Barter Up! Trading to Emerge Strongly From The Pandemic


Kevin and Karen Brown steward the Hudson Barter Exchange, one of the largest networks in Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam counties. With over 500 local business owners as HBX members and thousands of business owners belonging to reciprocal trading exchanges, HBX has expanded throughout their 14 years in business.

The beginning of the pandemic marked a dark time for many business owners in the Hudson Valley. It took some time to re-focus barter activities from event tickets and restaurant gift certificates to wills/estates/trust work, PPE like face makes and hand sanitizer, and even puppies.

“Puppies were very popular during the pandemic and HBX has a first-class breeder who traded her amazing Teddy Poodle Pups to members. They are some of our favorite trades because we create happiness that lasts for so long, “ Kevin Brown, CEO of Hudson Barter Exchange explained.

Until the world came to an abrupt halt in 2020, Hudson Barter helped its members find extra business from the membership and the member was paid in “barter bucks.” Those barter bucks could then be used to spend with any member in HBX or in any barter exchange all over the world.

“People have no idea how immense the barter economy is until they meet someone from HBX. We trade with exchanges in Seattle, Florida, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago, London, Canada, Turkey, and even Israel,” Karen Brown, President of HBX, elaborated. At the start of the pandemic, local businesses could not even buy masks but HBX traded for tens of thousands of high-quality masks from Canada. HBX members still trade for a lot of hand sanitizer and Nitril gloves to members who require it.

According to the Browns, “This is a glorious time to barter.” “Business owners are very tight on cash but in order to emerge successfully, they need their websites re-done, their SEO enhanced, publicists, photographers, and advertising to help recapture their share of the market but they do not have the capital to invest right now.” Restaurant owners have paid for their tents, tables, chairs, and heaters with gift certificates which has taken a huge expense off their checkbooks.

Also, as business owners re-enter the frantic zone where they are so busy, having a concierge service to assist them like Hudson Barter Exchange is immensely helpful. According to Karen Brown, “We help our business owners plan their media, plan their vacations, and plan their life events. We believe it is going to all come roaring back in no time.”

During the quiet period of the pandemic, HBX pivoted as well by launching HBX Media. “I got my digital marketing certification during the early part of the pandemic,” Kevin Brown said. Many HBX members still advertise in traditional print, billboards, and online but clearly younger consumers buried themselves on their screens to consume every type of media from gaming to television viewing. HBX Media now places media-- television, radio, email campaigns and online banner campaigns-- for companies who don’t barter but need great rates and smart execution.

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