LIMA — With the stay-at-home order, online shopping has become part of the new normal. One Lima man has found success in the cybershopping world.
Bill Frueh, a longtime collector, decided in March to try and clear some of his extra goods in hopes of making a little extra cash. With the shutdown of traditional shopping and people looking to shop for Easter, he has done better than he anticipated.
Like a lot of collectors, Frueh and his girlfriend, Heather Wood, like to hit the thrift stores and flea markets in search of treasures and good deals. Frueh said he occasionally shopped on Craigslist and eBay, depending if he was looking for a specific item.
“I knew I could find stuff and make more money off them,” Frueh said. “It is something I was doing anyway so why not make a profit off it. I do collect myself and have 200 bobbleheads and sports memorabilia stuff.”
According to the data from predictive retail analytics firm Quantum Metric, U.S.-based retailers with both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels have experienced a 52% revenue growth rate online between the fifth and eight weeks of 2020 (Jan. 27 to Feb. 23) — the period when the virus began its rapid spread outside of Asia.
With technology the way it is, Frueh — who added that his uncles have always been business oriented — made his way online and opted to sell his finds on Facebook Marketplace. It attracts an audience locally and nationally.
Frueh said the process was simple, and he created a separate profile to get things rolling. Frueh also posts items on the Allen County Garage Sale site on Facebook.
Soon he was getting responses for his items and making deals and meeting people in parking lots for the transactions.
Frueh understands the risks involved in selling during the pandemic. Depending on the buyer, he will either meet face to face — allowing for social distancing — or leave it on the person’s porch.
The stay-at-home order does not clearly define if this activity is permitted. The penalty for being found guilty is a second degree misdemeanor and a fine of no more than $750 and no more than 90 days in jail.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Frueh said. “I was out here the other day and there were three or four people out here doing business.”
Asked if he was concerned about law enforcement, Frueh said he believes that they have more important things to worry about and added that he takes all the necessary precautions when selling an item.
Facebook Marketplace offers tips such as alternative payment methods and to clean and disinfect items that are going to be sold.
Even though he has been in it a relatively short time, Frueh said he made enough money in his first few weeks for him and his friend to buy out the remains of a sporting goods store in Dayton.
“I’ve been doing pretty good,” Frueh said. “I just expected to sell some stuff, but nothing like this and maybe not this soon.”
Frueh attributes his success to people searching to buy Easter gifts for their children.
“Nothing is open. I sold a bunch a stuff to a guy a work because he said everything is closed,” Frueh added.
As long as he has the time, Frueh, who has worked at Nickles Bakery, said he will continue to sell.