Jacobs Trading Company (JTC), founded by Irwin Jacobs and now owned by Liquidity Services Inc., is a direct source for many retailers’ and manufacturers’ customer returns, overstocks, shelf-pulls and damaged goods in every product category. “Closeout merchandise gives retailers an opportunity to buy low and sell below regular retail, while still earning substantial profits,” states Howard Grodnick, president. Doing business for nearly 50 years, the company sells by the truckload to a variety of outlets including flea market vendors, discount and surplus stores, auctioneers, and wholesalers and retailers. Truckload prices vary depending on the manufacturer or retailer of the goods.
“Customer returns are sold as is, so there can be open box goods in really good condition or there can be damaged goods. It is a mixed bag,” Grodnick explains. “Retailers might get a few of the same items, for example, but the condition might be different for each one. Some sellers offer the items for the same price across the board, while others get a premium for the perfectly good items and price the items in rougher condition lower.”
Client satisfaction, consistent value and stellar service are paramount to JTC, and the firm assists customers new to liquidations to be sure they understand the types of merchandise they are buying. “Customer service is important to us, and we treat our customers the way we would want to be treated,” Grodnick notes. “They know they can trust that if they buy something from Jacobs Trading Company and if something isn’t right, we will make good on it. There are a lot of companies in this business that have been around a short time, and we are probably the oldest liquidation company in the U.S. You are not going to survive in any business if servicing your customers is not your top priority.”
It is an exciting business to be in, Grodnick assures. “Everyone I work with is passionate about the business. It seems like it is a different breed of people who have an instinct and appreciation for deals and value. It is a fun and rewarding way to make a living.”
Jacobs Trading Company is thriving under the leadership of Grodnick and Jacobs, who started the business in the 1960s. Jacobs was eighteen years old when he dove into the closeout merchandise industry buying and selling a pile of skis from the U.S. Customs Service. He soon began running liquidation events and turned that into COMB (Close-out Merchandise Buyers) Liquidation, a well-known liquidation company that evolved into 40 retail stores. In the 1980s, Jacobs went public with COMB and, soon after, started Cable Value Network (CVN), which was acquired by QVC. In 1989, Jacobs bought the wholesale division of COMB and that became JTC, which was acquired by Liquidity Services (LSI) two years ago. LSI sells customer return goods and refurbished goods, with contracts leaning toward electronics such as TVs and computers. While Jacobs sells miscellaneous general merchandise by the truckload, LSI will also sell by the pallet and small lots.
To learn more about Jacobs Trading Company, visit the company’s website. A Spanish-language version of the website is available with the click of a button.
Jacobs Trading Company
8090 Excelsior Blvd.
Hopkins, MN 55343