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what’s mine is yours

So far, Marie has hosted more than a dozen guests in the two-bedroom suite that used to belong to her children. Many of her visitors have connections to Northfield’s colleges and are looking for a place that is both nearby and affordable. For $65 a night, her home meets both criteria and offers several other perks including breakfast, extra toiletries, and chocolates left by the bed. And while some might be squeamish about trading in housekeeping and room service to stay in the house of a person they’ve just met, Marie says that too comes with its perks. “People want to feel more a part of the city they are visiting. You stay in a neighborhood and experience it in a different way than being in a hotel,” she says. “So far it’s been great.”

Three women in the sharing economy share their stories



By Gina Van Thomme

haring is caring,” may be the anthem of mothers everywhere, but it turns out sharing is also an economy. This sharing economy is made up of peers who offer their goods and services to each other and, thanks to its convenience and costeffectiveness, has already transformed the way many Minnesotans are going about everyday tasks. Here we meet some Minnesota women who are leveraging the benefits of this fast-growing industry by sharing their spare rooms, passenger seats, and love for dogs through three sharing economy sites.

She has since traveled with family members to locations ranging from Denver to Denmark. Late last year, nearly seven years after her first stay, Marie decided to experience Airbnb from another perspective: as a host. “I am semi-retired and the extra income

Airbnb Several years ago, Northfield resident Marie was planning a trip to visit her son in New York City when she set out to find an alternative to the steep hotel prices. Her search yielded Airbnb, a website where people from around the world list their empty couches, extra bedrooms, or entire homes for interested travelers to browse and book. Her discovery meant more than just a wallet with a bit more cash; it also opened her eyes to a new way of experiencing the world.


JUNE Issue 2016 |




and interaction with people was a big draw,” she says. “Staying (in other locations) so often was a big reason why I was excited to become a host.”

After Travis Martinson’s family lost their beloved dog Freckles several years ago, the family decided to remain pet-free to better accommodate her son’s busy hockey and soccer schedule. Still, when a friend suggested Martinson try dog-sitting, she was excited about the prospects of getting a “dog-fix” that could coordinate with her calendar. This led her to registering as a sitter on DogVacay, a website where dog owners who will be away can find a place for their pups to stay. As a sitter, Martinson has hosted more than 30 dogs. For $35 a night, doggy guests can stay in Martinson’s Lakeville home (dubbed the ‘Red Woof Inn’) while enjoying its large yard and nearby trails. Martinson says that the most important things for potential hosts to consider is if they are able to adjust their lifestyles and schedules to suit the needs of the visiting dogs, while providing them with plenty of love, hugs and snuggles. So far, she has had no problems with the latter, and in return the dogs keep both her heart and camera full. “We take a lot of pictures and are always laughing at how many more pictures of dogs I have on my phone than of my son,” Martinson jokes. After dozens of pictures and nearly two years of hosting, Martinson says the biggest

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