By Jill Slater (Original Article Link)
August 5, 2014 - 7:18am
Bartering for an abode: A Regina family builds a new home R ather than buying a new house, one Regina couple is bartering itself one.
“A lot of people probably think we’re crazy and that it’s impossible to do,” said Lauren Benesh. Lauren and Dan Benesh run a window blind business. They plan to trade blinds with various other businesses until they have what they need to build their house. "Oh yeah, we're going to have logos everywhere. In the show home, like on the exterior there's going Lauren and Dan Benesh are behind Tradebank Regina. Photo by CJME's Jill Slater. to be, you know, this exterior, this stone was provided by Timberstone, the stucco was done by Casa Stucco and, then on the inside, the counter top was done by CNG. All over the place. It's going to be littered with logos. Until we live there. Then we'll take them down," said Dan. The pair is the mastermind behind Tradebank Regina. More than 100 businesses are a part of their network; all of them barter and trade together to save costs.
"What I love about bartering and running Tradebank is that no day is the same. One week we might sign up a new restaurant...the next week, we might sign up an advertising firm," said Dan."What really brings it home to me is at the end of the year, I can look back at my clients' trading statements, I can say, ‘Ok this client has traded $15,000 worth of stuff. In return they've gotten $15,000 worth of stuff they've needed, that they were going to spend cash on.’ Based on their costs, I know their savings is this much so I really feel good when I can look back and say, ‘I made some money. They saved much more money. And we've kept a lot more business local.’" Over the last three years, they’ve traded everything from advertising and counter tops , to cement, hot tubs, and (possibly the weirdest) a Can-Am Spyder motorbike - that’s a ride with two wheels in the front and one in the back. But the Benesh’s say this is their biggest project yet. "The whole purpose of the project is to really push home the point of shopping local and supporting local small businesses.
By working with these business owners every day we see how hard it is to stand out from the big box stores," said Lauren. The couple has a plot of land in Harbour Landing and expects it will take between one year and a year-and-a-half to build. "It's a mesh of a dream home that has personality and colour on the walls and unique fixtures, just the beautiful products we can source locally. And really make one big picture come to life." But they’re not sure if they’ll live in it. "I believe we will. Eventually at the end of the project, that will be kind of like our reward. We'll put in the hot tub. We'll have a big party, invite all the friends over...there's actually some options in the Saskatoon region of getting some alcohol through Tradebank," said Dan.
So, Tradebank might just be good for the housewarming party too, not just the building process.