Friday, September 30, 2005

Hunt for bargains

Community School garage sale is a Valley favorite

Express Staff Writer

Over a hundred volunteers enable The Community School garage sale to happen. Volunteer Mary Jameson arranges the linen department days before the event. Photo by David N. Seelig

Two-day sale

The Community School's "The Great Stuff Sale," Saturday 9 a.m-5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Bag sale on Sunday.

The annual event happens at Sagewillow Barn, Elkhorn at Sun Valley.

Admission is $1. Details: 622-3561.

Looking for a stuffed mountain goat, a set of bowling pins or a Ralf Lauren headboard? Expect to find the goods this weekend at The Community School's annual "The Great Stuff" garage sale.

"It's just unlike anything you will ever see," volunteer Laura Grabow said.

The Community School garage sale—slated Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2, at the Sagewillow Barn in Elkhorn—offers a true treasure hunt. The shopping experience benefits the Sun Valley-based school, while expanding economic shopping opportunities for valley residents.

The sale began 21 years ago as a one-day, one-car garage fundraiser. Over the years the sale morphed into an annual two day extravaganza, with shoppers making their way from across the Northwest to attend.

With 3,000 people expected this year, the sale is a fixture for valley deal seekers. This year promises a tremendous selection, especially in the furniture and high-end fashion departments. From year to year, the selection runs in cycles based on donations.

"This is the most furniture I have ever seen," Grabow said.

Crammed with log framed bunk beds, leather couches and willow chairs, the furniture department houses a load of furnishings.

"We have beautiful, beautiful things, that I think anyone can use to furnish anything," Grabow said.

The auction room contains high-end furniture along with antiques, designer furniture, a bronze light fixture and European Christmas decorations. Bidders take part through a silent auction.

The boutique also offers high-end items. A Kate Spade handbag, cashmere suit and like-new Bogner jacket are up for grabs.

The barn is organized into 25 departments with areas for winter sports, books, electronics and linens in the barn stalls. Each department has a manager assigned to organize the goods. The managers are on hand in their areas at the sale to answer customer questions.

A slew of inquires arise in the "Questionable Collectible" department. The department holds one of the volunteers' favorite items—a clear toilet seat inlaid with flying fishing flies.

"It is truly priceless, but its prices at $6," Grabow said.

All of the deals generate money for the private Sun Valley school. Last year the sale generated over $100,000 for financial aid programs, classroom and teaching programs.

"There are a lot of children, who this helps," co-chair Wendy Norbom said. "This is my way to give back."

As a benefit to education, the sale also offers a service to the community.

"We have such an economic disparity in our valley, this is a phenomenal benefit to all levels of the community," co-chair Cindy Jesinger said.

A former valley resident, Jesinger commuted from Boise this year to co-chair the event with three others.

"The benefit is to the people here," Jesinger said.

Some shoppers outfit their families for the upcoming year, on a $5 budget, while others furnish high-end homes.

Benefits arrive for the environment as well.

"It's totally recycled from start to finish," Jesinger said.

Donated goods are sold to new owners. The items that do not sell are given to the Boy Scouts. The Scouts clear out remaining merchandise and resell the goods in other yard sales. Other items are donating to organizations in the Wood River Valley community.

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