by KAREN LAGRANGE COX
When Rick Watkins of Trust Acadiana was asked if he owned Trust Acadiana, he quickly responded, “The members own Trust Acadiana”. Watkins’ position is the Executive Director of Trust Acadiana, a member-owned business.
Members of Trust Acadiana can barter with other members, not only with members in Trust Acadiana but also with over four-thousand members within the thirteen networks with which Trust Acadiana is associated.
When a member provides a product or service for a member in Trust Acadiana, the member pays in Moxey® dollars. Trust Acadiana’s banking system keeps track of the Moxey® dollars paid into and out of a member’s account. Each member has its own portal to keep track of transactions. Trust Acadiana is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a third-party record keeper.
Business owners have done one-on-one bartering for years. Using Moxey® dollars for bartering allows a member to have a wider range of choices of where the member can spend their bartering dollars.
Trust Acadiana has sent more than twenty million dollars of business to its members within the Moxey® community, allowing members to save their cash.
Aside from the bartering benefits, Trust Acadiana sends members to other members who need their products and services. Trust Acadiana also promotes its members on social media.
In 2022, Trust Acadiana had its record year in the highest volume since it was first created in November 2008.
In the summer of 2008, Watkins, having had previous experience in the barter industry, was approached by Partners One with an offer to expand into the Acadiana area. They introduced him to the idea of a member-owned barter business and provided banking software to support it.
Watkins advised Trust Acadiana was formed in November 2008, with operations starting in January 2009. The business was a spring-off of Partners One in Baton Rouge.
Although each entity is separate, Partners One is one of the barter networks that Trust Acadiana is part of.
In December 2008, Watkins said he went to fifty-six businesses and invited each of these businesses to a kick-off party at Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn in Broussard. Twenty-six of these businesses attended the kick-off party, with twenty-two signing up for the member-owned business.
An initial board of directors was formed among the twenty-two businesses that became members of Trust Acadiana.
Kathy Tate, Operations Manager, came on board about ten years ago.
Both Watkins and Tate, are accountable to a nine-person board of directors.
Today, Trust Acadiana has four hundred-eight members. The business serves all of Acadiana.
For more information about Trust Acadiana, visit their website.