Thomas the Train chalkboard and easel for free.
Fender Bass Guitar for $255.
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker for $20.
These were some of the recent hot items over at Westchase Swap and Shop. The brainchild of Ruth Wilson has become a quick success among folks who have great stuff and don't want to go far to sell or swap it.
As a stay-at-home Wilson found herself increasingly on Facebook. With an infant at home she also had a lot of baby clothes she could no longer use.
"I thought I don't want to go to a consignment shop," said Wilson, who used to work in marketing.
Wilson said she wasn't impressed with the existing online swap and shops.
"I thought why not do something local," she said. "I created Westchase Swap and Shop and the word started spreading."
Westchase Swap and Shop is a virtual marketplace set up as a Facebook Group. Users must request to be added to the group, which is administered by Wilson. Once accepted in, you are free to post items for sale, buy items, request items or swap.
"What better way than to share among the community," said Wilson, who has lived in Westchase for 10 years.
In the online world, it can take a while for folks to take notice of new websites or initiatives. Not in the case of Westchase Swap and Shop. Since it launched in September 2012, the group has grown to include 330 members.
Disenchanted with overly cumbersome online swap and shops, Wilson decided to keep the rules of the Westchase site casual and easy.
The five basic rules are simple:
- After 14 days if an item isn't sold it gets deleted.
- A photo must accompany items for sale.
- List your price.
- Update your post when your item is sold.
- No handmade items or business promotion.
You don't have to be a Westchase area resident to be accepted into the group, but most are.
"People have had such a good experience and found good deals it keeps them coming back," Wilson said on a recent days sitting inside the Starbucks at West Park Village.
As the site grows so does Wilson's visibility in the neighborhood. Some have come up to her asking if she's the creator of the "Westchase Swap and Shop' and thanked her. She also takes part in the site posting items for sale and sometimes giving them away for free.
Once someone requested the third installment to the Hunger Games books. Wilson had the book, so she simply let the group user borrow it.
Wilson said she thinks part of the success of her site is the camaraderie and trust that comes from selling and swapping with people who share the same ZIP code.
"This isn't a Craigslist ad, this is coming from someone in your neighborhood," she said. "And if you aren't comfortable then you can meet in a public place."
The other part is having good common sense in an economically challenging time.
"If you have a pile of clothes you want to get rid of why not make a few bucks," she said.
To request access to Westchase Swap and Shop seach for it on Facebook and request to join.