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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Cash is Great, But Barter is Smarter

Sep 28, 2017 03:30PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Arthur Kaliel’s first experience with “barter is smarter” may have been 25 years ago but he still remembers it. “I worked for a small printing company in 1986 and I was curious to know how my boss could afford to treat my wife and I to such great dinners and top-notch vacations,” says Kaliel, a marketing agent for ITEX Corporation’s San Diego franchise office. “When I asked, he told me that his generous employee perks were possible because he accepted barter dollars from restaurants and resorts for his printing services,” advises Kaliel.

        Kaliel liked the idea of cashless business transactions so much that in 1992 he went to work for Business Exchange International (BXI), which was bought out in 2004 by ITEX, the leading marketplace for cashless business transactions across North America. ITEX provides a stable and secure infrastructure for businesses to barter and has over 90 franchisees and licensees serving over 24,000 member businesses nationwide.

       According to Kaliel, bartering is especially well suited to service-based businesses, such as printing, accounting, consulting or graphic design. In a service-based business, income often depends on the ability to charge an hourly wage. Time that isn’t accounted for doesn’t produce income, so a services business can benefit from using barter to turn excess hours into hard goods.

        Just about anything can be purchased on barter. With ITEX/s national membership of over 24,000 businesses there are literally thousands of categories for goods and services from which to choose from. “There are 1700 ITEX members in the San Diego area and I keep adding more,” notes Kaliel. “Members tell me about other businesses they want to add to our directory and I go out and recruit them,” advises Kaliel.

        Elaine Russo, Natural Awakenings publisher now Multi-Marketing Agent for ITEX San Diego, nationally and internationally, wasn’t interested in learning about ITEX when she first heard about it. “I was in my second year as a publisher, and I was just too busy.” But her then marketing director, Gloria Taylor Brown, had other plans for her. “She set up a meeting with Arthur Kaliel and practically had to drag me to it,” she recalls. 

        By the end of the meeting, Russo signed on for the program. “There was little to no commitment to try it out,” she says. And before she knew it, business began flowing her way without her even having to try. “It’s all because I entered the world of ITEX, and once you’re in it, you can’t see how you survived that long without it.”

        ITEX has transformed the way Russo does business. “Almost anything you want to buy on barter is available to you,” assures Russo. And, says Russo, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you create it. “Plus, the timing couldn’t be better. With the economic problems our country has been facing, barter systems are becoming more popular.”

        Using barter dollars can not only help entrepreneurs reduce expenses, but it creates new relationships with little effort and no cost, and enables members to take advantage of barter exchanges all over the world.

        “Cash is always going to be king, but barter is queen. And there’s never been a more perfect marriage!” adds Russo. “You don’t lose your cash clients, you gain new clients you would not have had and cash client referrals. It’s a natural phenomenon.”

To find out more, call Elaine Russo at 760-436-2343, or email at [email protected]. Visit



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