Thousands of bargains at whopper garage sale
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent November 16, 2013 4:14PM
Sherri Christopher of Valparaiso, founder of Guardians of the Green Mile animal rescue group, sorts through signs for the non-profit’s booth Saturday at the indoor garage sale held at the Porter County Expo Center. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 18, 2013 6:51AM
VALPARAISO — Marilyn and Steven Thien of Wheatfield brought a vanload of household goods to the Porter County Expo Center on Saturday.
The haul included small appliances and luggage, all for sale during an indoor garage sale that drew 214 vendors. The couple figured because the sale was indoors, weather wouldn’t be a factor, and the Expo Center covered the advertising.
“There’s more people, collectively, than at a regular garage sale,” Steven said.
The couple did a little shopping, but their goal was getting rid of stuff, not accumulating more.
“We got a couple smaller items we thought we could use, not much; we spent about $8. The idea is to go home with less than you brought,” Steven said, as Marilyn added that vendors had the option of leaving unsold items behind to be donated to a local charity.
About 100 people lined up before the garage sale opened, said Debbie Garner, the Expo Center’s assistant manager. The event has been held outdoors in June in the past but when a cancellation freed up the Expo Center, Garner decided to move the event indoors.
“We had a phenomenal response. We completely sold out, with six rooms in three buildings,” she said, admiring the crowd. “It’s been great. I hope it stays this way all day.”
Junitta Weaver of Valparaiso came along with her husband, Brent, and a group of nine people. She clutched a fishing pole while her husband held bags of doll clothes, Match Box cars, and a framed picture of Dale Earnhardt, among other items.
The extended family came for the bargains, Brent said.
“It’s like going to a ton of garage sales in one stop,” he said.
For the most part, the sale offered the usual yard sale fare — clothes, Christmas decorations and household odds and ends. Bill Schaeffer of Valparaiso had refinished and restored 1940s wood furniture at his booth, including an inlaid card table and a radio cabinet Schaeffer retrofitted with a CD player.
“I like the old radios. I like to work on them and get them back in circulation rather than thrown in the garbage,” he said. “I’d rather see them use it than throw it away, and they don’t make them like this anymore.”