The Daily News (Halifax)
HFX Arts & More, Thursday, February 17, 2005, p. 19
Zold is metro's first eBay drop-off shop
Sounds like the owner of Zold Online was born to run an eBay consignment shop.
"I'm sort of a pack rat and I'm a shopper, so I've always loved rooting through attics and basements and flea markets - so for me, a lot of it is just seeing interesting things and getting money for them," says Trevor Cvitkovich, president of the new Halifax firm.
Zold (www.zoldonline.com) opened its doors at 2742 Robie St. a little more than a month ago, capitalizing on the immense popularity of online auction house eBay. But it's the fruition of five years of work for Cvitkovich, 34, who runs the company with his wife, Julie Peters, 29.
A professional photographer, he was always picking up neat stuff at flea markets and yard sales. But it wasn't gear he necessarily wanted to hang onto.
"It didn't take me long to realize not only could I buy a piece of equipment and use it for awhile, but I could sell it (on eBay) and make a profit. It actually got to the point where, in some cases, I was tripling and quadrupling my money," says Cvitkovich.
As word of his success spread, friends started asking him to sell their treasures.
"I used to joke and say, 'Maybe I should open up a store and do this,'" he recalls. Then he heard about an American store called I Sold It, the first eBay drop-off shop.
"That was when we said, 'We've got to do this. If we sit on this it's just going to pass us by.'"
Got something you want to sell on eBay? Just call or drop by Zold for an appraisal. Leave it with Cvitkovich and Peters and they'll come up with a brief description, photograph the item, and list the auction within a day or so. They deal with questions from potential buyers, collect payment and pack and ship the item.
"Once we have our money and the item's gone, then we basically just cut a cheque for the person who owned the goods," says Cvitkovich.
"The biggest appeal is just the simplicity - they don't have to sign up for PayPal and give their credit card number, they don't have to risk taking a payment from somebody and finding out it's from a stolen credit card. We sort of assume all those risks and we just use our experience to try to keep those risks to a minimum."
Zold deducts the eBay listing fee (less than $2) and auction fee (three- to four-per-cent of final price), plus its own commission, 30 per cent of the first $300 and 20 per cent after that.
Cvitkovich is looking for more camera, computer, stereo and techno gear, but has listed everything from Royal Doulton figurines to original art to household goods - a surprising number of people want to sell cars, he says - to clothing.
"We had one woman who brought us in about four boxes of items from her closet and basically said, 'Whatever you can get because I was going to throw this out' ... and I think we ended up with $500 or $600 from the stuff, even after our commission and the fees."
Among the items they're selling now are a mink coat, an 18-karat Rolex watch valued at $25,000, a framed Bobby Orr autographed jersey, and collectible trolls made in Norway.
"Those have been going like crazy," he laughs. "Those Italians love their trolls. It's really bizarre."
Timing and luck definitely play a role in this biz. "You never know if you're going to have it up at the right time for the right buyer to see it," says Cvitkovich.
There are now about 1,200 eBay consignment stores in the U.S., with a handful in Canada; Zold is the first one east of Toronto.
"It's almost a phenomenon," says Cvitkovich.
Going, going, Zold!
Halifax firm helps take the worry out of selling online
By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter 2006-02-05, Business
One year on, Zold Online Inc. is exceeding its EBay sales expectations.
We’ve tapped into a market that is bigger than we expected," said
Trevor Cvitkovich, co-owner with his wife, Julie Peters, of the Halifax EBay
consignment store, which recently celebrated its first anniversary.
We haven’t had a day yet when we’ve been sitting here twiddling our
thumbs, which I kind of thought we would. Most of the time we’re more overwhelmed."
Zold Online, which operates out of a storefront on Robie Street, takes the fuss
out of selling items on EBay, the Internet auction site that reaches more than
100 million buyers worldwide.
The company photographs items to be sold, lists them online, and handles all
bidder inquiries, payment collections, packing and shipping. Zold takes a 30
per cent commission on the first $300 of a sale and 20 per cent on any amounts
over $300, with a minimum commission of $10 per item.
The company also assumes the risk of non-payment by a buyer, something Mr. Cvitkovich
said rarely happens.
The store is one of a handful operating in Canada and was the first of its kind
in Nova Scotia.
Two competitors moved into Halifax after Zold opened but they are no longer in
Mr. Cvitkovich, a professional photographer who worked at Carsand-Mosher Photographic
Ltd. for several years and began selling his own camera gear online in 1999,
couldn’t say why those operations folded, but he said that they were franchises
that required a serious upfront financial commitment in the range of $100,000.
I guess like any small business, it’s a lot of hard work, and the fact
that Julie and I own the business ourselves, we were able to work a lot of the
first year without taking any pay of any sort," he said. "It was long
hours, a little bit of luck. I don’t really know what our secret was except
for just keeping the overhead down and obviously, like any business, you have
to bring in more money than you’re paying out."
While he wouldn’t disclose exact figures, Mr. Cvitkovich said the company’s
business in Year 1 exceeded the couple’s projections and turned a profit.
We’re (EBay) platinum power sellers," he said, which is only one step
below the titanium level, which is given to an EBay seller doing more that $100,000
US a month in sales.
Even at platinum, that means we’re selling over $50,000 a month, which
for a business in its first year, I think, is pretty good," he said, estimating
that the business did 3,000 transactions in its first year.
Items like electronics and camera gear are popular EBay offerings, and Mr. Cvitkovich’s
expertise in photography allows him to determine optimum prices for his clients,
most of whom are from metro Halifax.
But he said they’ve had to develop expertise in other areas, including
collectibles like antique toys and musical instruments.
We’re getting lots of collectibles," he said, noting older people
who are downsizing have brought in boxes of old toys that they bought over the
years for their children, who now don’t want them.
In some cases, we sell those and make people a lot of money, and then I’m
sure the children aren’t happy," he said with a laugh.
Recently, Zold sold a pair of Goertz marine binoculars dating back to the First
World War. But they had trouble determining the worth of the item.
We decided to put them up at $2,000 to see what happened, and I think they ended
at something like $9,000 US. This was one of those cases where this gentleman’s
son didn’t want them. He was pretty happy when it was all said and done."
Mr. Cvitkovich said the biggest challenge the business has faced to date is shipping.
Shipping has been incredibly difficult," he said, noting that they prefer
to use recycled shipping materials.
Ms. Peters, a former Bass River store manager, said the business has benefited
from both advice and funding it received through the Centre for Entrepreneurship
Education and Development and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
We got loans from them," she said, noting that Zold’s business plan
was reviewed by a board of veteran entrepreneurs before the loans were approved. "They
won’t give you the money if they don’t think your plan is good enough.
They’ll tell you what they think is wrong."
The Centre for Entrepreneurship Education is a non-profit organization funded
by the federal and Nova Scotia governments that assists young entrepreneurs,
said Shawn Cunningham, who manages the agency’s financing programs.
The youth business foundation, which is modeled after the Prince’s Trust
in England, is sponsored by Industry Canada, RBC Foundation, Scotiabank Group,
CIBC Small Business, Clearwater Seafoods and Fox Harb’r, among others.
Mr. Cunningham, who is based in Halifax, said that while the EBay business was
a fairly new and somewhat untried concept, Mr. Cvitkovich and Ms. Peters were
personable, energetic, hands-on people with a good location.
Trevor especially had a lot of experience selling items on EBay," he said. "He
had a very good satisfaction rating from people who’d bought things from
Both Mr. Cvitkovich and Ms. Peters expect that Year 2 will be one of growth.
We’ve actually been talking with some business friends of ours who have
expressed interest in investing," said Mr. Cvitkovich, who suggested they
might look at opening a second store, in Dartmouth, Lower Sackville or perhaps
in Moncton. "I think expansion will be the plan for the year."
Ms. Peters said Zold’s first year was great and she expects more of the
same in 2006.
We’re just going to keep getting busier and busier, it seems."
A rare chance to visit Sable
Online auction gives bidders chance to win trip to remote island
By PATRICIA LAUNT 2006-02-09, Metro
If you’re having trouble coming up with an original gift idea for Valentine’s
Day, the United Way of Halifax Region wants to help you out.
The organization is auctioning off what it calls once-in-a-lifetime day trips
to isolated Sable Island to raise money for programs and services in Halifax
The four highest bidders will fly by helicopter to the island, located 300 kilometres
southeast of Halifax, after daybreak March 11.
Longtime island residents Gerry Forbes, operations manager for the Sable Island
Preservation Trust, and Zoe Lucas, an environmental researcher, will lead a tour
of the 41-kilometre-long island and discuss its unique history, landscape and
animal life. The group will have lunch on the island before returning to the
The auction opened Wednesday morning and closes Feb. 18. Bids can only be placed
online, and the starting bid for each of the four seats on the chopper is $1,000.
If you were trying to give a Valentine the best gift ever, this would be it," said
Carole McDougall, the United Way’s director of communications. She said
you can’t go to a travel agent and buy tickets to Sable Island.
The United Way announced the auction during an event held to wrap up its 2005
campaign Wednesday morning at the Casino Nova Scotia Hotel in Halifax. The organization
raised $30,000 more in 2005 than it did in 2004, with 22,000 donors contributing
to the $5,302,489 total.
ExxonMobil Canada, which operates the Sable offshore natural gas development
and is a longtime supporter of the United Way, donated the trip. ExxonMobil staff
came up with the idea of offering something that no other company could while
they were planning their own United Way employee campaign.
Knowing it’s such a Nova Scotia icon and such a special place, we thought
there might be interest from people in being able to get out there," said
Alan Jeffers, spokesman for ExxonMobil.
This is the first time ExxonMobil Canada has offered an organization a trip to
Sable Island using its helicopters.
(Sable Island) is part of Nova Scotia’s history so it’s quite a privilege
to be able to get people out there to experience it," said Mr. Jeffers,
who has visited the island.
Interested individuals can visit http://stores.ebay.com/Zold-Online to bid on
Bedford family Sable-bound
A Bedford family is headed to Sable Island next
month after winning an online auction for a trip to the unique destination.
Barb Brennan had purchased three of four seats to the island when the bidding
closed at 6 a.m. Saturday, a news release said. The fourth ticket goes to
an EBay member who goes by the handle 6912jock.
Our family is very excited about the trip," Ms. Brennan said in the release
issued later Saturday.
Ms. Brennan, two of her relatives and the fourth seat-holder will travel
to the island March 11, weather permitting.
Gerry Forbes of the Environment Canada weather station and researcher Zoe
Lucas, both permanent residents of the island, will give the winners a tour,
The Halifax branch of the United Way will receive $9,450 from the EBay fundraiser.
ExxonMobil Canada donated the trips and Zold Online, a Halifax company,
provided EBay support.