BY MANISHA KRISHNAN, NORTH SHORE NEWS
TOOLS have always been important to Sergei Gassiev, whether in his former life as a surgeon in Russia, or most recently as a logistics manager for a construction company.
But two years ago they took on a new significance, after the company Gassiev worked for went bankrupt and he found himself out of a job.
“I realized that no one was going to give me a job any more so I decided to create a job for myself,” explains the 55-yearold North Vancouver resident.
He entered Capilano University’s BOSS selfemployment entrepreneurship program with the intention of opening a tool consignment store. After graduating with a business plan, Gassiev opened ToolXChange (www. toolxchange.ca) in Lower Lonsdale in April of this year.
The idea is simple – clients bring in tools that they no longer need, Gassiev makes sure that they’re in good shape, then he prices them and displays them in the store. “I thought about it this way – if it works for sport equipment or for women’s clothing or furniture, why not tools?,” he says.
“The thing with tools is everyone to some extent needs tools so there is a great demand. . . . Both contractors and homeowners buy them and yet almost every household has tools kicking around that they no longer use.”
Seeing perfectly good tools lying in metal scrap yards fuelled his ambitions even more. “It clicked with me right away, somebody can perfectly use those tools for many years to come.”
Gassiev ruled out the idea of buying directly from people because of how often tools get stolen and pawned. Instead, sellers need to open up an account with the store and leave their contact information. “By doing that, you have a transparent system,” he said. “You’re not going to carry someone’s grief on your shelves.”
It didn’t take long for ToolXChange to catch on – Gassiev said his shop was filled in a matter of weeks. He also allows people to post their tools for sale on Tool Geek Market, an online forum that is linked to his website.
The store has been particularly popular amongst folks in smaller communities such as on the Sunshine Coast. It’s a way for them to get their tools exposed to a bigger market, said Gassiev.
“It’s a community service to let people conveniently and safely sell their tools and also for people who are looking for tools to get them.”