Weekend Resale Bargains

Baby Items at Growth Spurt Consignment Sale
(Note:  Dateline March 2011) Looking to save a buck on shopping? Get in line. Literally. People are willing to wait in queue for an hour or more at mega-consignment sales these days to acquire children's clothing and household goods at a fraction of retail cost. Community groups, private businesses and individuals are all finding resale worth the effort in this down economy.

Rented racks for the MOM sale
I caught up with Jane Damiano as she was directing a crew to roll in clothing racks that were rented for the weekend. Her group, Mothers of Multiples, will soon  be hosting their 8th annual consignment sale at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church. At least 40 volunteers have been setting up in the gymnasium and will keep order during the Saturday sale. The event that focuses on children's items offers shoppers the same things the volunteers and consignors need for their own families. Damiano says, "I do it to make money to buy for the next season."

Tammy Akard, Keith Akard, Kevin Akard at Growth Spurt
Just around the corner in East Tennessee's Karns community is a small but no less professionally run event that makes casual yard sales seem like a thing of the past. Buyers and sellers are getting so savvy that Tammy Akard and her family have decided their Growth Spurt Consignment Sale has much to offer. A website and signage direct shoppers clearly to the residential location, where the family and friend-run venture looks little like a yard sale. You'll find a boutique section that includes new, handmade children's items.  Rows of newer baby gear and brightly colored toys attract your attention from the street. Under weather-ready shelter, racks and bins of clothing are neatly sorted and labeled. Akard, with a media background, works on promotion. Sister-in-law Kathy Akard, with retail experience, has done much of the organizing. Growth Spurt works the same as the larger sales, with consignors allowed to sell items for a split with organizers. Akard says, "We really wanted to have high-quality children's items that were gently used to offer to our community." She says they like to use the marketing expression that, "We sell the clothes right off their backs" because kids outgrow them so fast anyway. This spring is the fourth successful sale for Growth Spurt.
Contact volunteers Jan Schmidt & Astrid Brynestad sort items

Contact volunteer Sarah Davidson
directs young helpers in tagging items
 While children's consignment sales seem to be a growing trend in East Tennessee, traditional overall sales or flea markets are still popular.  You will find the lowest prices on clothing at a place like the Contact Flea Market going on this weekend at the First Baptist Church, on the Turnpike, in the small town of Oak Ridge. A sign indicates only 50 cents for any clothing item. The annual sale raises money for the nonprofit group that provides phone support for people in crisis. The Contact sale is known for its wide variety of household items and collectibles. Someone might just as easily find a low-cost way here to furnish a home as they would at the local thrift store. Or, you might find a fabulously collectible child's game or book.

Vintage items at Contact Flea Market
Women at two of the events told me about other large sales going on elsewhere this same weekend.  It seems there are never enough bargains to go around these days.

Tag sale tips

Secondhand Economy

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