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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

A Rags to Riches Story

Balkowitsch Enterprises started as Sharon's Collectibles, an antiques and collectibles business run by Sharon Balkowitsch. The business was a part-time one; Sharon's day job with the Federal Bureau of Reclamation paid the bills.

Sharon's Collectibles was run from a 10' x 10' booth Sharon rented at a local antique mall. It was a very small business in a very small town (Bismarck, ND; population 55,000). There were few buyers for Sharon's wares, which kept her selling prices low. In her biggest month at the antique mall, she sold just 15 items, for a total of $300.

Sharon was looking for a way to increase her sales, and heard about this new online auction site called eBay. She asked her son Shane if he could help her put some items on eBay.

Shane had a business degree, was in the process of getting a nursing degree, and had worked in the computer field. His computer background proved useful, and he helped his mother list three items on eBay.

Shane and Sharon Balkowitsch.

That was November 11th, 1998. The three items Shane listed sold within 24 hours, and the Balkowitsches were hooked. Shane started listing more of Sharon's items, and in their first year on eBay, managed to sell more than 2,000 items.

The business kept growing from there. Within a year and a half, the Balkowitsches reached PowerSeller status and were recognized as one of the most successful small businesses in the upper Midwest. Their eBay business (then named Sharonscollectables) was named Super PowerSeller of the Month in April 2002, with more than 12,000 items sold to that date. They reached Platinum PowerSeller status in September 2003, averaging more than $25,000 in sales a month.

Today, Sharon's Collectibles is Balkowitsch Enterprises. The business has morphed from selling antiques and collectibles to selling medical and health-related items. (That's Shane's nursing background showing.) Shane is now running the business; Sharon is partially retired, and works just part-time.

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