New business benefits teachers

Husband and wife duo Edward and Cheryl Shane — he a Web developer for his own firm and she a first-grade teacher at Allen Bowden — recently launched a new business catering to teachers.
Edward Shane said his wife, responsible for purchasing many of her own classroom materials, was looking to buy discounted or used items but was having trouble finding them. So, he developed Hoot of Loot, at, a Web site that allows teachers to buy and sell classroom supplies.
“It’s a way for teachers to purchase items inexpensively,” he said. “It’s also nice for new teachers, who are going to have a lot of stuff to buy.”
Edward Shane said it’s also a way for teachers who are retiring to rid themselves of a lot of stuff that would otherwise sit in storage.
The site, which features a search function, offers items for teachers in early childhood education through high school. Categories include arts and crafts, books, bulletin boards, curriculum and textbooks, counseling and LPC, furniture and equipment, mathematics, language arts, gifted education, physical education, music and more.
In only three months, Hoot of Loot earned 40,000 unique hits and has 235 users — teachers who sign up for accounts and post ads selling their unwanted items. The ads cost $1.50 or less each, he said.
He said he’s unsure of how many items have actually been sold, because teachers communicate directly with one another, but his wife has sold quite a few items on the site.
In addition to individuals, manufacturers can sell items on the site. The Shanes have four signed up so far, and they’re working on contracts with more.
While individuals connect with one another to purchase and ship items, teachers looking to buy from a manufacturer via Hoot of Loot will order through Manufacturers pay a fee to sell their items there.
“It’s a good way for companies to get rid of excess inventory,” he said. “It’s good for smaller companies that don’t have the means of getting their products out there the way others can.”
Edward Shane said he hasn’t tried to predict revenues, but he anticipates hiring staff sometime in 2010.
“My guess is, by the end of 2010, we’ll have anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 unique visitors,” Shane said.

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