Dig Baton Rouge

Fair Trade

A look into 225 Trade and what it means for BR businesses

Perhaps you’ve noticed a 225 Trade sticker on a local business and wondered what it was, or maybe you’ve never heard of it at all. We were intrigued by the concept of bartering for goods and services amongst local business owners. In two short years, Joey DuPont, creator of Secure Trade, has grown this local network to include small and big business in BR (and beyond), and is creating community growth through trade.

What is 225 Trade?

225 Trade is a group of business owners who have joined together to help grow our businesses through mentoring, networking and barter.

How does it work?

Rather than creating direct trades, where a lawn care guy trades with a hair salon, we have created the ability for a business owner to trade into a pool of businesses. This creates an indirect trade, allowing a lawn care guy to cut the grass of a hair salon, who pays the lawn care guy with trade dollars. These dollars are stored digitally on Secure-trade.net, and accessed by a Secure Trade debit card. The lawn care guy can use his trade dollars at any of the over 1500 members in Secure Trade network.

Secure Trade ownership team clockwise: Chad Mazilly is Chief Technical Officer, Joey DuPont is CEO, and Jaime Pineda is CFO.

Where did you get the inspiration?

We believe small business owners, if given the proper mentoring and support, can do anything. We have been a part of multiple trade organizations over the years as small business owners. We believed there was a gap in the market for a trade organization that focused on mentoring and networking, to grow the small business owner. Trade is a great way to create extra cash flow, but what they do with that extra income can be exponential if used strategically to grow their business. We have created trade agreements with larger companies like local radio stations, large printers, local billboard companies and local television stations. This was one of the missing pieces, in our opinion. Business owners needed to have the ability to trade for things that could grow their business as well as offsetting their lifestyle expenses.

How will this help Baton Rouge business owners in particular?

Mentoring: This is a unique approach giving small business owners access to a national network of successful business owners who are interested in helping their business succeed. Let’s say a lawn care company has one truck on the road and is looking to add two more. They could be connected to a company with multiple trucks in a non-competing market like Biloxi (228) to ask questions about insurance, employees taking them home, etc. It’s hard to get practical life advice when everyone in your market is your competitor.

Networking: Let’s say a steam clean company joins the group, they would have the opportunity to meet with one of our real estate management groups, construction companies, and a restaurant management group over lunch to create leads for new business. We also have monthly mixers where members have access to 50-100 local business owners. Let’s say a steam clean company is interested in expanding to Mandeville. Any 225 Trade member has access to our other monthly mixers in (985 for Mandeville) to explore the opportunity. We even have temporary office space available on trade.  Barter: We offer the largest unified trade network for local business owners in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area. Our members’ list speaks for itself.

Group rates: We have already negotiated group health care along with credit card processing rates based on our 1500-member network. We are the first association in Louisiana to do this, and it won’t stop there. We plan on negotiating everything we can as our membership grows. Imagine negotiating with big players like Costco or Sams as a 150,000-member business group. The possibilities are endless.

Where is Secure Trade headed?

Secure Trade, our parent company, is the brains behind all of the sites and has the goal to be in every state by 2028. We have decided to use area codes to designate regions people will connect with. There are 293 area codes in the continental United States. We have a plan in place that will get us to every area code by 2038. Secure Trade has already expanded in this short time to include 225, 985, 337, 504, 228, 601, and 251. It’s an ambitious goal, but we believe we can cover the entire nation with a small business backed barter currency that isn’t dependent on government or political atmosphere. Together we are stronger.

Photos by Alyssa Fisher

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