Just Between Friends

Raising a family is an expensive role. If you’ve ever complained about this, you have an ally in this single mom. From baby to college and beyond, the needs of our children are our biggest expense. Baby strollers, cribs, clothes, toys… It all adds up. I recently calculated just how much it would cost to raise both of my children, and came up with a total of almost $500,000 by the time they are 18! So yes, raising children can take a toll on our pocketbooks.

Daven Tackett and Shannon Wilburn understand this. 12 years ago, they and 17 other families gathered in Shannon’s living room to sell and buy used items at a fraction of the cost they would have spent had they bought them new. The families who gave items for Shannon and Daven to sell were given a large portion of the profit, and they had minimum work to do on their own as the ladies took care of the rest. Today, this small adventure has turned into over 100 franchises across the United States. And the size of these sales has graduated from being held in a small living room to thousands of items being sold in a packed warehouse size room, organized by type of item. Racks upon racks of clothes, rows of strollers and baby items, furniture, electronics…all the items you might need to help defray the costs of raising a child.

Jennifer and Matt Hundley of Petaluma saw the value of Just Between Friends upon their first visit to one of these events in Sacramento. They were extremely impressed by the concept of reusing perfectly good items between families instead of allowing them to taking up space in our landfills. The average profit from a consignor was $397. Eight families walked away with over $1500, and two families made over $2000. For families to make that kind of profit on things they had outgrown or no longer needed? It seemed a no-brainer. Jen and Matt felt compelled to make something like this available to their neighbors in Sonoma County. As members of the Petaluma Active 20-30 social/service organization, the transition into bringing together a community for an event like this was natural for them. It matched a lifestyle they were already accustomed to. So they started up the Northbay JBF franchise.

The Hundley’s first JBF event is this weekend, May 15th and 16th, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Over 150 families are selling their used items at this sale. The most popular item, Matt told me, seemed to have a summertime theme. There are jogging strollers, outside toys, and plenty of warm weather clothes filling the racks. Beyond that, there is a whole rack dedicated to Halloween costumes, plenty of cribs and swings, clothes and shoes, games, books, movies, stuffed animals, maternity clothes, and so much more. Parents of all stages, from expecting to grandparents, thoroughly browsed the racks looking for that hidden jewel.

“The amount of interest in this concept has been surprising,” Jen told me. “And the volunteers have been amazing. I only have to give them minimal direction, and it’s obvious that they want to be here.”

They will continue holding these sales twice a year, the next one coming up this fall. To sign up and sell your own goods is as simple as visiting their website (www.jbfsale.com/northbay) and following the steps. From there you will receive a consignor number and be able to tag your items with a price. Consignors make about 60-65% back from their goods, and get a check within 2 weeks. And after the event they have the option of either picking up their unused items or allowing Matt and Jen to donate them with the rest of the unsold items. Their charity of choice is Our Kids Sake (www.ourkidssake.org), a foundation that benefits more than 1000 homeless children right here in Sonoma County.

“What we really want is to do some good for the county,” said Jen. “We want a way for families to be able to make money, and to save money. And we want to give back to those in need. The way I see it? It’s a win-win situation.”

Sat May15th, 9am – 8pm ($2 admission – proceeds benefit the Petaluma Active 20-30 social/service organization)
Sun May 16th, 9am – 2pm (free admission, plus almost everything is 50% off)
Sonoma County Fairgrounds, EC Kraft Building


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