Last Stop: IU Surplus Store Offers Discounted Rates on Unnecessary University Goods

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The IU Surplus store acts as the last stop for anything and everything IU. From Adidas clothing to IU campus buses, Surplus offers both a retail store and an auction website.

Todd Reid, program management manager for the store, said IU founded the store nearly 60 years ago.

“IU has to get rid of things and nobody wants to see them in a landfill,” Reid said. “So IU, and most universities, almost always had a surplus operation to get rid of everything so it didn’t pile up. Everything you see IU has will eventually end up in Operation Surplus.

Located at 3050 E. Discovery Parkway, Surplus operates year-round from noon to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The store exclusively sells 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 at less than market value. The large number of items Surplus receives means they have to set reasonable prices to sell items quickly to avoid running out of warehouse space, Reid said. Since all of the surplus merchandise comes from the university and was purchased with taxpayer dollars, Reid said the store aims to redistribute the items to taxpayers on the cheap.

“To give it back to the people who bought it, it’s priced really, really cheap,” Reid said. “We can start at a fixed price, but if he’s there for a week, we’ll lower the price. Anything over a month old, we’ll mark it down to roughly $1.

At Surplus, all proceeds are donated to IU to help students. Surplus’ main goal is to divert landfills and make it easier for students to access the products they need.

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“Students are our primary targets, especially at this time of year,” Reid said. “They don’t have to haul it to campus, it’s good here and it’s cheap.”

Tim Deckard, Technical Manager of Surplus Systems, refurbishes and sells all computers from IU. Deckard rebuilds unnecessary computers before running diagnostics and installing software updates.

Deckard said computers are in high demand and they see a wide variety of customers buying computers.
“Of course, students and teachers come to buy, but sometimes we have families and businesses that come because they need upgrades and buy from us,” Deckard said.

Natalia Almanza, IU alumnus and programs and operations coordinator for IU’s Arts and Humanities Council, said she first heard of Surplus during her freshman year. she had started a Tiny Dorm Concerts club and needed affordable decorations.

“One of our teachers 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 about it by word of mouth.”

Shopping at Surplus is a great way to discover the university’s hidden gems, Almanza said.

“I like to go out there to get random things and go look around,” Almanza said. “Every time I go there the staff are always super nice and always offer to help me and load stuff into my car.”

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