RALEIGH – In these cash-strapped times, the age-old tradition of bartering is making a comeback.

Case in point: UpliftNow, a nonprofit barter exchange recently launched by retired Raleigh couple Trish and Tony Holden.

It allows people to exchange goods and services for other goods and services – for free.

“We realized that if we could create a system that would tap into the excess stuff that people have in their garage, attic or basement, and the excess inventory or unproductive time businesses have, and convert that to a value that people could use to uplift themselves, we could help a lot of people,” said Tony, 64.

“By accessing the micro-economy through a barter trade community, we’d be able to help the individual, small business, and nonprofit alike.”

Tony is no newcomer to the barter market. He is the former CEO of SynergyStreetTrade, a for-profit barter platform.

However, he and his wife decided they wanted to create a community “with no barriers to participate.”

How it works is simple: Sign up to UpliftNow for free, list a good or service for sale, and accept payment in UpliftNow community trade tokens.

Any member can donate their community tokens or transfer them to another friend, family member, church, school or charity that is part of the community.

Among those listed: American Underground, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, Families Moving forward, HQ Raleigh, Raleigh Rescue Mission and more.

Trish and Tony Holden

Another perk: no fee is charged for the transaction.

“So if you had, say a used car and you want $5,000 for it. Someone might not have 5000 trade tokens to spend, but you might accept 2000 trade tokens and the rest in cash or [cryptocurrency] or trade for something else. We really don’t mind if the two people get together and work it out because we’re not making money on that transaction,” Trish, 67, said.

And at a time with much economic uncertainly in the wake of COVID-19, the site is thriving.

“We provide individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations a way to utilize the resources they have to acquire what they need, without having to use cash,” said Tony.

“That’s always good business, but it’s essential in these times.”