There's a new website that lets Kansas government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals save money purchasing useful items and other supplies from the Kansas Department of Administration's Surplus Property outlet.
Products vary widely from musical instruments to mini-vans all of which are housed in a warehouse in Topeka located just off I-70 and MacVicar at 2830 SW Kanza Drive.
KDOA has been trying for years to bring the surplus inventory to its customers through targeted emails. The new website will broaden the reach of the agency to promote its inventory to new customers, as well as to more efficiently communicate with regular purchasers.
Reaching new markets
Twitter and Facebook will allow the agency to reach out to new markets. Regular promotions of special offerings and featured items are planned to help familiarize other agencies and the public of what the KDOA has available. The agency also plans to promote various sections of the surplus catalog on the site, such as listings for computers, furniture, and vehicles.
The surplus section of the agency's website can be found under "Offices" on the site's homepage. At the surplus property homepage, shoppers can choose to view federal or state surplus sections. There is also an option to view vehicles available and to learn about upcoming public auctions.
"We save state agencies thousands of dollars a year by providing them things they need for a much lower price than they would have to pay elsewhere," said Office of Surplus Property Manager Keri Schuetz. "The website will help us reach more customers than ever before, which will save the state even more money."
"You have to familiarize yourself with how the different programs work, but once you do, an organization or agency will be able to find some real bargains," said Todd Fertig, director of public affairs for the KDOA. "And private businesses and individuals will be surprised what's available to them as well when it comes to state surplus.
Finding what people need
The program has been honed over the years to anticipate what products will be most popular with its customers. KDOA staff field requests from entities statewide for specific items. They scour the nation in search of bargains for their customers.
"We've gotten really good at finding things our state needs," said Stacey Schmidling, KDOA Surplus Property Agent. "We try to give a personal touch to our customers."
Schmidling said due to the facility's location in the eastern end of the state that they make a special effort to reach out to users in the western part of Kansas. Recently the program provided a large piece of road machinery to a remote Kansas community – a purchase that had otherwise been out of its financial reach.
The KDOA will hold an open house at the facility on June 6 in order to promote the state surplus program to new customers. The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. in conjunction with Topeka's monthly First Friday Artwalk.
The surplus facility is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday for the public to browse the state surplus inventory.
While the agency encourages customers to visit the facility, it hopes the website and social media emphasis will allow shoppers to access the programs' benefits from any computer.