Todd Reid, program management leader of the store, said IU founded the store nearly 60 years ago.
“IU has to get rid of stuff and no one wants to see it in a landfill,” Reid said. “So IU, and most universities, have almost always had a surplus operation to get rid of everything so it doesn’t just pile up. Everything you see that IU owns will eventually end up at Surplus operation.”
Located at 3050 E. Discovery Parkway, Surplus operates all year from noon to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The store sells exclusively items supplied by IU — donations are not accepted. Items sold at Surplus include technology, furniture, school supplies, clothing, cooking, vehicles, and more.
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Surplus sells all products for below market value. The sheer number of items received by Surplus means they need to set reasonable prices to sell items quickly to avoid running out of warehouse space, Reid said. Since all Surplus merchandise comes from the university and was purchased with taxpayer money, Reid said the store aims to redistribute the items to taxpayers for cheap.
“To get it back out to the people who bought it, it is priced really really cheap,” Reid said. “We may start out at a set price, but if it's there for a week we will lower the price. Anything over a month old we will just about lower it all the way down to $1.”
At Surplus, all of the proceeds go back to IU to help support students. Surplus’ main goal is landfill diversion and making it simple for students to get products they need.
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“Students are our main targets, especially this time of year,” Reid said. “They don’t have to haul it to campus, it’s all right here and it’s cheap.”
Tim Deckard, Surplus systems tech leader, refurbishes and sells any computers that come from IU. Deckard rebuilds the unneeded computers before running diagnostics and installing software updates.
Deckard said computers are in high demand and they see a wide variety of customers shopping for computers.
“Of course students and teachers come in to buy, but we get families and businesses that come in sometimes because they need upgrades and buy from us,” Deckard said.
Natalia Almanza, IU alumna and IU Arts and Humanities Council program and operations coordinator, said she first heard about Surplus in her junior year when she started a Tiny Dorm Concerts club and needed affordable set decorations.
“One of our professors told us to consider going to IU Surplus,” Almanza said. “Now that I live full time in Bloomington I've managed to tell a lot of people through word of mouth.”
Shopping at Surplus is a great way to find the university’s hidden gems, Almanza said.
“I love going there to get random things and to go and look around,” Almanza said. “Every time I go, the staff is always super kind and always offers to help me and load things into my car.”