FAIRMONT - Fairmont Area Kinship's annual industrial and commercial rummage sale is in its 10th year, and remains popular.
"Every year, I worry that it's going to cycle out," admits Kinship organizer Char Kahler. "Then every year, we end up filling the building."
Even the colder weather has not kept the bargain hunters away.
GOOD?DEALS?— Gary Wilson of Odin, left, pays volunteer Jean Burkhardt for bargains he found at Fairmont Area Kinship’s industrial rummage sale Thursday morning at Martin County Fairgrounds in Fairmont. The sale continues today, with remaining items going to auction Saturday morning.
"This morning, we let them come in a little early, where in the past we made them wait outside," Kahler said. "We had a section of the building filled with people."
The event is a win/win for Kinship and area businesses, which donate items they no longer use.
"About 32 businesses brought goods, some with several truckloads," Kahler said. "We sometimes have businesses that don't donate for a while but then come back. This year, the hospital brought two truckloads of usable items out, and they hadn't for a few years. We also had two semi loads full from Bank Midwest and JCPenney. So we get a lot of community support."
While most items range from large office supplies, such as file cabinets and chairs, other items for sale include things from lumber and siding, to piping and bathroom fixtures, to clothing.
"We started setting up last Thursday, and we already had the loading bay filled at that time," Kahler said. "Part of my pleasure in this is seeing this building filled with things that won't be going into a landfill ... plus the businesses are always so supportive. We ask for donations all the time, and yet they always seem to come through for us."
Another secret to the sale's success is the volunteers.
"We have some of the same, faithful volunteers every year," Kahler said. "They help us with the 'pricing party,' when we have about 20 to 25 people come and help us price things. It seems everyone knows about different areas for pricing, so that helps out a lot."
The sale continues at the Martin County Fairgrounds from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. today. Any items left on Saturday will go to a "Dutch" auction at 9 a.m., with prices dropping every half hour until 11 a.m.
The sale's first day saw some loyal customers, and some discovering the sale for the first time.
"We're first-timers," said Linda Wilson of Odin, as her husband Gary paid for merchandise. "This was a good sale. We're going to have to mark this on the calendar."
All proceeds go toward Fairmont Area Kinship, a mentoring program that matches local youth with an adult mentor.
"Right now, we have 48 adults matched with youth, and that includes some couples," Kahler said. "This is such a great community; everyone is doing something."