Pandemic fueled a hot hustle: buying stuff cheap, reselling at a profit

It’s a hustle as old as humankind: Get something on the cheap; persuade someone to take it off your hands for more. After the pandemic shut people in and wiped out jobs, the gig got supercharged.

One couple has sold $12,400 of Walmart instant soup mix since June. Another reseller is peddling boxes of 200 slightly wrinkled dresses for $800.

These freshly minted entrepreneurs managed to bootstrap their own businesses with little or no funding, often starting by selling common consumer products online from their homes and then expanding to warehouses.

“We’ve seen crazy growth,” said Marcus Shen, chief operating officer of B-Stock Solutions, which bills itself as the world’s largest business-to-business online marketplace for the unsold, the surplus, the returned and the liquidated. The Belmont, Calif., company has experienced a 34% increase in new resellers in the last year, he said.

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