New Mexico Trade Alliance hosts Barter in the Park event

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Cash, credit or barter? First Barter in the Park held at Haynes Park

by: Ann Marcelli (Observer staff writer)
published: June 10, 2017

When you purchase a good or service, there are generally three ways to pay: cash, credit or debit. But for members of the New Mexico Trade Alliance, barter is the only one option.

Last Sunday, the New Mexico Trade Alliance hosted its first Barter in the Park event at Haynes Park, where members of the alliance invited the public to come and swap. Barter in the Park was essentially a simulation of how the alliance operates: People were asked to bring an item with a value between $40 and $200, for which the alliance gave them trade dollars — essentially Monopoly money. Those trade dollars could then be spent on goods provided by any of the vendors — all Trade Alliance members — in the park.

“It’s a business-to-business trade group for small- and medium-sized businesses and we use trade dollars instead of cash,” said Shirley Schaan, president of the New Mexico Trade Alliance.

Using a system that’s been in place for centuries, members from around the state swap their products and services for those provided by other members.

The alliance markets the goods and services of its members, who then sell to other members to earn credits — trade dollars — that are deposited into the seller’s alliance account. Trade dollars can be spent on anything in the system, and according to its website, the New Mexico Trade Alliance currently has $112,580,391.27 worth of goods and services for sale through its network of businesses.

“It gets you business you wouldn’t have and gets you extra income for the extras in life,” said Schaan, who initially formed the Alliance to provide alternative healthcare about seven years ago. “One of our artists just got back from Hawaii. Stayed right on the beach using her trade dollars. Trade dollars are used internationally, so it’s not just our local members — we’re connected to thousands.”

Though the New Mexico Trade Alliance holds four barter events per year, Sunday marked the first time the Alliance opened an event to the public.

“We plan on doing this once a year. It’s been very successful,” said Schann.

For more information on the New Mexico Trade Alliance, visit newmexicotradealliance.com.

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