By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News
A little more than a year ago, Steiner Ranch residents Michael Heldebrandt and Eric Hiduke remember looking in their garages and thinking, “What are we doing with all this stuff?”
That question led the two to create a website known as ShedStreet.com, which provides a platform for neighbors to lend and borrow items from each other.
“We launched the site based on our belief that people can experience more without buying more,” Heldebrandt said. “Over the past year, we have proven that to be true.”
For example, if a person has an urge to take up kayaking, their choice is to go to the local sporting goods store and buy one or rent one somewhere. If they buy one, they may use it once and then store it in their garage for the rest of the year.
With ShedStreet, someone who has a kayak is able to rent it to neighbors, which allows them to try it out and decide whether or not they like it. They can then rent it whenever they feel like going to the lake.
Other popular items to rent include tools, ladders, party supplies such as tables and chairs, a bouncy house or a large outdoor screen, and sports equipment.
Visitors to the site spend on average about five minutes per visit browsing, uploading items and/or renting items, Heldebrandt said.
Both Hiduke and Heldebrandt are long-time Steiner Ranch residents and often get their kids involved in spreading the word about ShedStreet.com.
“We’ve had the kids placing fliers and helping out at several community events in Steiner Ranch so they can learn about both the mechanics of sharing and running a website,” Hiduke said.
The two haven’t quit their day jobs yet. Hiduke is an attorney and Heldebrandt works in marketing.
“It’s more of a hobby that we’ve started,” Heldebrandt said.
Heldebrandt said while they would love to operate the site full-time, for the time being, they are going to focus on attracting users in the Four Points and Austin area.
They have made several changes to the website over the past year, based on feedback from members. Anyone in the U.S. can join and can create their own “neighborhood” by choosing how far they’d like their items to travel or how far they’d like to go to find items. Geo-based location makes it easier for members to find items within a range that suits their needs.
“The sharing concept is gaining traction around the country and as more people participate, the options for everyone are improving significantly,” Heldebrandt said.
So far, the community has embraced ShedStreet.com.
“We weren’t sure how people would react. So far it’s been extremely positive,” Heldebrandt said.