A Dubuque woman has started a kind of online revolution in second-hand retail.
Taking a page from a thriving social network in her brother's community, Mariah Routley launched a Facebook group called Dubuque Area Garage Sales.
The idea is to take the thrill of the garage sale to the Information Superhighway. Post photos and descriptions of the items you want to sell, and local garage-sale loving "friends" peruse and purchase to their hearts content.
Routley's vision quickly became a booming success. Started in late summer, Dubuque Area Garage Sales boasts more than 2,600 tri-state area members who advertise everything from clothes to toys to vehicles.
The site speaks to a newfound frugality in these post-Great Recession times.
"I've seen it grow crazy numbers," Routley says. "The reason why it's growing is from word of mouth. There was a demand for something like this."
Routley recommends reading the group's usage rules before deciding whether to participate. To get started, simply request to join the group.
Items are added to the group's page throughout the day, and those interested in purchasing are encouraged to send private messages to the seller. The buyer and seller decide when and where to carry out the transaction.
"It's just like a regular garage sale, except you're sitting at your computer," Routley says. "People barter all the time."
By Emily Kittle