Buy, Sell, Reuse and Recycle
By Melissa Clarin | Photography by Ed Nercess
What started two years ago as Pinecrest’s best-kept secret has morphed into a local phenomenon. If you have not heard of Pinecrest Marketplace, ask a friend or neighbor and guaranteed, one of them is already a member of this exclusive Facebook group. In a world of needs being met almost instantly, this resource provides for immediate gratification and has proved its addictive and contagious style to those that are a part of it.
It began as a random, fun idea: an online buy/sell group for personal secondhand items among a few close friends. Within two months, it reached 1,000 members and has continued to grow rapidly throughout the community. Currently, Pinecrest Marketplace has over 11,000 members and another 8,000-plus on the waiting list. Members are passionate about their buying, their selling and their strong connection and allegiance to their PM community. It has become a social network within a social network.
Pinecrest Marketplace has become the neighborhood’s favorite one-stop shop for women and men. The membership base is made up of professionals, business owners, stay-at-home moms, teachers, politicians, news anchors and even the “Real Housewives” of Miami. Everything you can think of has been posted for sale here, from baby items to concert/sports tickets to tools, jewelry, designer handbags, shoes and swing sets – and the list goes on and on. The biggest ticket items sold have been cars and boats. The minimum item price is $10 and there is no maximum. Beautiful high-end furniture in near-perfect condition can be found here at such a discount that you’ll never need – or want – to shop anywhere else. Why pay retail? Why pay 40 to 60 percent at a consignment shop? Pinecrest Marketplace is free to use and accessible 24/7 through a Facebook account.
There is never a boring day, never a lack of cool, great value items to browse or buy and always a place to resell, repurpose, reuse and recycle your gently loved items. I believe it is much better and safer than other online marketplaces because everyone is connected here through a friend and therefore is held accountable. I always give it a personal touch and engage with members. I am a local resident of Pinecrest, I am tangible, and I am real! With my master’s in industrial/organizational psychology and life coaching background, my “invisible management” of this 11,000-member group has become a rewarding and fun part of my everyday routine.
People always ask me: why I do it and how I do it. PM has become such a valuable asset connecting so many friends and neighbors and doing so much good. The personal stories that have been shared with me are so inspiring. One obvious reason for selling things is to make extra money, but learning some of the reasons people want the extra money has been very touching. One woman sells her personal jewelry to buy fresh juices that help with her mother’s cancer treatments. Other sellers have sent me thank you notes for being able to send their kids to summer camp for the first time, to take their parents on the European trip of their dreams, to supplement their incomes since they are in between jobs, and even to donate back to their favorite charities. Buyers have sent me notes of gratitude because they have been able to fully furnish their home for a fraction of the price, give their toddler twins the quality bunk beds they would never have been able to afford, and even for the first time own the designer handbag they always dreamed of. A friend of mine told me how her husband did not like the idea of her selling things online, but after she paid for her family of five’s spring break trip to Colorado, he was more than pleased and even joined the group himself!
Local lost/found pets are also posted here, and when this happens, the whole group gets involved. People reach out with support and positive words and advice and go out of their way to help others they don’t know find their dog or reunite an owner. The power of PM is incredible! It gives us all a common bond, which is cherished.
How I do this is a whole other story! Patience is definitely key. My co-admin assistant, Maggie Cruz-Ledon, and I do our best to make sure rules are followed consistently and fairly while giving both buyers and sellers their greatest chance at a successful transaction. There is a certain neighborly etiquette that is required to participate that is based on common sense, courtesy and respect.
Reflecting on the past two years, the happy experiences shared, being responsible for 72 lost dogs reunited, millions of dollars in transactions, the connections and friendships made, it’s safe to say that Pinecrest Marketplace is thriving and here to stay. In the future, there will be the prospect of giving local businesses the same opportunity to monetize and maximize their potential. Offering businesses and services the chance for exposure and connectivity to this geo-targeted, hyperlocal group of verified people is invaluable. The demographics and visibility speak for themselves. And, as if the group and its purpose couldn’t get any better, stay tuned for new developments in 2016!
To become a member of Pinecrest Marketplace, please go to the group’s main page on Facebook or use the link facebook.com/groups/pinecrestmarketplace. For questions, suggestions or pending membership approvals, please contact Melissa Clarin at firstname.lastname@example.org.