Alberto Larotonda, founder of Red Bank-based Treasure Circle, has hopes that unwanted and unused goods from one individual or entity, can benefit others.
Larotonda’s website, TreasureCircle.com, is aiming to help redefine what e-commerce is by “giving individuals and businesses a different way to ‘shop’ in a new culture called the ‘circular economy,’” Larotonda says.
“The circular economy is a new idea to the United States,” he says. “Manufacturers are beginning to realize the fact that we will run out of resources and raw materials. So, we are taking the idea of this circular economy and creating a website where people and businesses can recirculate goods and materials they may not use or need anymore. Whether it is furniture, food, electronics, etc., there are a lot of unused items sitting in homes and businesses that people may not want to get rid of for one reason or another. These items can have value to others.”
TreasureCircle.com is similar to websites like Craigslist, where individuals can post items they would like to “get rid of.” However, unlike Craigslist, all items put on TreasureCircle.com are given away for “free.” For a nominal membership fee, the website utilizes a social network type approach, where individuals can search for items from other’s in their network, while posting items of their own that those from their network can obtain, as well.
The company’s slogan is “Shop Without Money™.” This approach is something that Larotonda feels will help the world become more sustainable and help create more jobs, especially in New Jersey.
“With resources becoming scarce and with jobs moving out of the area, I see this as a chance for individuals and entities – who may not be able to afford things – to not only get what they need, but by repurposing and restoring these products that may otherwise end up in a landfill or going to waste sitting in storage, help create jobs in many communities,” he says.
Larotonda says that Treasure Circle was New Jersey’s first benefit company, which means it is a for-profit company designed to benefit other businesses and individuals. New Jersey was the third state to enact legislation of “B corporations.”
“A benefit corporation is something that New Jersey adopted a few years ago,” he says. “As a benefit corporation, you have more flexibility in your decision making process when it comes to environmental impact or employee and community benefit, for example.”
Currently, Laratonda and his 15 “employees” are all volunteers of Treasure Circle. This is something of which he is extremely proud.
“We are enjoying what we do,” he concludes. “We want to help promote and support a lifestyle that builds wealth, helps the environment, creates jobs and supports a culture where people are able to give of themselves for the benefit of all. If we are doing that, then I feel we will succeed as a business.”