MASSENA — The Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce has been designated as a safe trade zone, joining two other areas in Massena.
A safe trade zone, or internet exchange location, is a place where online buyers and sellers meet, usually located in a police station parking lot or chamber of commerce. That ensures the individuals stay safe while buying or selling using online tools like Facebook Market Place or Craigslist.
Trade zones are completely free. However, if it is offered by an indoor facility, it will be subject to that organization’s office hours. The chamber’s office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office is closed for public holidays.
“We designated the chamber office as a place for people that are buying stuff from the Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, the Free Trader” and other sites, chamber Executive Director Nathan Lashomb said.
Two other safe trade zones are located at the Massena Police Department parking lot and Walmart parking lot. Both of those locations are available 24 hours a day.
One of the features of trade zones in many cases is 24-hour video surveillance.
“They can come to our facility during business hours. This way no shady business is going on,” Mr. Lashomb said.
And, if there’s an issue, “the police could be readily available quite quickly,” he said.
Mr. Lashomb said that, while visiting with his son in North Carolina, he dropped by the local chamber of commerce.
“It was one of the things that they had been doing,” he said.
So he brought the concept back to Massena.
“We just literally started,” Mr. Lashomb said.
The SafeTrade program launched in 2015 in response to thousands of transactions that were initiated on Craigslist and other classified sites. It was developed as a public service by the Advanced Interactive Media Group, LLC, a Florida-based consulting-and-publishing company that works with hundreds of classified advertising companies around the world.
Aside from 24-hour surveillance cameras to monitor the parking lot, typical safe trade zones have set hours when transactions should take place; no guns, illegal or legal drugs allowed; and police officers are just steps away.
More information about the program is available at http://www.safetradestations.com/.