PRAIRIE – When the truckloads of overstock and close out merchandise arrive weekly, Worldwide Surplus has no clue what will be inside.
“When the trailers get here, it’s like Santa Claus coming. With so many furniture stores, you see a display and have to order it, but here, what you see is what you get,” said Harold Hood, who settled into business after years of working mostly in sales.
Since the liquidation business opened in 1992, it has spanned through as many as 10 buildings that once helped comprise the Gulf Ordnance Plant during World War II.
“We have customers from Jackson, Birmingham, Nashville, Little Rock and everywhere in between and people love this atmosphere. I tell them we don’t have air conditioning or heat, but I don’t charge them for it either,” Hood said.
Worldwide Surplus sells a little bit of everything, but its main focus is on furniture, mattresses and box springs. The business also carries an assortment of tables, headboards, and bedroom suits. Hood purchases products, which may have slight imperfections or older patterns in addition to the overstock and close out goods, from companies such as Ashley, J.C. Penny and World Imports.
He expects a load of small appliances, bedspreads, lamps and comforters in the next J.C. Penny delivery. Hood recalls a time when 12 tractor trailer loads of décor items from San Francisco-based Gumps came in and customers quickly bought up the supply.
Although the building materials arm of Worldwide Surplus closed a couple of years ago, products like metal swimming pool liner and insulated panels are still available for a variety of projects.
The pool liner can be used for underpinning or roofing and some has been donated for use in projects at the Aberdeen Animal Shelter. The insulated panels have been used for everything from shooting houses to residential homes.
“Our economy has become a trade society and you can almost trade something faster than you can sell something,” Hood said.
He’s traded restaurant equipment for a hog roaster on wheels, a load of furniture for a New Orleans trolley car and a Prevost Motor Coach for a 1969 MCI Texas State Prisoner bus.