Sparks Viewpoint: What Happens in Vegas – Shouldn’t Stay in Vegas. Let’s Do It in Tennessee


As the new coronavirus marches around the globe most of us are held up in self-isolation. The entire coronavirus saga is both depressing and surreal. No corner of the planet is safe from it. Businesses have shut down and millions of people have lost their jobs.

Many economists foresee a downturn that could rival the Great Depression. The $2.2 trillion emergency relief package that Congress recently approved sounds good, but we are leaving our children’s children with trillions in debt. If I re-winded and went back just two short months everything I just mentioned would sound like a reading of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “1984.”

Needless to say, it was a breath of fresh air to read a positive story about people helping people. I thought it was ironic since the story is out of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas with its many nicknames from Sin City, Gambling Capital of the World and City of Lost Wages just to name a few doesn’t conjure up images of neighbor helping neighbor.



Las Vegas is known for its famous tagline,

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

The story of a Las Vegas coffee shop bringing back bartering all in the hopes of staying connected with the community and neighbor helping neighbor is enlightening especially during these times of great uncertainty.


See KSNV Channel 3 link:

According to Las Vegas NBC affiliate KSNV is the story of Juanny Romero, CEO of Mothership Coffee Roasters and Sunrise Coffee. Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic began to take a toll on local businesses, she says she’s missing a key ingredient that many coffee shops thrive on – community.

“Not having my community around me was very devastating,” she said. “Coming out of that darkness, coming out of this need of answering how can I have may community back came the idea of the coffee barter program, Barter Las Vegas.”

“It was the perfect thing at the right time,” Beachy said. “We chatted for a little bit and it was just so fun.”

Since their initial transaction, Romero says they’ve traded coffee for several other goods that have been distributed to her family and her employees. One person even brought over two nice bottles of wine, according to Romero.

“He walked away with just two bags of coffee because he just wanted to share,” she said.





If you’d like to get in touch with Romero, she says send a message on Instagram to @Mothershipcoffee and/or @Sunrisecoffee – they’d be thrilled to hear from you.

Witnessing Bartering as a young Boy

I was fortunate to grow up experiencing the concept of bartering. My late father witnessed the Great Depression and served in WW11 flying 24 bombing raids over Germany witnessed his share of hard times. He would find ways of saving a dollar and bartering was one of those tools in the proverbial toolbox.

I recall him trading a Honda CX 500 motorcycle for a 69 Camaro when I was 14.

After operating for nearly 60 years, Smyrna’s beloved Omni Hut was forced to shut down due to staffing issues on Friday, Oct 12th, 2018. The Omni Hut founded by the late Major Jim Walls offered many young men and women their first jobs

He helped me with my first car which was that Camaro.

I was working at the Omni Hut restaurant in Smyrna earning $1.50 an hour.

I saved every dollar to invest in the old car that needed much restoration. The car was a British Racing Green “plain Jane” with no power steering, no air-conditioning, a power-glide transmission, but fortunately had a 350 V8 engine with headers and dual exhaust. After I restored the car I sold it for a hefty $1000 profit which was a considerable sum for someone making $1.50 an hour.

Middle Tennessee, Rutherford County, Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne Bartering

“I know of at least 600 businesses in this area that do this, many for a number of years. This story makes it sound like a new idea,” said Jim Furbush, Director of ITEX Corporation.  ITEX is the largest marketplace for B2B cashless bartering

transactions in the USA and Canada.

“I’ve used bartering in a few of my businesses over the years. It’s another way to find a win-win for my customers. In a downturn economy it can definitely be helpful,” said Jim Africano, owner of Tri Star Pest & Wildlife Management.

Bartering can help stretch a dollar, help a business liquidate slow selling products.

Webster defines bartering as to trade by exchanging one commodity for another : to trade goods or services in exchange for other goods or services.

Frank Caperton, owner of Frankworks uses bartering every week in his business. “Bartering has been essential in my business. Although, cash is still king, bartering can help stretch the almighty dollar,” said Frank. Frank is a member of ITEX Bartering group in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

If you or your business is considering bartering visit ITEX or call Jim Furbush at 615-579-8568.

During all this coronacrap and uncertainty in everyone’s lives let’s all try to help others along our life’s path. Call a few folks who you haven’t talk to in months or years, check on your neighbors…I have come to realize that we only get one shot to get this thing called life right – now is a good time to act.