Cape's winter sale draws more than 1,000 people

Sunday, January 27, 2008
Charla Glueck, right, collected money at her booth Saturday morning during the winter garage sale at the Osage Community Centre. Glueck's son, Ethan, sold his own things this year in hopes of making some extra spending money.

Amy Roth rose extra early Saturday, stopping to pick up doughnuts on her way to a marathon day at the Osage Community Centre. Roth, a recreation coordinator for the city of Cape Girardeau, spent the morning overseeing the quarterly garage sale and the afternoon Special Olympics basketball games.

The winter garage sale, she said, has become increasingly popular.

"We had over 1,000 people," she said as sales wound down. "I think it's become more successful because it's convenient. You don't have to worry about people coming into your own house."

Around the gym, on tables laden common resale items such as clothes, dishes, stretchy sequined belts from the 1980s, linens, compact discs, videos and trading cards, were unexpected treasures: a dozen wooden plow handles, neatly bundled; a set of cornflower blue bakeware Corning stopped producing in the 1970s; a print of Grant Wood's iconic portrait of a Midwestern farming couple, "American Gothic."

Some vendors were there to make money, others to pursue a hobby, and still others as a social venture.

Mandy Clary put a $100 sticker on "American Gothic." She said her late husband, Charles, bought it a dozen years ago, while the couple was running an antique shop in Bloomfield, Mo. Two of her 11 sons helped run the booth, selling dishes and other items. The garage sale is one way the family makes money, in addition to doing odd jobs, since Charles died, his widow said.

Harriette Holbrook of Cape Girardeau routinely uses the garage sale to declutter her home.

"I'm trying to clean the excess out of the house. We are movie hounds," she said, casting a glance at rows of VHS tapes and a stack of DVDs. "We've got too much stuff."

Holbrook has already used some of her earnings, shopping at others' booths. She bought a 1930s-era framed floral print for her kitchen.

The middle school special education teacher said she enjoys the sale as much for extra cash and making bargains as she does for visiting with old friends and seeing students.

Dawn Lambert's booth included garage-sale finds she and her dad hoped to resell, and her handmade beaded key chains and earrings and a few personal possessions. She quickly sold a pair of soapstone frogs for $2 and immediately regretted it.

"I collect frogs, but I'm downsizing," she said. "It was really hard to let them go."

Personal possessions are sold many ways -- at auctions, estate or tag sales and garage sales. Some of Saturday's vendors who resell for a living said garage sales can attract customers who insist on paying one-fifth the marked price. None of the vendors wanted to be quoted as saying that.

Maggie Patterson of Chester, Ill., drives to the Cape Girardeau sales whenever she hears about them.

"I'm a bargain shopper," she said. The bargains she looks for are antique country music records. Patterson is a musician, but the only songs she sings with her guitar are classic country the likes of which Ferlin Husky recorded. She was pleased at having paid $1 for a compilation album, "Country Fair," which included one of his songs.

By 11:30 a.m., with customers still sorting through clothes laid out among three booths' worth of tables, Lynnetta Thele of Leopold, Mo., reported having made $300. She and her three daughters, Melissa Thele, 23; Tasha Massa, 21; and Kirsten Thele, 16, shared duties at their first winter sale and would split the proceeds.

"It was a good experience," Lynnetta Thele said. "I'll probably end up spending all my share on clothes for my youngest daughter."

At another garage sale?

"Um, no," she said, allowing a lopsided grin. "My kids were raised on garage-sale clothes, though."

335-6611, extension 127

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