Tom “Mezzy” Hiles is shown in his Huron home with his laptop logged into the Huron Rummage Online Facebook site he created in August. In just three months the site has more than 2,000 members seeking to buy or sell. A site member offered a challenge to find something at home to sell and buy food for the Salvation Army Pantry. Food items can be dropped off at J.T. Elite Auto through Friday. The mountain of food collected so far is shown in the next photo. PHOTOS BY CRYSTAL PUGSLEY/PLAINSMAN
Tom “Mezzy” Hiles of Huron hit on an opportunity that was ready to begin when he created the Huron Rummage Online group on Facebook in August.
His site gained 100 members a day for the first seven days. Just three months later, the site has more than 2,000 members, and allows people to show pictures and tell about items they have to sell or want to buy.
Hiles said he happened upon the idea quite by accident. He and his family were preparing to travel out of town and they found themselves in dire need of a kennel for their pet.
“Originally I just put it out there on Facebook,” Hiles said. “In 10 minutes I had one. I wanted a new lawnmower and need to sell the old one. I put it on there and in 5 to 10 minutes, it was gone.
“I said we should just make a site for that,” he said. “As soon as I started it, it took off on its own like crazy.”
To help keep up with the administrative duties, Hiles has volunteer administrators including Lisa Quiram, Cassi Russel, Tasha Hokanson, Abby Fullerton Halter, Fawn Stahl and Brittany Decker.
Along with providing a one-stop shopping opportunity, Huron’s rummage page on Facebook also helps mobilize people to make a difference.
Last week one of the site’s members, Bryan Nie, suggested everyone try to find something in their house to sell and use the money to buy food for the Salvation Army Food pantry. Food donations are being taken to JT Elite Auto. The food drive will continue through Friday.
Hiles compiled an extensive series of guidelines to help make the site as user-friendly as possible for those hoping to sell and those looking for deals.
Since starting the site, Hiles has learned of other communities using a Facebook page to help connect people who want to buy or sell items.
“In the short time it’s been going we’ve laid out some pretty good rules,” Hiles said. “After starting the site, other towns contacted me to ask if they could use the rules for their site.”
Deals are typically made through the “comments” of each item, he said. Some people will include a phone number, but 90 percent publicly write an offer or comment.
No commercial sales are allowed.
Hiles, who plays with the popular Black Water Band, said he also builds little four-string guitars from wooden cigar boxes.
“I don’t use it on stage too much,” he said, laughing. “Quite a few bands use them. It’s what all Blues players started on in the ’30s. They couldn’t afford to buy guitars.”
Via his Internet site he’s connected with a fellow in California who can sell them worldwide.
“At a rummage sale you might have 20 people stop by,” Hiles said. “Here (Huron Rummage Online) there’s 2,000-plus people who can see it any minute and it’s gone quick. I’ve sold a camper and snagged up some great items.
“There are people who sit by their computer, they’re afraid to get up and miss something,” Hiles added. “The more members we get, the more things available.”
For the complete article see the 10-30-2011 issue.
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