In June of 1987 United Salvage of America opened for business in a garage apartment in Long Beach, California. Our business strategy was to prospect any and all businesses which were affiliated with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. These businesses included Steam Ship Companies, Warehouses, Trucking Companies, and Importers. We believed that wherever there were large quantities of goods being moved, there was problem freight. This strategy proved to be a solid business model.
In 1987 the ports were dominated by only a few salvage companies, it was a “good old boy network” and very difficult to break into. Through aggressive prospecting, hard work and a fresh new attitude towards handling salvage freight, United Salvage began to be recognized as a serious, reliable salvage company on the waterfront. We bought and sold all types of goods including raw materials, steel, plywood, lumber, food, industrial goods, and consumer goods. We adopted the slogan “aggressively solving problems of damaged and surplus goods.”
Over the next 11 years, through solid business practices, our business grew and we gradually expanded our vendor bases which led to more frequent and larger deals. We soon had a substantial inventory of all kinds of merchandise, some of which was difficult to wholesale. This surplus inventory problem lead us to the idea of weekend parking lot sales in the parking lot of our South Gate warehouse. These parking lot sales were an immediate success, and the residents of South Gate began looking forward to our monthly sales. We had then what we still have today, quality merchandise at great prices. This was our start in the retail business.
In early 1999 the business located directly across the street from our warehouse closed and their building went up for sale. Due to our loyal customer base from 2 years of parking lot sales, we immediately envisioned this building as a great opportunity to go full time into the retail business. In September of 1999, Santa Fe Seconds opened for business.
From our humble beginnings in South Gate, we have grown to a 3 store chain with 65,000 square feet of retail selling space. We maintain clean, well merchandised stores, carrying everything and more that you would find in any full price department store. Due to our roots in the salvage business we have maintained relationships with many of the businesses linked to Southern California ports and still make opportunity buys from these vendors. We are direct buyers of reverse logistic merchandise from the largest Club and Department store chains, and also take advantage of the huge number of closeout opportunities which exist in the Los Angeles area.
The combination of all of these factors makes our stores a bargain hunters dream. Our customer base grows daily, as our discount prices on name brand goods always exceed our new customer’s expectations.