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Hi, my name is Trevor Davis, and I am a spokesperson for the Open Barter Network. The OBN program is in its pre-launch phase and we don’t have customers to share their thoughts, so I thought that I would share some of my experiences with normal “old fashioned” barter. What I mean by “Old Fashioned” was the mid-1990s when the big internet novelty was the AOL “you’ve got mail” message with its familiar ring tone. AOL is gone now, and in the 1990s The Internet was not any part of the barter system.I was a small business owner and a member of the Los Angeles chapter of a group called BXI (Business Exchange International).

The name of my business was Marketizing and of course, I was in marketing.
In those days you either went to the BXI Office which was located in North Hollywood, or one of the representatives would visit you to exchange restaurant scrip or other things for the “Barter Buck” credits you had earned. If you were interested in some sort of item, you would call the BXI office and they would check for it on their computer’s proprietary database. Today it is MUCH different. Here is how I used my barter.

First, I was always getting as much of the restaurant script as I could. There were several different local restaurants that I liked and frequented for personal and business use. Here is a few that I still remember after all this time: Anarkali, Indian restaurant located on Melrose avenue in Hollywood. Wokcano, which was located on 7th street in Los Angeles. Wokcano had what they called Asian Fusion cooking that I really enjoyed. Luckily, they were smart businesspeople who knew how to use barter for business and their restaurant scrip was readily available. There was a great Greek restaurant called Papa Cristo’s on Pico Blvd that had been serving great family style dinners since 1948. Then there was a Cuban restaurant, the Versailles restaurant on S. La Cienega Blvd. Miceli’s Italian restaurant that had great food and a roving musician in Studio City. The Eclectic Café in North Hollywood was wonderful for a Sunday brunch. And there was a Persian one whose name I cannot remember. All of these great restaurants except the Persian one is still in business and I suggest you try them when in L.A. So, restaurants were something I enjoyed for both business and pleasure.

Resorts were a great part of the benefits. I would rent beautiful cabins in Big Bear that were large enough to sleep 10 and invite up the whole family and an occasional friend or two. My kids would often invite a friend to come along as well. There were three restaurants and a bakery in Big Bear that accepted barter, so food was taken care of as well. Boat rentals were also on barter. Unfortunately, skiing was not but most everything else was. One summer I even rented a white Chrysler convertible on barter for one of the trips.

Of course, many services my business used were paid for using barter.
All my accounting, my auto repair, computer service, lots of printing, maintenance, hotel rentals for out of town guests, and business entertainment including movies, boat fares to Catalina and some small live theater shows.

Here’s something from one of my sons.

My youngest son really got a lot out of my being a barter member. Of course, he enjoyed many of the restaurants, but for him, his biggest barter memory is about “Camp Cottontail,” a summer camp located in Malibu Canyon a few miles from the ocean. Camp Cottontail had everything. Horseback riding, boating, archery, a rifle range, swimming, jet skis, wildlife, fire pit meetings, crafts. You name it, Cottontail had it. He spent a few weeks there which gave us a nice excuse to get out of the city and visit one day on the weekend. The whole thing was paid for with barter.

I was turning 50 and we had to do something to celebrate such a big deal. I had never thought I would make it to 50, but since I did, we celebrated … … and I used Barter to do it. I rented the Silent Movie Theater located on Fairfax Avenue about a block south of Melrose Avenue for the night. We had the theater all to ourselves for the night.

I invited a bunch of friends and we rented a very funny and campy movie.

The House of Wax starring Vincent Price was the first big 3D movie. It was a kinda funny scary movie, a classic and lots of fun. As my guests arrived, each of them received their: … and of course, their popcorn After the show we went upstairs to a room the theater had, where a buffet I catered (on barter of course) was served. IT WAS A GREAT NIGHT. So that is a glimpse of how Barter can enhance your life. But in these days, it might be something that can help you through the rough times when every expense you can pay with barter may save you vital cash for other things. My advice to business owners today is to use barter as well and creatively as I recall Wokcano did. Our networking program will help you to find more ways to use it. And to not forget…to reward yourself with some pleasure in the process too.

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