At G. Stone Motors in Middlebury, buying a new car doesn't always come down to cash or credit.
"Gosh, I've taken property in, of course -- pigs, cows, pool tables, pizzas, cowboy boots," said Gardener Stone.
For nearly four decades, the family run Ford and GMC dealership has operated on a barter system. If you're short on cash for a down payment -- no problem. "We'll ask them, 'well, have you got anything at home that you want to turn to cash? you got an ATV you're not using? Have you got a pool table or anything?' Stone said.
And there's no item too small, or too unique, as long as it sells.
The idea of bartering for your next big rig caught the eye of independent production company Lionsgate. "No one does what they do. The barter system? It's 2012. Who does the barter system," said Mikey McManus, a producer for Lionsgate
Reluctant at first, Stone and his family agreed to tape a test episode. "Having cameras around is a pain right in the butt. I mean, it's a lot of work. People think, 'ah jeez, just do this and this.' No, it's an awful lot of work," Stone said.
But the test show was a hit and cable network GSN -- formerly the Game Show Network -- picked it up. Now Stone and company will be starring in their own 30 minute show called Family Trade.
"It's about this family -- and one American family with one American dream and they do everything they possibly can to build it," McManus said. He says the show will put Vermont on the reality TV map. "There's a lot of shows down in the bayou -- obviously in New Jersey, New York and L.A. There's lots of areas that are well represented, and nobody's really doing any shows in New England, so I think it's really cool for this area to be represented now," he said.
While the family wouldn't say if they're being paid for the production, Stone says in the end he hopes it's a positive promotion for all parties involved. "We're not in this for the money, we're in this because I think it will be good for the dealership. I think it will be good for Middlebury, Vermont and I think it'll be good for the state," he said.
Taping on the show begins in two weeks. There's still no word yet on when it will air.
A small family business getting recognized in a big way.
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