February 8

Launching a Cat Boarding Business and Hosting Peanuts Movies with Government Surplus

Last Updated on March 7, 2023

From fire trucks and cars, to generators and lawn mowers, government surplus comes in all shapes and sizes. The wide variety means that when citizens get their hands on some, they get to use it for just about any purpose: reselling, business fleets and equipment, or for recreation. Through Rob Kelsey’s story, we discover someone who began launching a cat boarding business and hosting Peanut movies with government surplus.

Rob, along with his spouse, have found success on Municibid through a number of products over the years which have made running their cat facility easier. But he never planned to use Municibid for that reason, nor for playing film for the local kiddos.

“I live in Macedonia, New York, which is outside of Rochester. My spouse and I own a cat hotel. It’s a feline-only boarding facility. And we’ve used Municibid quite a few times for projects that we needed to do around our office. One of the big ones that we got was a large glass partition wall that we use as kind of like a viewing area, so that the cats can see out. Humans can see in. And we made that into, like a playroom space, so that the cats can get out and stretch their legs.”

Rob Kelsey - government surplus - spindles

“And then we just recently got an order for a bunch of hand railing and spindles for an expansion project that we’re working on right now. We’ve been doing our little home business for about seven years. And I’ve been playing with Municibid for probably three of those four years.”

Today, Rob can look back with gratitude on experience with Municibid, but he only learned about the company through chance.

“I don’t know how my supervisor knew about it, but that’s how I knew about Municibid. I basically heard about it through work and how they get rid of like, some old generators.”

After coming down with a terrible case of salmonella due to his work at a sewage treatment plant, he spent a great deal of time at home recovering. Medicines given to him to offer healing, caused him to have an adverse reaction, extending his sick leave. His problems were mounting and income was falling short. His wife worked, which helped, but they had to support themselves and three cats. With a need for more income, something needed to be done. Rob decided to take a dive into the world of government surplus, building upon something that they were already doing – watching cats.

“And we just thought, hey, you know, maybe we can do a little home business watching cats, while friends and family are on vacation. And then, we never really advertised, but we’re going around and within a year of actually doing this legally – because a lot of people do pet sitting, but they do it under the table – we decided right from the get-go that we would do it all on the box. Within a year, we had so much business that both myself and my spouse were doing it as a full time job.”

“And it’s great to be able to just get out of bed. And you know, as long as no customers are coming, if you want to go out and work on the cats in your pajamas you can, and you don’t have to worry about traffic. It’s great to just walk into the backyard and get to work.”

Ironically, though cat-watching was the reason for looking into Municibid, Rob’s first purchase was used for something else entirely.

“When I thought about starting up the business, I was like, there could be stuff on there that we can use. And then, honestly, the first thing that we bought though was projectors. We bought some to connect to your computer so you can display your screens on the wall.”

Rob Kelsey - government surplus - projector

One of the projectors he bid on, Rob donated to a local book store who, similar to him, put on free programming in the community. Among distributing books, they also spent time playing film for attendees.

“When I say they do programs, it’s like maybe twelve people can fit in the room. They do programs that are free. Tour, and all different types of programs. They can be just like, getting together to study the Bible, crafting programs. The owner of the bookstore, he used to be a teacher. I think he was more of a history teacher, but he did a lot of theater stuff too.”

“So I was like, hey, you know, why don’t we, some of the locals that always come down here for your programs, why don’t we just have a night where we just do nothing? Everybody brings like a little dish to pass, nothing super fancy. And we’ll just sit down, watch a movie together. And they’re usually comedy movies so that it’s a little light hearted. And then we’ll do some holiday stuff too!”

“It’s a nice little community to live in.”

The other projector Rob used for programming that he himself put on in his community.

“The first purpose of that projector was to do a little Halloween program.”

“I never had any kids. And I always love those little peanut movies. I figured, you know, I didn’t have any kids, but I’ve always wanted one. So what better way to have some fun with some kids and make sure that those Peanut movies never go away?”

“Our local fire department has a pavilion that’s right on the Erie Canal. So, we brought in a bunch of hay and couple loads of leaves and made a big leaf pit for the kids to jump in. Brought doughnuts.” 

Rob Kelsey - government surplus - community movie
Rob Kelsey - government surplus - community leafpit

“They had toast in the movie, so we brought a toaster down and anyone who wanted to toast, we’d give them toast. It was kind of fun. Just just a night out on the town.”

Aside from great accommodations, Rob was hoping the kids would learn some good values from the programming as well.

“I think there’s just there’s too much hate and violence on TV right now. Every primetime show seems to be about cops or investigations. And there’s no more like Cosby show type of stuff anymore.”

“I think bringing the community together and showing how you can do stuff together and have a good time without, you know, saying ‘That person doesn’t look like me. So I don’t like them,’ or whatnot, ‘We’re the peanuts.’ They were all different colors. Boys and girls. And they all got along.”

With some set-up by the canal, Rob put on a successful, free, and community-wide movie event where they watched The Peanuts Movie. He was overjoyed about being able to share childhood animations with the kids  and hopes to continue serving his community in this way, plus continuing his cat-sitting business.

Rob Kelsey - government surplus - community movie 2

Rob serves as an example to anyone with curiosity, even aspiration for diving into the world of government surplus. You can resell, add to your business fleet or equipment, or simply acquire things to use around the home or toward your hobbies. Municibid had plenty to offer him, and has plenty to offer you too. Take a look at our online government auctions today.


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