On some days, Lake Charles businessman Bentley Berlin rarely uses cash for purchases. He is not owed a lifetime worth of favors, yet he does need goods and materials for his personal and business use. He is able to satisfy those needs through bartering. Bently is a member of the Buccaneer Exchange, a group of business owners who trade among themselves. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 12:59 PM
On some days, Lake Charles businessman Bentley Berlin rarely uses cash for purchases.
He is not owed a lifetime worth of favors, yet he does need goods and materials for his personal and business use.
He is able to satisfy those needs through bartering.
Bently is a member of the Buccaneer Exchange, a group of business owners who trade among themselves.
The exchange is part of a nationwide network that falls under the umbrella of TradeAuthority, a Baton Rouge-based entity. Operating for 13 years, the group has over 600 members.
Trading partners in Lake Charles were brought together starting in 2011 through the Buccaneer Exchange.
“Actually, it is a form of good advertising,” said Berlin, the owner of Bentley’s Country Club Auto Repair and Collision. “Barter means we trade not using cash.”
The Buccaneer Exchange features area businesses that provide furniture, pest control and office supplies.
“By becoming a member, you benefit from new businesses from other BUX (Buccaneer Exchange) members. In turn, you convert your cash expenses into trade expenses, keeping your cash in the register,” the network’s Facebook page states.
Berlin wants more people to join the network.
“That would be more opportunities to spend in different businesses’ operations,” he said.
Jodi Sweeney McGee serves as the executive director for the local group.
She said the way the Buccaneer Exchange operates ensures that all members benefit instead of only a handful.
“There are barter networks around the country. Most are owned by one person, and that can be harmful because that one person is in charge and has full control. Our network is member-owned with a board of directors,” she said.
The network is not open to the public, though.
“In order to be a member, you have to be approved,” McGee said. “Most members get in through referrals. The whole purpose is to bring new businesses that a person may not be getting access to.”
Once a member is approved, they get access to points. Those points are used at other network member businesses.
“It is bartering. It is another form of income,” McGee said.
Berlin has used his points at other network partners outside the city.
“I have been to hotels that are part of us and, except for a few dollars, everything was taken care of,” he said.
For more information about the Buccaneer Exchange, call 337-802-4221.
Posted By: Paul Melancon On: 9/19/2012
Title: Community Currency
What a great hedge against the declining US Dollar. Baton Rouge has a similar program doing over $8 Million a year in Barter. See www.partners1.org