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Giving Old Phones New Life

July 10, 2012, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Giving Old Phones New Life
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

You could walk into about any home in America and find an old cell phone tucked away in a drawer.  A Sioux Falls store is turning those old phones into cash.

This recycling business can not only earn you some money, but save you some too. 

Tom Esslinger walked into Next2New Wireless with a shoebox full of old mobile phones his family of four has accumulated over the years. 

"I think I brought in about ten.  We had them from when we first started our service.  Never got rid of them, turned them in or sold them or anything; so I thought it was time to see if I could get some money from them," Esslinger said.

Will Wheeler was working for other wireless providers when he came up with the idea to buy and sell used phones.

"I was going door-to-door to see if people had them in their junk drawer and I was selling them on eBay.  Then I tried selling them out of my garage.  I had a garage sale and it worked out quite well.  I saved enough money to open the shop," Wheeler said.

Next2New Wireless doesn't take every phone, but the store also repairs them and sales are brisk for those looking to buy used.

"Our average customer saves about $200 for buying a phone from us versus Verizon," Wheeler said.

Even the most basic model is a big seller here at just $35.

"We sell a lot of these for children or our older customers," Wheeler said.

Dell Grooters is picking up a couple of phones to take with him to Haiti where he does missionary work.

"They're a hot item down there and most of the Blackberry phones are black market and they're not any good.  So if we can get a good quality used one for about $100, it's a good value to bring down there. If I provide the phone, everybody is happy," Grooters said.

And remember the guy with the shoebox full of phones?  He's also going home happy.

Esslinger: A little over $300. 
Angela Kennecke: What do you think?
Esslinger: Better than nothing.

Wheeler says it's a win-win for everyone.

"For you recycling, we're going to give you cash; green for green," Wheeler said.

Wheeler says about 60 percent of his business is made up of selling used phones and 40 percent is repair work.

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