- March 1, 2017
The beaches were less crowded on Friday and Saturday. Longboat Key residents were busy seeking treasures at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church for the annual Royal Rummage Sale.
The sale so big it needs a presale created a frenzy that included a maxed out parking lot and a line that started at Pick Hall and wrapped around the church. The main sale was on Saturday, but 809 people paid $5 a piece to shop early on Friday.
“We’ve broken our record,” Chair Ginny Akhoury said.
Akhoury wore a badge that read “Sheriff of Rummage.” Her pistol was a microphone used to announce blue light specials and help friends find each other amidst the maze of donations.
Even with a huge early bird turnout, Pick Hall was overflowing with artwork, housewares, linens and more on Saturday. Much of the furniture had been sold. Piles of clothing had been reduced by two to three feet, and the tabletops were starting to peek out from underneath the inventory. But there were still plenty of options.
It was a choose your own shopping adventure. The presale offers first choice, but Saturday offers the discounts. As the day goes on, more and more departments are put on markdowns. Janet Masiello and Sal Lauro were happy to scoop up $1 William-Sonoma plates during a blue light special in housewares.
Everything must go is the mission. It eases the volunteer load when the rummaging ends. The sale takes 100 volunteers to operate. They collect, sort and sell first. Then, they pack up the leftovers to distribute between three nonprofits: Disabled American Veterans and Stillpoint Mission in Bradenton and St. Michael Catholic Church in Wauchula.
It gets tricky. Disabled American Veterans can only take small items and 25 boxes. Stillpoint won’t take housewares, only clothing. And then there’s the lamp situation.
“That’s why we have to give it to different charities because one charity can’t sell so many lamps,” Akhoury said looking around at a full garage-worth yet to sell.
With all that stuff and shoppers, the sale ran smoothly under the Sheriff of Rummage. Each department had its own register, so there was no waiting past the initial morning rush to get into the building. But that morning rush was like camping out for Black Friday with some shoppers arriving at 7 a.m.
“Early bird was controversial though because they didn’t do it in the beginning. They added it a few years later,” volunteer Nancy Gornto said. “Some people felt like nobody would want to pay $5, and now we’ve got the line wrapped around the church.”