Employees Buy Bargain Web Site

March 25, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — BargainAndHaggle.com, the Web site that offers customers an opportunity to buy and sell items online, has recently been bought by a group of employees involved in the original design and launch of the site.

The site, which has been in operation for just over a year, was previously owned and operated by mindpepper LLC, the BDO Seidman e-commerce development division. The company announced last week that it has reached an agreement to sell the online marketplace to BargainAndHaggle LLC, an employee-led group comprised of several key programming and marketing personnel from mindpepper.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but officials noted that the sale would fully transfer ownership and all operations of BargainAndHaggle.com to BargainAndHaggle LLC.

Terry Kelly, vice chairman of mindpepper and board member of BDO Seidman, told the Business Journal that the sale is due to a strategic decision by BDO to focus on its accounting services and continue to do what it knows best.

“BDO is proud of what mindpepper has accomplished with BargainAndHaggle.com during a highly challenging period for e-commerce companies. At the same time, we believe BDO’s resources are better directed into growing our core businesses,” he said. “The individuals involved in the newly formed company know the site, its functionality and unique strengths better than anyone, and we wish them success in their ongoing development of the site.”

As part of the transition, BDO said it has closed the operations of mindpepper, effective last Friday. Established by BDO Seidman in 2000, mindpepper developed a system for online negotiated pricing and used the approach as the basis for BargainAndHaggle.com, the first consumer-to-consumer site to offer one-to-one negotiation as an alternative to auctions.

The start-up and operation of the site had been the primary focus of mindpepper since the company’s formation.

“In BargainAndHaggle.com, mindpepper created a new e-commerce model from the ground up when no one believed there were any new models left,” said Jenny Jurgens, vice president of business development and marketing for BargainAndHaggle LLC. “BargainAndHaggle LLC is looking forward to the challenge of advancing the concept and appeal of BargainAndHaggle.com to even greater levels. This is an exciting time for our new company and the Web site. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to make this acquisition.”           

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