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EBay Says Its Akron Retail Revival Shows Local and On-line Retail Can Work Together

Retail Revival crowd
WKSU public radio
Congressman Tim Ryan, along with Mayor Dan Horrigan, welcomed the roughly 120 small business people from Akron and Warren who will make up the first class of eBay's Retail Revival.

More than a hundred small businesses from Akron and Warren met with top officials of eBay today – the next step in the launch of the company’s first Retail Revival in the United States. 

eBay had expected about 40 small retailers to sign up. Instead, it got three times as many: sellers of everything from artisanal urban-bee-based products to special bags for circus performers to carry their equipment. They filled the former-church-now-community-center known as “The Well” for advice on how to photograph products, manage inventory, respond to customers and stand out in the global market.

Chris Librie
Credit M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU public radio
WKSU public radio
Chris Librie of eBay says the Retail Revival program is an extension of community.

Chris Librie, eBay’s senior director of global impact and giving, says Summit County already has a large concentration of eBay sellers. What the Retail Revival program does is give brick-and-mortar stores and startups extra support, a greater global reach -- and each other.

“That’s what we wanted to do is create a sense of community here with the folks who are joining together so that they will be able to learn from each other, support each other, commiserate when they’re having challenges. That’s going to make it a richer experience for everybody.”

Ohio sellers overall did a billion dollars in business on eBay in 2016. In Summit County that number was $65 million.

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.