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Aurelia woman helps artisans market wares on Geezer.com

Monday, November 25, 2002

An Aurelia resident is helping "geezers" in northwest Iowa discover how to sell their arts and crafts over the internet to buyers around the world, as she is working to help older individuals find ways to supplement their income through the new tool of e-commerce.

Ardelle Staver of Aurelia assists artisans looking for new customers with a service called Geezer.com, an arm of ExperienceWorks, the parent company which Staver works for. Geezer.com enables older and retired people to use the internet to run businesses that effectively market their crafts to internet shoppers, and Staver said the website has been a popular one for people around northwest Iowa.

"It really seems to be growing, and there are quite a few in Iowa," Staver said. "There aren't as many around the Storm Lake area, but there have been quite a few from Carroll County, Cherokee County and towns like Goldfield and Fort Dodge."

Staver said the internet site has several goals, including helping people launch new businesses and contribute to the economic vitality of rural and depressed communities. It also aims to promote computer literacy among older Americans, and strives to help change negative stereotypes about the aging process, which can prevent many individuals from trying to remain productive in their later years.

Staver said the Geezer.com site is now promoting different Christmas-themed crafts due to the holiday season, but said there are more than 15,000 different paintings, carvings, quilts and other arts and crafts that are available from the 1,347 nationwide artisans currently listed on the site.

"(The site) really does encompass a wide range of things," Staver said. "We find things that are pretty unique to put on there. For example, there is one woman in Fort Dodge (Norma Bradley) that paints with worms, and there are some others that have some fairly unusual crafts as well. That is what makes the site fun to look at though."

Staver also said those who have no knowledge of computers or a computer at home can also use the site, as a "Geezer Getter" service keeps track of what products each person has sold on the site. It then notifies the artisan about the potential transaction and how to sell the item to and receive the money from the customer.

"They don't have to have a computer to get onto the program, which is nice," Staver said. "They don't have to be involved in the process from a computer standpoint."

Staver said Geezer.com has been a successful wing of ExperienceWorks, a 37-year-old company that has a mission of trying to help people over 55 get back into the workforce.

"We can help provide training for people for a number of different jobs, especially computer training, since most jobs nowadays use computers," Staver said. "We can also do on-the-job training, which is pretty important too."

Those wishing to get more information on Geezer.com can either contact Staver at 712-434-2351 or the Geezer.com information line at 1-877-803-1468. There is a $9.95 fee for individuals and $29.95 fee for groups to get products listed on the site.

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