Edition 84
RLA Member’s Corner
by , , Essex Bargain Hunt

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Given Bargain Hunt Stores focus on customer returns, it is only natural for Essex to seek membership in RLA. RLA has long been a leader in reverse logistics education and the improved collaborative efforts of its members have taken the value participation in RLA events to new heights in recent years.

Being a long time member of RLA has benefited Essex in a number of ways. The seminars and conferences alone have become invaluable tools for Essex to network with industry leaders, identify industry trends, and model best practices. Because of these benefits, Essex was the first company to commit sponsorship to the 2017 RLA Vegas conference.

How did your company come to find RLA?
Through other industry leaders who had previously found value in an RLA membership.

Why did your company decide to become a member?
To expand our business through networking with industry leaders and to participate in the sharing of best practices among those companies.

How has being a long time Member been beneficial to Essex?
Over the years the insight we have gained from attending RLA events has lead to the development of the best practices we use today. Additionally many of our most significant strategic partnerships were cultivated at RLA functions.

What parts of the RLA Membership do you find most beneficial?
The access to conferences and those conference’s formats are very beneficial. They provide a balance of educational material and time/platforms left open for networking that many other conferences lack.

Why does Essex attend our seminars/conferences, not just as an attendee, but as a sponsor?
We attend/sponsor so that we can learn from fellow members, to share our experiences/insights on the industry, and to develop new strategic partnerships that can help take our business to the next level.

What at the RLA events do you find most beneficial?
The many networking opportunities that are offered throughout.

Tell us about one opportunity your company has benefited from and grown because of RLA.
As mentioned before, looking at our most significant partnerships, we either initially meet those individuals at an RLA event or at a minimum used time during RLA events to strengthen those relationships.

The Bargain Hunt Story
Essex Technology Group was founded in 2000 by CEO Robert Echols as a wholesaler of closeout computers and electronics. Essex specialized in buying overstock and excess inventory goods from retailers and selling them in various liquidation channels. Essex tested direct-to-consumer selling, first online, and then through a small outlet store at the distribution center in Nashville, Tennessee. Initially the store sold items too large or inexpensive to sell online, eventually Essex began to buy stock specifically for the store.

Buoyed by the success of the store, Essex launched Bargain Hunt Superstores in opportunistic locations and shifted merchandise mix towards a mixture of soft and hard goods, including apparel, bedding, sporting goods, toys, housewares and electronics.

Concurrently, with the development of a retail strategy, Essex identified a particular niche in the secondary goods marketplace well-suited for resale at Bargain Hunt Stores: customer returns. While many liquidators specialized in manufacturer excess product, particularly at the pallet level, the market for single item and pallet level returns was under-served due to the difficulty in sourcing, processing, pricing and selling the merchandise – which presented an opportunity for Essex to secure high quality merchandise at highly competitive prices. Essex therefore developed a business around returns and single item excess, designing and building a distribution center, and developing customized, proprietary systems to support the complexities of the business.
Essex Bargain Hunt

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