Thu, July 18, 2024

Local business safely connects online buyers and sellers

Kay Castro wants to take some of the hassle out of buying and selling items online, which has become an increasingly popular way to shop and earn money.

Online sellers drop off a variety of items, such as clothing, toys at shoes at Kay Castro’s business, Martinez Drop. Buyers then pick up the items from Castro. (Photo taken by Josh Heath)

Castro – owner of Martinez Drop located at 472 Flowing Wells Road, J4 behind Farmhaus Burger in Martinez, allows online sellers to drop off their items at her warehouse, and buyers pick up those items from her. Sales are generally conducted through the business’ Facebook group, and she charges a 10% fee for all items sold and picked up at Martinez Drop. “The buyers and sellers usually don’t meet, but they connect through the group,” she says. Castro wants to provide “safety and convenience” for everyone involved, so her customers never have to worry about meeting strangers in a parking lot or picking up items on someone else’s porch. Buyers have nine business days to pick up their items, but she’s very lenient with those who need more time. Castro uses security cameras to ensure customer safety.

People drop off a variety of items with Castro, such as clothes, shoes, home décor, toiletries, and even packaged foods. She calculates her fee and pays sellers in cash every Friday. Castro also has vendors who sell their products through Martinez Drop. Some of these vendors have their own Facebook groups where they post items for sale. While some sellers drop off items every week, others only sell items to make extra money for the holidays.

Castro has a 1,500-square-foot warehouse, where she stores items for her customers and vendors. About half the items are hers. (Photo taken by Josh Heath)

Castro doesn’t know how many items she has in her warehouse and explains about half of them are hers. She typically sees about 300 people a week and $2,000 – $7,000 in sales are generated through the business each week. Castro also sells items, such as toothpaste and body wash, to customers dropping off and picking up merchandise. She has no employees and does most of the work herself, but her husband and children help. She states her 8-year-old daughter helps her on Saturdays. “She doesn’t have school, so she has no choice,” Castro adds.

She says her favorite part of running the business have been the people she’s met, and many have become great friends of hers. “We’ve become a tight-knit group,” Castro explains. While she has enjoyed meeting her customers, running the business hasn’t always been easy. She took it over from a friend in Feb. 2020 and, like many businesses, has dealt with the effects of COVID-19 over the last year and a half. Castro was forced to close her business for about a month. “That was a hard time,” she states. Because she was new to the business when the pandemic began, “I couldn’t get any help,” including small business government loans, Castro states. Getting a business license was another hurdle. When she applied one, the county didn’t know how to classify Martinez Drop.

While Castro has experienced challenges, “I’ve been able to keep my head above water, and it’s been great,” she explains. For more information about Martinez Drop, visit the business’ Facebook page.

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