or helping them find a needed item online. 

Blood pressure machines are among the medical equipment items in the warehouse.
Blood pressure machines are among the medical equipment items in the warehouse.

“I get what their budget is and then I help them get what they’re looking for,” Rosales said. “That’s what I’m here for, to help them out.”

What they need, in the era of COVID-19, is anything and everything that helps his customers work and learn from home. Computers, laptops, MacBooks, chairs and desks, he said, are all “selling like crazy.”

Healthcare-related businesses are also looking for hospital beds, oxygen machines, blood pressure machines and other types of medical equipment. Rosales has big computer screens spread out over his desk. He scans them constantly in going between Amazon, eBay and auction sites in search of items customers are requesting. 

On The Hunt

Rosales thrives on the energy of the business, the hunt for bargains and helping customers who walk in between the computer searches. Home school parents call to see if he has chairs and desks for small children. College students search for refurbished computers as a new school year nears. Small businesses even more pressed to save on expenses during COVID are looking for bargains wherever they can be found.

Chairs for a school settings or home learning are among top sellers at RGV Surplus.
Chairs for a school settings or home learning are among top sellers at RGV Surplus.

Chances are Rosales has them – or can get what’s needed. His inventory spills out of his warehouse and into his surrounding property. Rosales has been culling down his purchasing in recent years to refocus on inventory that can more reliably be sold. He concedes buying too many items in years past, driving up his storage costs. 

Dealing with COVID-19 has further focused his purchasing practices. 

“Right now, what I’m ordering in some cases is already sold by the time it gets here,” he said. 

What began eight years ago as a 100 percent online business is today 58 percent in-warehouse sales and 42 percent online business. Rosales’ entrepreneurship and successes were recognized last year by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His RGV Surplus was also the chamber’s 2019 small business of the year. 

“I was always looking for something that I could get what I put into it,” Rosales said of his business. “I wish I had gotten into it earlier.”

Ricardo D. Cavazos is a journalist and business executive who has over 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and publisher and is currently managing allied health schools in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo. Working for Freedom Communications, Cavazos served as editor of The Monitor for eight years and was publisher of The Brownsville Herald for 14 years. He also served as publisher of the Valley Morning Star for one year and launched two Spanish-language publications - El Nuevo Heraldo and El Extra. He is an Edinburg native currrently living in Harlingen.

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