This buying and selling business
With some Barbadians continuing to express an interest in selling their new or used items for cash, and others interested in finding a deal, one local business has expanded its operations to meet these growing demands.
It was after recognizing a need for a pawnshop service in Barbados about five years ago that Scott Goodman, operator of Barbados Gold Buyers, decided to open the iexchange store –– buying and selling items for cash.
He told Barbados TODAY that when he started out buying jewellery from residents, there were some who wanted to sell other items and so he ventured into that line of business. It was in 2013 that Goodman decided to open his first iexchange store in Norman Centre, buying a range of items, including appliances, cellphones and television sets.
“We had quite a few people who asked us if we buy other goods. They said they had other things to sell. So we thought it would be great to start buying those. And a lot of other people on the island are also looking to buy used items. So it is a win-win for people who need the cash or want to upgrade, or for people who just want to get a good deal on items,” he said.
And with the growing interest since then, the president and chief executive officer said he had to open another location. About five months ago he set up an operation at the Dome Mall in Warrens, bringing the total number of his employees to about 12.
“Warrens is a growing part of the island; so we felt it would be a great location to be able to get customers from all parts of the island. It is very central,” Goodman said.
He explained that people who wanted to sell or pawn items would contact the store, stating what they had. They would bring the items and give an idea of how much they were expecting in cash. The items would then be examined and valued by the company and an offer of “cash on the spot” made on agreement with the price.
Goodman said while his company was not looking for “just about anything”, it “basically takes anything that can be resold”. And, customers also have the option of collecting the items back for cash payment, plus a service fee.
“The reception has been very good because we also offer the buy-back service. So let’s say if you just need the cash and you don’t want to sell your item; you just need the money temporarily, we can actually do what we call a buy-back which is like a pawn.
“We give you the cash, and then in a certain time you come back with the money and you get your item back. So that has been very well received because a lot of people find themselves [out of pocket] in-between pay cheques,” he explained.
Goodman said while the number of new customers was increasing it was the repeat ones who formed a core part of the operation.
“There are also recommendations. Our repeat guests are always recommending people. We get a lot of repeat customers on the sale side. They come in once a week, or once every two weeks, to see what new items we have, because we are also always bringing in new items. So we have a very good repeat customer base,” he stated.
And while it was not always this businessman’s dream to be involved in this industry he has always had a love for selling various items, having started his entrepreneurial journey around age 21.
“I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur . . . . I started doing mall kiosks in America, selling different products throughout America. I moved to Barbados about five years ago, and I can’t remember how I came across it, but I came across the gold business and started from there; and this is where it led to,” he said.
Goodman has not ruled out the possibility of establishing iexchange stores throughout the region.
“We are taking it a day at a time. We want to make sure that what we have is solid, and then from there we will look into expanding, potentially into the other islands; but again we are taking it one day at a time.”
Ensuring that customers are not selling stolen items is top priority for iexchange. When a customer presents an item for sale, he or she must present picture identification
“Obviously we are buying items from people, so the biggest concern is making sure that we are not buying anything that could potentially be stolen or misrepresented in how it was got. So that is the biggest thing we have to look out for.
“But we don’t get a lot of that. Our customers are generally working individuals and family people. So we don’t generally run into that problem, but it is something we have to stay on top of,” Goodman asserted.
Individuals also have to give a reason why they want to sell their items. Goodman noted that for the jewellery the number one reason was that individuals “just don’t wear them any more” and they “need the cash”.
“For the other items, it is more that they need the cash or want to upgrade. They want a larger TV or a newer cellphone. I would say it is about fifty-fifty; half will do it for the cash, and half will do it because they want to upgrade and they don’t use that item any more,” he explained.
And while the hype surrounding the cash for gold business may have dampened over the last year or so, Goodman said he still had “a good customer base”.
“We are very well recommended and we are very known on the island. So it’s been consistent and good for us,” he said.
“Two years ago, there were a lot more people selling their jewellery; but, of course, once it is sold, you don’t have any more to sell. So it has come to what you call a plateau where we might not be buying the volume that we once bought, but it still keeps us as a solid business.
“We still have our core customers who might not have sold everything. They might not even be selling. They might be doing the buy-back service where they get the cash and then they come back for their items. So that is something that keeps us going,” said Goodman.
And even with the similar businesses around, Goodman said he did not think about competition; he just did what he had to do as best as he could.
Lauding the performance of his staff, the businessman said he remained confident in the Barbados market and he believed business would only improve.
“Barbados is small, but business outlook for us is very good. We offer a great service. Our customer service is great and our prices are great. We pay very well for the items we buy; so it is looking up.
“Our statistics are going up on a regular basis. So we feel good about Barbados,” said Goodman.