Online auction company gives Macy’s building a ‘second chance’ | Company
Attention local shoppers…you may find deals, maybe flights, at the former Macy’s department store in the Washington Crown Center.
Only it’s no longer a Macy’s store, which the big box chain closed in 2018. [email protected] Discount, an online auction company, moved into the space in January – moving from South College Street to Washington.
The company stocks and displays “second chance” merchandise at the old Macy’s and six other locations.
Items available, generally, have been returned at big box stores and on Amazon, and include exercise equipment, lawn mowers, furniture, sporting goods, clothing, mattresses…everything but a caveman club. There are also general cargo pallets.
Potential customers visit mac.bid to see what’s available on these sites, bid on products at a specified date and time, and collect if they “win”.
“You can get 70-80% off retail,” said Kellen Campbell, who started the business in 2018 with co-owner Shawn Allen. “We need to process quickly, market quickly and sell quickly.”
At approximately 150,000 square feet, the Crown Center facility is the company’s second largest, behind Pittsburgh Mills Circle in the Allegheny Valley (160,000). Each site has 85 employees, a peak in the company.
The other sites are in Beaver Falls, Butler, McKees Rocks, Boardman, Ohio and Spartanburg, SC – all of which operate under five-year leases. [email protected] also plans to launch a location in Monroeville.
Company-wide, [email protected] Discount has 440 employees and over 700,000 square feet of usable space.
The seven structures are also “second chance” entities. Six were previously unused spaces, some of which were warehouses. The creation of jobs and the restoration of buildings stimulate local communities.
[email protected] Discount is the brainchild of two University of Pittsburgh grads, one of whom – Campbell – is a former Panthers guard at West Allegheny High School. Both carried the ball though.
The two got together about half a dozen years ago, mulling the possibility of embarking on a business similar to the one they currently run. They looked at what similar companies were doing, but waited.
“Nobody in southwestern Pennsylvania was doing that at the time,” Campbell said. “We thought about doing something like that, but the time just wasn’t right.”
They decided the time was right in 2017. “We made a business plan, applied for all the business licenses and looked at the warehouses,” Campbell said. They found one during the Christmas season, a 5,000 square foot space near Washington & Jefferson College. [email protected] was in business.
Although the company made its first dollars there, Campbell does not regret leaving the warehouse and its lack of atmosphere. “It was in bad shape – and it was ugly,” he said. “I said to Shawn, ‘This is the place. This was the place because it was cheap.’”
He is happy to be in the old Macy’s, which has undergone renovations, including the removal of walls. There is ample space – the building was large enough to accommodate two docks and the addition of a third.
The building is also conveniently located near highways 70 and 79 and two main arteries, routes 19 and 40.
Macy’s is no longer a department store, but it’s getting a second chance.