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Mar 1, 2008
John Olivarez, president and sole stockholder, founded Mid-America following 25 years with Sears/Kansas City, where he managed outlet and liquidation departments. Joining him is Larry Burritt, manager of the Chicago office, who had an equal number of years as a liquidation manager for Sears/Chicago. Add to that the experience of industry veterans, including Marc Macoubrie, who handles the company's electronics division; Jared Olivarez, John's son, who heads inventory control, and Carlos Cardenas, Latin American sales manager, from Guadalajara, Mexico.
Among Mid-America's early business forays was a seven year stint as national liquidator for Montgomery Ward. Since then, it has developed contracts with a slew of manufacturers and retailers, in a roster that includes Macy's and Natuzzi, the largest supplier of Italian leather furniture in the U.S.
After Olivarez traveled to Italy to meet with the Natuzzi founders, he contacted three more Italian leather suppliers. "Now we carry merchandise from all four of the biggest companies in that business," he says.
In addition, he reports that Mid-America Liquidators has gained a contract with 25 Costco units in the Midwest, for all of those stores' overstocks, discontinued items, customer returns and damaged items. Mid-America's mattresses and box springs are all name brands from Sealy/Sterns & Foster, the largest supplier in the field.
Referring to all of the company's products, Olivarez says, "We offer three levels of quality." They are: new in carton merchandise; irregulars that are new, but have some visible blemish, and customer returns. By offering three levels, it can give retailers options in pricepoints, with new, in carton goods at the upper end and customer returns at lower wholesale pricing.
Mid-America's typical wholesale pricing ranges from 40 percent below cost on top quality furniture to 80 percent below cost for the lesser quality general merchandise. Olivarez says furniture represents 40 percent of the company's total business; bedding accounts for 25 percent, and the remainder comes from general merchandise.
The company's huge inventory gives it and its retailer customers an edge. In all, it operates 150,000 square feet of its own warehouse space. "We ship as soon as we receive payment," he says, noting that the company accepts payment by wire or credit card.
Every account has an assigned, experienced sales person on the staff, "who established a relationship with the retailer customer," Olivarez explains. The assigned person not only informs the customer of new merchandise, but also offers advice on making a selection.
"Our motto is: No skimming; no cherry picking; no worry," says Olivarez. "We take pride in establishing long term partnerships." Many customers have been with the company for its entire history, and many also buy 100 percent of their merchandise from Mid-America.
Typically, the salesperson that manages an account emails or faxes a manifest so the retailer can make a selection. Once the order is placed and paid for, it's shipped the next day. "If a retailer buys Italian leather from Italy," Olivarez point out, "it can take weeks or months to get delivery."
In general, when a retailer goes out of business, for instance, Mid-America may take five to 15 trailer loads of product. When a retailer needs to trim inventory, Mid-America takes the excess.
"When times are good and manufacturers' production is pumped up," he says, "there are often overruns or errors that get keyed in. A unit may be in the wrong color or style, for example, and we take that merchandise."
Finally, regarding that warehouse space, Mid-America has something unique. Nearby Kansas City has the largest limestone deposits in the country, and leased warehouse space is available in the limestone caves. Mid-America has 100,000 square feet in the caves.
The caves keep an optimum temperature year round, eliminating the need for heating and air conditioning. At the same time, Olivarez says, "There's no heat damage, no sun damage and no robberies or vandalism. The merchandise stays in top notch condition, ready immediately for shipment."
For more information, contact:
Mid-America Liquidators Inc.
900 South Vista Avenue
Independence, MO 64056
Toll Free: 800-504-0531
Topic: Company Profiles
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