Piggybackers Yard sales cash in on craft show

By on August 15, 2012

By: CORY VAN BROOKHOVEN Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

The 2012 Lititz Rotary Craft Show is now in the history books, and proved to be a huge success yet again this year. Thousands of curious shoppers from near and far took to the streets of our wonderful downtown to purchase a variety of handmade goods — many even arriving extra early to get “first dibs” on the best of the best that the hundreds of artisans had to offer.

Although the craft show took place along some of the main roads of Lititz, there was another summertime tradition that took place in many other locations of our town as well.

The yard sale.

Waking up while it was still dark out, I exited my apartment and headed for a large dark roast coffee to go. The time of day was 6 a.m., and I was met on the sidewalks of South Broad street before sunrise with many craft show vendors busily putting together their tents, constructing their tables of goods just right, and getting ready for their busy day. Their half-open eyes met mine, after which they nodded and continued working on.

I hopped in my car, and started to drive around Lititz. Before too long, I noticed several garage sale signs pointing me in various directions. After about a mile or so, I reached my first destination.

“The road’s a busy street to begin with,” said Dave Good, confidently, who lives on South Oak Street. He and his wife Deana are avid Craiglist users, and decided to set up items for sale Saturday morning in the hopes that they would receive extra shoppers that day.

“Many people tend to do this kind of thing today,” Don Scheirey, Deana’s father, stated. “The shoppers can find a deal while they are in town for the craft show.”

He was there assisting Dave and Deana with putting their items out for sale as the sun was coming up. Among the many finds for sale at the Good household, one particular piece really stood out. It was an antique sconce which was once owned by Don’s wife’s great-great grandmother. He displayed the item proudly, and shared that she died in her 100th year. The asking price for this item was $5 — a deal by any standard.

Although the threat of rain earlier that morning may have put a damper on some residents that were planning to set up shop, I managed to observe while driving around Lititz that many throughout the area had items set up on their porches. I also noticed a few people had non-profit stands set up on their porches and driveways, with the hope that people driving by would stop in and support their various causes.

Getting back in my car and heading over to the Crosswinds development, another brightly colored yard sale sign guided me to my next destination. I stopped at Dawn Rissmiller’s home in the 400 block to see what kind of collectibles she was selling. While talking to her and looking over her wares, we struck up a conversation. As fate would have it, she used to own a business in downtown Lititz called Mommy and Me, and even helps run the very popular Fire and Ice Festival every year. She told me that she did indeed correspond her yard sale to the morning’s busy craft show with the hope of attracting additional foot traffic. As a previous store owner, she would set up two tents outside of her shop on craft show day to sell additional items.

“I’m only here until 11 a.m.,” she stated, as I gleaned over her inventory. She was set up on the day before as well, and told me that the crowds were encouraging that day too.

“Every person that was here on Friday bought something,” she said. As additional customers walked up to her driveway, I headed out and traveled throughout the town, off the beaten path of the big show, in an effort to learn more.

My last stop was on West End Avenue, where sale items were lined along a driveway and led to a path of additional gems in the garage. I pulled up and I was greeted by a very friendly woman who was welcoming and enthusiastic to show me around. A hammock, several compact discs and various household items were awaiting the potential buyer, all looking for new homes. This garage sale was a craft show first for her, and she stated that the timing was just sheer luck.

“It forces you to clean out,” she stated, as she greeted eager shoppers to her property. Her and her husband set up their sale about every five years, and she said that her customer count was OK so far that morning.

As I was looking over the items, two women came up the driveway in search of bargains. It is their tradition to go yard saling before attending the craft show, with the hopes of leaving with practical items they could use around their homes.

“It’s all about the thrill of the hunt,” stated Aly Keen, while looking over the hammock.

Her saling buddy, Lauren Leitzel, assured me that they are both bargain hunters and enjoy attending yard sales all over Lititz. They, like so many other local residents, took advantage of this great piece of Americana and grassroots commerce. The morning seemed to be a win/win for everyone that took part in Lititz area yard sales — on whichever side of the dollar they were on.

It appears the craft show yard sale is as much of the tradition as the main event. In the coming years many will continue to wake early to set up their belongings, things they are ready to part with. They will make it a point to set up tables along their driveways, in their garages, or on their perfectly manicured front lawns on the day of the Rotary craft show in an effort to attract shoppers both near and far. It’s another layer to this cherished weekend. More YARD SALES, page A6