Equitrade International, launched by Jim West a year ago, has
completed its merger with Barter Consultants International (BCI),
launched by Lee Anne Busman in 1999, creating one of the largest
barter exchanges in the Southeast. The principal partners head up
the new Georgia-based company, Equitrade Atlanta, headquartered in
Alpharetta off Windward Parkway.
Together, they have more than 50 years of combined experience in the
areas of mergers and acquisitions, barter, real estate and
accounting. The merger also brings the client list for Equitrade
Atlanta to more than 3,500 members.
�In a down economy, bartering makes good sense,� West said. �It is
an excellent alternative for businesses that have excess capacity,
surplus inventory or downtime.� West launched Equitrade
International, a barter exchange for the commercial real estate
industry, a year ago with the focus on bartering leases for office,
restaurant, retail, and warehouse space.
�Our approach to commercial barter is unique in that we accept
barter deposits, giving clients total control over their account
balance,� West explained. �We are also the only barter exchange in
the area with a commercial leasing program. Empty space is a
perishable commodity for commercial landlords. Every month it stands
empty is a loss.
�But if you can fill that space with a tenant who has something you
need or can barter with other clients, it�s a win-win. It can get a
new business up and running, and provide a landlord with traffic in
an otherwise empty commercial property.
�Our entire business model is banking related, rather than club
membership related,� West affirmed. Their office is in a banking
building formerly used by a credit union, and they rent it through
Busman said barter allows businesses to use their products like
currency. �The liquidity comes from the large number of members who
could use their product. And every new client, adds to that
liquidity,� she pointed out. �Although sales are taxable, your
bartered item is tax deductible. In addition, the exchange acts as
record keeper for the IRS � similar to what any bank does.�
Members in the barter exchange use gift certificates that provide
liquidity for those who qualify for the program. Those certificates
are �banked� as credits, which deposits them in a larger pool of
goods and services from other exchange members.
Equitrade Atlanta receives a fee of 10% from only the �seller� in a
transaction, while the �buyer�s� gain is the gross margin of the
product being traded. Members can buy and sell online using
Equitrade.com, like eBay or Craig's List, by using their barter
�That,� revealed West, �is the power of Equitrade � turning idle
assets around to work for clients.�