Will small business lift the economy out of recession? Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne hopes so, and he’s trying to help. Recently the online discount retailer announced the launch of its “Main Street Revolution Initiative,” an effort intended to increase the visibility of small, local businesses by giving them an avenue for exposure to national markets.
“This represents a grand opportunity for producers and consumers nationwide to participate and contribute to the national recovery effort,” Byrne said in a statement. “Main Street can be the engine that lifts us out of the recession that Wall Street created.”
Targeting small and minority-owned businesses, Main Street Revolution is a partnership with Overstock.com that enables producers of consumer products to sell their products on Overstock.com and O.biz (Overstock.com’s B2B website).
“The point of this program is to sell products we’ve sourced from entrepreneurs around the country,” Byrne said. “By joining our network, small-business owners can reduce their supply chain costs and expand the awareness of their products among a much bigger audience.”
Overstock.com is working with local chambers of commerce to find small-business owners to participate in the program. In addition to helping “homegrown” businesses reach a national audience, the program helps consumers support small businesses they otherwise might never have heard of.
Overstock.com’s site highlights some successful examples of Main Street participants, including a Minnesota gift-basket entrepreneur who sold more than $200,000 in gift baskets in December alone after joining the program; a chocolate manufacturer whose business has grown so much she’s been able to buy new equipment and add new product lines; and a homebased entrepreneur who designs and sells urban-themed T-shirts.
At first, Main Street products will be listed within their appropriate shopping categories on Overstock.com, Byrne explained. As soon as a critical mass of partners is reached, however, their products will be consolidated into a “Main Street” store on the company’s website.
Overstock.com hopes the Main Street Revolution initiative will be as successful as the Worldstock program, which it launched in 2001. As of April, the Worldstock program-which gives global artisans from places like Bali, Columbia, Ghana, Nepal and Thailand the chance to sell their products on Overstock.com-had surpassed $50 million in total payments. It’s also a top tab on the Overstock.com home page.
For more information about participating in Overstock’s Main Street Revolution, go to the Overstock website to view a video. If you’d like to participate or find out additional details, contact [email protected].