Prior to joining Tradebank in 2007 Jeff Coen, owner of the C-Team Studios, did limited one-to-one trading in the Topeka area. His friends knew Coen understood the benefits of barter and introduced him to Tradebank which enabled Coen to take his trading to the next level. “Often, trading on my own didn’t work because I didn’t always need what they had to offer. However, as a growing company, we were always looking for ways to meet and network with other business owners. Tradebank gave us immediate exposure to over 100 local business owners (which has since grown to over 170) which was a huge shot in the arm for us. The best part of Tradebank was that we didn’t have to directly reciprocate the trade. In addition, the local Tradebank office had immediate new business for us. They were looking for someone with video production services and had a few jobs waiting to be shot. We signed up immediately. The web design and website/email hosting service we offer was an extra bonus to our Tradebank region,” explains Coen.
He continues, “The first purchases I made with the new revenue I received through Tradebank were taking cash clients out to lunch at Tradebank restaurants. We also did what every other Tradebank client does and purchased business cards, fliers, pens and vinyl banners. In addition, as I became a more savvy trader, I purchased a flat screen monitor and a couple portable DVD players. Then I combined efforts with another Tradebank client and purchased a heavy-duty pickup truck with Tradebank dollars. For us, it didn’t take long to figure out that purchasing hard goods with Tradebank is a no-brainer if you’re patient, flexible and know where to look. We are still looking for a Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit, and a couple Tippmann paintball guns. Know of any for sale?
My wife and I always keep our eyes and ears open for the ‘next big thing’, and a big opportunity came knocking. Our regional owner, Nick Baumgartner, told us another Tradebank client had a wide-format printer for sale. After taking a look at it, I saw three major problems. It smelled like solvent, was a little complicated to operate and was very big. Even though I was a ‘computer guy’, I was quite intimidated by this machine. Most of all, I knew my wife would never let this machine in our basement or garage. So I told Nick, I would have to pass on the deal. A few days later Nick called and said that Tradebank client, iView Security, had some warehouse space that they were looking to fill through Tradebank. The space was perfect to house the printer and we moved in the next week. Not only did we purchase the printer through Tradebank, our rent is also paid with Tradebank dollars. We felt like we really hit the jackpot!
This machine can print on almost any material you can feed through it, so we started printing and installing full color vehicle wraps, banners and signs. A new cash revenue stream was created because off Tradebank. In addition to expanding our web business to include printing, in conjunction with another Tradebank client, Trinity Marketing Group, an advertising firm, we have created several locally produced TV shows. I couldn’t have done any of it without the networking available through Tradebank.”
Coen and Baumgartner work together to assist one another in building their businesses. “It’s just how we do business here in Topeka. We’re a family, not just a collection of businesses. We foster and facilitate each other success,” explains Baumgartner.