🗣 Locals to Know: Meet the Pitt alumni behind M@C Discount

Kellen Campbell and Shawn Allen wear T-shirts in a large warehouse.

Today’s Locals to Know interview is sponsored by M@C Discount. Save returns from the landfill and shop unique finds during more than 50,000 daily auctions at up to an 80% discount by visiting mac.bid.

Our interviewees today are always on the lookout for choice finds that fall through the cracks of online retail. Meet Kellen Campbell and Shawn Allen, the folks behind the vast array of after-market auctions available at M@C Discount!

Tell our readers a bit about M@C — what sort of unique items do you find in these liquidation situations?

This is the question that keeps us smiling every day. The literal answer is we offer over 60,000 items each day in our online auctions. The product mix encompasses something for everyone – from furniture and appliances to household goods and exercise equipment. We have the most fun, however, with the unique items. We have received full sized mannequins completely “bedazzled” with gems, blankets for cows, an entire tractor trailer full of Pirate’s Booty snacks and adult-sized Easter Bunny costumes.  There is a fun element of exploring the unknown when browsing our daily auctions; you never know what you might find.

How does M@C’s work make a positive impact? Would you say there’s a sustainability side to what you do?

We strongly believe in second chances. This applies to all aspects of our business. Many of the products we sell would end up in a landfill if we did not put them in our auctions. What someone may have returned because of size or color becomes a M@C Discount bidder’s treasure. 

This sentiment carries over to other areas of our business; we have found old stores and warehouses that have been empty for years and reinvigorated the spaces. Great examples of this are the old Trader Horns store in the ButlerMart, or the former Sears Grand space at the Pittsburgh Mills Galleria. Abandoned “big box” stores are now seeing thousands of people a day through the front door.

We also believe in giving people second chances.  Many of our employees come to us with limited recent employment for various reasons. M@C Discount transitions them back to full-time employment with a culture of acceptance, allowing employees to move forward in a positive way.

It sounds like you’ve helped reactivate empty spaces in the region. Is it fair to say there are things you can do in Pittsburgh but not elsewhere?

Like many other cities, Pittsburgh is going through a “retail transformation.” Online shopping has changed the landscape of retail shopping. One advantage of Pittsburgh is that in addition to the retail space, there are also many older manufacturing buildings that are also great for M@C Discount. We operate in both types of spaces, making Pittsburgh an ideal location for us.

A warehouse packed with boxes large and small.
Tools and other items line the shelves of a M@C warehouse (Photo courtesy of Krakoff Communications, Inc.)

You’re both Panthers. What’s one of your favorite Pittsburgh memories from back in the day?

Typical of most businesses in the area, M@C Discount is full of Pittsburgh sports fans, none bigger than Kellen Campbell: “As a Panther, my fondest memory is beating WVU at Heinz Field in 2004. I was a starter on that team. It was a huge game. We came from behind in the fourth quarter, and the winner essentially won the Big East and would go to the Fiesta Bowl. It was a great environment and an awesome game to be playing in.” 

How do you spend your free time in the ’Burgh? Any favorite places to go or activities?

Pittsburgh has the perfect combination of accessible bike trails and craft breweries (Editor’s note: Amen!). One of Shawn’s favorite activities is to plan out a 20- to 30-mile ride with his wife and friends, stopping to sample the outstanding brews around town. The epic ride is to visit Brew Gentlemen in Braddock, Cinderlands in the Strip District, Grist House in Millvale and end up in Sharpsburg at Dancing Gnome. It is a great way to see the city, get in some exercise and appreciate the skills of the local brew masters.

How can Incline readers keep up with you and your work?

All of our items are offered up for public auction on our website mac.bid and through our mobile app. To download the app just search “M@C Discount” where you download apps. We also share our story on Instagram @merchandiseatcost, on our Facebook page: M@C Discount, and on TikTok @Mac.discount.

Do you have a physical space or store hours? How can folks get the inside scoop on the treasures you find?

Bidding is obviously open 24/7 online, but our stores have more limited hours. We are open for inspection and removal from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. We recommend new bidders stop by one of our convenient locations to see the breadth of products offered and to inspect items before bidding!

Know of a person or organization that we ought to feature? Email your suggestion to hello@theincline.com, and you could see their name in an upcoming newsletter!