By Lou Melini
In 2011, I featured Bart Gillespie for a commuter column. In the interview he mentioned teaming up with Alex Grant to form a new venture called Gear Rush, an Internet cycling consignment store. I have finally found the time to clean out my garage to utilize the services of Gear Rush.
I filled a couple of boxes with a mixture of old and new cycling stuff plus my Gunnar cyclocross bike. In addition I took skis and a box of camping equipment to Gear Rush. I introduced myself to Anne at the check-in desk and said; “I have no idea if this stuff will sell nor what it’s worth”. I had a ballpark figure for the bike and a few items but other than that I was clueless. Anne smiled and said; “We can handle everything”. She glowed with confidence and I walked out wondering if she would even know the details of what some of the stuff was that I stuffed into the boxes.
About 3 weeks after dropping off my stuff, I received a check, a very nice check. My bike sold for more than what I thought I could do on my own. After Gear Rush deducted their very reasonable commission, eBay and PayPal fees, I netted about what I thought I would be able to receive for the bike on my own. As a plus, I did not have to deal with e-mails, phone calls nor irritating low-ball offers.
I was amazed at what I sold, much of it for more than I thought the stuff was worth. My “racing wheels” from the mid-1980’s with campy freewheel hubs and MA-40 rims netted me just over $90. Old “Tour de France” commemorative magazines from Winning Magazine netted me $10. I thought for sure they would end up in the paper-recycling bin. The 2 sleeping bags thankfully sold, as I had already purchased a new bag. Clothing did not sell for very much, but I didn’t care as I have way too much cycling clothing. Receiving $5-$15 is nice, but more drawer and closet space is even better.
Based on my itemized receipt, Anne and the folks at Gear Rush knew exactly what I had dropped off. I actually quizzed Anne on my second trip to Gear Rush. She smiled again and said that she noted that the bike was well cared for and knew that I had put on a new chain prior to the sale. She was also more familiar with the MA-40 rims on my old wheels than I was. I then sheepishly thanked her for her intuitive knowledge of my gear and gained the full confidence of Gear Rush’s service.
Alex Grant, co-owner of Gear Rush, has also provided great customer service. He gave me a quick tutorial on how to use the computer in the showroom of Gear Rush if I find a need to purchase an item from them. Little did he know that I am a complete idiot when it comes to computers. He may have to give me another lesson.
The following is an interview with Alex regarding the move by Gear Rush to a new location.
Cycling Utah: Describe the business of Gear Rush, the mission of the business, how and when did it get started and by whom.
Alex Grant: Gear Rush is a consignment business focused on outdoor gear. We sell primarily on our eBay store, where we have over 30,000 positive feedback ratings. We started in mainly cycling and snow sports gear but have expanded to sell pretty much any type of outdoor sports gear, new and used, from climbing equipment to motorcycle jackets. Gear Rush started in the spring of 2011 by Bart Gillespie and myself. Both of us used to sell our old gear each season to make room and money for new gear. We wanted to offer a service that did just that for fellow local gear heads. We moved in to our first space in June of that year but our first day of business was July 5. It didn't take long before we needed some help and we added Brandon Cross by the end of July and Anne Southerand mid-August. They are both still with us, and we have continued to add great employees each year. As any business owner can say we wouldn't be where we are today without our employees so thanks for the hard work guys!
C.U.: Alex, explain the process for Cycling Utah readers that may want to use your service.
A.G.: Our mission is to provide a valued and convenient service for local outdoor sports lovers to sell their gear, or buy something they need. It is a hands-off process from time of drop-off. We take in gear at our new location at 1956 East on 2700 South, where we clean, sort, photograph and list it online. (Note: For those that remember this is the location of the old Green Building Center). Then we field all the customer service, handle the shipping and send a check to our consignors once an item has been received by the buyer. We sell almost all of our items on eBay and have great success there. eBay is a global marketplace that has 150 million users, so our items receive much higher prices and have much greater exposure than if they were sold locally. That said, we certainly do sell items in the store if a customer is local.
C.U.: What sport commodities could potential clients bring to Gear Rush besides cycling stuff?
A.G.: This is an interesting one, as we certainly specialize in cycling, but have great success in any realm of outdoor gear. I don't want to start listing things for fear of leaving something out but really anything from apparel to hard goods in any category from fishing to climbing to motorcycles to back country skiing. We did dabble in a few motorized items and it's just not our specialty so now we are staying away from that, though one of the most interesting things we sold was a 1975 VW Bus with a bunch of spare engine parts and various accessories. We do however sell plenty of motorcycle accessories and apparel.
C.U.: Why move to a retail store? What new services will be offered?
A.G.: I am glad you asked! We actually have not changed our business model at all with the move. We do have a showroom now, but it is not a traditional retail store. We will not be offering any services such as repairs, rentals, etc. and are not a retailer in the sense where we order in new inventory for sale. We will have a showroom with a few key items featured and merchandised, they will be for sale and we will certainly sell them in store, but we won't have a deep or broad inventory on hand. The showroom will also serve as our drop off location for consignment items, as well as a portal for customers to shop our online store. We have two computers set up and ready for browsing our eBay store, and if someone were to find something they wanted to try on or check out we can pull the item. If they want to buy it we are happy to process the transaction in the store. So come on in and see us and shop if you would like!
C.U.: Do you use other listings beside eBay such as Craigslist or say KSL.com?
A.G.: We do almost all of our sales on eBay, and a small amount on KSL. We use eBay for the reasons mentioned above. Our listings are seen across the country and world, shipping about 30-40% of our items internationally. It's always summer or winter somewhere so this helps minimize the seasonal swings that can occur in a place like Utah that does have a pretty harsh winter. Since we do such a high volume on eBay we have a transaction history that gives customers confidence to purchase through us. When buying a $3,000 bike for example, a customer's apprehensions over an online sale will be eased by our 30,000 positive feedback ratings.
We do sell a few items on KSL, generally items that are larger and more expensive to ship. If someone brought us a cruiser bike that was only worth $100, but would cost $150 to ship we would put it on KSL and hope to sell it locally.
C.U.: What are some of the most interesting sales that you have made?
A.G.: Wow, I wish I could remember all of them, but we have sold some really cool vintage stuff. We sold some old Gullwing skateboard bushings for an amazingly high amount, as well as some first generation Shimano Dura-Ace parts. We also sold some old K2 Extreme Glenn Plake skis for $300 or so. I think one of the best stories is a pair of Smith Turntable sunglasses that were the same model that was worn by Walter on Breaking Bad. The client that brought them in had no idea, nor did we, but once they were listed we had tons of questions on them and they started to get bid up way past retail. By the end of the auction they sold for over $1200, and the buyer had to delay payment until his student loans came through! We shipped them out and happily sent our client a huge check for them. They were shocked, as they had thought the original email that said “Your item has sold for $1,200” was a typo. So attention Smith collectors or retailers, maybe check your closets!
C.U. What are some of the Frequently Asked Questions from your customers utilizing your service?
A.G.: Do you sell used apparel or parts? Yes, we do sell a surprising amount of used cycling and other athletic and snow sports apparel provided it is still in good condition. The same goes for parts, that old handlebar or derailleur that you took off your bike a while ago will sell on eBay, so get a box started and bring it down to us!
What do you do with items that don't sell? A lot of listings won't sell the first time and it is no cause for alarm. We have a process for re-listing items that we have worked on over the years. Some items just take time and the right person seeing them to sell, but that said we generally don't list an item more than 10 times if it does not sell. If that happens we contact our client and ask if they would like to pick it up or donate it.
We like to think that we have most other questions answered here, or on our website at http://gearrush.com/how-it-works but if anyone has any more please contact us at [email protected] or call 385-202-7196.
C.U.: How many times has something come through the door that you said to yourself; “Wow, I should buy that!”
A.G.: Every day. But we are used to it by now. We just kind of tell ourselves that things are not available for purchase. We started this thing to slim down our gear collection, not add to it, but that does not mean we don't drool over stuff that comes in!
C.U.: Alex, one more time, what is your new address and hours of operation?
A.G.: Just send us an email at [email protected].com.
Gear Rush's 2019 Info:
Gear Rush Consignment
53 W Truman Ave
South Salt Lake, UT 84115