Bids & Dibs, located at 19 S National Ave in Fort Scott, just might be the most innovative new business in the Fort Scott area. It offers three different ways for customers to sell merchandise–the Bids & Dibs website, the physical storefront in Fort Scott, and an Ebay store. Owner Angela Simon says, “When they [sellers] bring items in, we decide whether they will well best in our store, in our website or on our Ebay store–whatever is going to make them the most money is what we do.”
According to Simon, her business idea started with the Bourbon County BidIt! Facebook page. While the page is still up and running and is quite popular with residents, Simon has invested in the community by creating Bids & Dibs, which includes an easy-to-use, free auction site, a store location for consignments and an Ebay storefront for consignments. The owner has also invested in the downtown by beautifully restoring the interior of the building in which the business resides. The exterior has been repainted and restored by Kent and Amy Boyd. The Boyds were able to save the original molded tin ceiling in two rooms, which is certainly a treasure in itself.
Simon mentioned that by creating Bids & Dibs, she was able to find a way to make a system similar to the BidIt! page a source of revenue for the city. Simon explained that BidIt! sites on Facebook do not generate revenue in tax dollars and sales, but her business, Bids & Dibs, does. Consignments sold at the store on National St. do contribute to city revenue, and the auction site remains a free service that anyone can use. There are no charges to list and sell on the site–in fact, there are absolutely no hidden costs anywhere! Simon reports that Bids & Dibs has users in 43 states, and that the online store can be seen globally on Ebay.
Bids & Dibs offers more to the user than BidIt! sites on Facebook in that the service is more streamlined and easy to use. Simon explained that because Facebook gives a limited amount of server space to BidIt!-type sites, sometimes pictures and other information are lost by the Facebook servers.
In contrast, Bids & Dibs has its own server, which prevents problems from occurring with information that users put on the site. This makes Bids & Dibs a more reliable service for users, saving them time and frustration at no cost to them. The site, which was designed and developed by Simon and developer Banning Stuckey, also offers advertising opportunities for local businesses at a reasonable price. Local businesses can advertise on the website for $25 per month. Advertisement is unlimited, and the advertising business can attach the ad to any URL they wish, whether it be a Facebook page, coupon or other destination. Businesses interested in advertising on the Bids & Dibs website should contact Kristin Boyd, who can be reached through email at [email protected].
In addition to offering the free website for listing auctions, Bids & Dibs operates a physical storefront that sells items on consignment for a small commission. Simon explained that one of the benefits to selling on consignment with Bids & Dibs is that the Bids & Dibs website offers a service to the seller that some consignment stores do not–an itemized list of the seller’s consignment items. Since the list is online, it is readily accessible. The website also gives sellers “a lot more control over the items and selling price,” according to Simon. Simon described the available merchandise in the store as “a mix of resale and new retail.”
In addition to working with individual sellers, Bids & Dibs also offers its services to other local businesses. Businesses that have sold items through Bids & Dibs in the past include Big Sugar Lumber and Country Cupboard. Simon remarked, “Creating foot traffic in these small businesses is what it’s all about.”