In exchange for coffee and food, Wichita business owners score unexpected treasures

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After a successful Barter Day at a restaurant in Wichita, KS, two business owners walked away with a bicycle, sunglasses, theater tickets, a few live performances, and a renewed appreciation for the art of bartering.

In exchange for coffee and food, Wichita business owners score unexpected treasures

by: Denise Neil
published: April 2, 2018

Barter Day has come and gone at Espresso to Go Go and Little Lion Ice Cream, and now the owners have a new-to-them bicycle, Music Theatre Wichita tickets, a pair of much-needed sunglasses — and lots of fun memories.

Last week, I told you about a unique idea by the owners of the businesses, which both operate out of the space on the ground floor of The Lux, 120 E. First St. On Saturday, they invited customers to come in and barter for their coffee, waffles, burritos and ice cream. People could offer goods or services, and if the owners deemed them valuable, they'd make a trade.

It was a busy morning, said Jubilee Miller, who owns Little Lion with her husband, Ian. And by the time it was over, they had those MTW tickets, sunglasses, a new alarm clock, the promise of a photo session and some new art. Meanwhile, Espresso to Go Go owner Warren Tandoc traded for a bicycle, then cross-traded with the Millers for some art, some gift cards and a bike tuneup. Tandoc also got some art and some homemade balms and salves.

"The highlight was a high schooler playing a ukulele and singing a beautiful song in exchange for a triple berry lavender lemon waffle," Jubilee said. "It was a perfect trade — a magical moment for a wonderful thing. It felt so fitting."

The owners said they had so much fun that they want to try it again and might make it an annual event.

The idea came about when Tandoc and Ian Miller got into a discussion about capitalism and how they don't like the spirit of it these days. They wanted to try something different.

As she listened to her customer sing, Jubilee said, she realized the experiment had been a success.

"At that point, trading that song for a waffle seemed way more natural and made way more sense than trading the song for money and then money for the waffle," she said. "It felt a little utopian for a bit there."

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