Updated: 9:47 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12, 2011 | Posted: 9:45 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12, 2011

One Man's Junk Branches Off Facebook To Swap Meet

From Newspaper Partner The Gaston Gazette


    Gaston Gazette


    Gaston County’s junk will be up for grabs to top bidders and barterers Saturday.

    One Man’s Junk, a popular Facebook group, will host its first local, face-to-face gathering — a Swap and Meet.

    The online group’s creator, Bill Guyther, said he hopes locals will come out, find bargains and do some networking. There should be no shortage of deals, he said.

    There should be “everything from knickknacks to the kitchen sink,” he said.

    While this will be an inaugural event for Gaston County, it isn’t Guyther’s first rodeo. He hosted OMJ’s first offline event in Stanly County, an area that has embraced the Facebook group.

    Stanly County saw about 70 vendors set up shop to swap and sell goodies in June.

    Gaston County’s event so far has 30 vendors signed up. Booths will be open from 7 a.m. to noon on the property of Piccolo’s Antique Mall on Main Street in Belmont.

    While Gaston and Stanly will be the only counties to have experienced the face-to-face One Man’s Junk sale, the online phenomenon has swept North Carolina and several areas across the U.S., according to Guyther.

    Guyther of Lowell created the groups when he wanted to take in a dog in need of a home.

    He started shopping around online.

    Craigslist does not allow animals to be posted under giveaway items, said Guyther, and Facebook didn’t have a good venue for trading, selling or giving away goods.

    So Guyther started One Man’s Junk in Gaston County.

    Next thing Guyther knew, his page was gaining members and getting requests for similar sites in other counties in North Carolina.

    “Obviously, it took off because there’s a need for it,” he said.

    In response to the interest, Guyther soon added OMJ groups for Stanly, Mecklenburg, Catawba, Pitt and Dare counties. He has now expanded to all 100 North Carolina counties along with eight groups in South Carolina, two in Utah, two in Kentucky, one in New York and one in Florida.

    Members of OMJ sell or give away anything from baseball cards and baby clothes to charcoal grills, laptops, cars and puppies.

    Others look for help with service needs like car and appliance repair.

    Guyther said he’s had great use for the page since creating it.

    He has given away fencing and a swing set. All that was required was the person pick the items up.

    “If nobody else is utilizing it, I’m utilizing it,” he said.

    But people are using it. Guyther has started getting postings of people happy with the free service.

    The Gaston County group now has more than 5,000 members.

    The success of the group has encouraged Guyther to take the project even further. He has been working on an independent website which he anticipates will roll out in about a month.

    The new site will allow users to create their own local groups or link up with people across the country. There will be chat options, a classified section and a user profile.

    Guyther said each step OMJ takes is exciting, and he feels like a father watching his child grow.

    Guyther, who works for Pre-Paid Legal Services when he’s not focusing on OMJ, said he is hopeful that the Swap and Meet events will also take off. A county must obtain 3,000 members to warrant a face-to-face event, according to Guyther.

    All of the Facebook groups combined have a combined membership of more than 20,000, he said.

    There is a fee to set up shop at the Swap and Meet. That money pays for an OMJ T-shirt. Any additional proceeds trickles down to the web design for the up and coming website.

    Spearheading the junk movement has been fun and Guyther said he has high expectations for his future as the czar of the online swap shop.

    “I want to keep people coming together and helping each other,” said Guyther.

    Click here to read more stories from Channel 9’s newspaper partner, the Gaston Gazette.

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