An article in yesterday's editions of The Sun incorrectly stated the price of refinished desks from the state Agency for Surplus Property in Jessup. The desks are available for $25 at the warehouse sale taking place today, but refinishing costs extra.
The Sun regrets the error.
A caption incorrectly identified the man reupholstering a chair in a photograph on Page 1C of yesterday's editions of The Sun. The man is Perry Hudson.
FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION
The Sun regrets the error.
It's the state's attic, a 60,000-square-foot warehouse in Jessup packed with old furniture, computers, dental equipment, surf boards, ship's engines and front-end loaders.
And everything's on sale tomorrow when the Maryland Agency for Surplus Property opens for its last Saturday sale this year. It's not a Christmas sale, but there are bargains of 50 percent to 60 percent off already-discounted prices on a treasure trove of government surplus goods.
"It's one of the best-kept secrets in the state," said Garner Schafert, an employee at Waste-Tron of Maryland Inc., shopping for safety equipment at the state warehouse during its regular hours earlier this week. "You feel like a kid in a candy shop when you come out here."
Check out some of the bargains that will be available tomorrow from the warehouse's $11 million inventory:
* Electric typewriters as low as $12.50.
* Solid wood desks, refinished on-site by inmates or former inmates, priced at $25.
* An industrial-sized clothes dryer, for $175.
* And an old police car, at no more than $1,700.
A Towson doctor, too embarrassed to give his name, paid $100 for a Panasonic photocopy machine at the warehouse earlier this week -- and that was the regular, non-discounted price.
"We're going to come back on Saturday and rip them off at half-price," he said of tomorrow's sale. "I think it's great. I don't know why they keep it secret."
Officials say the warehouse, which offers surplus from local, state and federal agencies, was never meant to be a secret -- though it isn't the easiest place to find.
Nestled in the woods off Brock Bridge Road on the Anne Arundel County side of Jessup, the surplus store is marked by a single sign. Normally, it's open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, making it inconvenient for many working people.
Though the warehouse holds Saturday sales five or six times a year and advertises, it draws minimal traffic from the public, said Claude Misher, director of the agency.
"People just don't know that the general public can come out here," he said.
Not all of its goods can be sold to the public. By federal regulations, most of the equipment donated by the federal government only can be bought by organizations such as other government agencies and by health and education groups.
Despite its huge cache of goods, the warehouse is not a big moneymaker. It only netted about $32,000 last fiscal year.
But it donated items worth $230,000 to shelters for the homeless and $41,000 in supplies to flood victims in Missouri. It also gave computers worth $2.7 million to public schools throughout the state.
"We're not here to make money," Mr. Misher said. "We're here to save money."
Still, the warehouse draws a steady stream of customers hoping for a good deal on office equipment, paper goods, hardware and other government odds and ends.
Except for new office supplies, much of the goods are old and might be in need of minor repairs. The work can be done at the warehouse itself, in a shop that features vehicle and furniture repair.
Many of the workers in that shop are inmates at nearby Maryland prisons or former prisoners who started working there while imprisoned. Jimmie Brown, 35, began working as an upholsterer while at the Jessup Pre-Release Unit, a state prison for inmates ++ who are finishing their sentence and about to be released. He stayed on after he was released.
"Each and every project I do as if I were putting it in my own house," he said. "Instead of going home and selling drugs, I'd rather use that staple gun. I'm getting a lot of satisfaction out of the program."
The Maryland State Agency for Surplus Property warehouse is at 8037 Brock Bridge Road, Jessup. It is open tomorrow from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Further information is available by calling (301) 596-1080., or (410) 799-0440.