Joann Welch stood on a ladder inside the Boca Bargains annex holding a chandelier, straining to reach a nail.
“I knew when I took these down yesterday that I wouldn’t be a happy camper today,” she laughed.
The annex, as well as the main store for Boca Bargains, are absolutely overflowing at the moment, and to move one thing around means to move 20 things around.
It’s not an easy job, but Joanne and many other ladies from the Boca Grande Woman’s Club have happily taken on the task of “the never-ending garage sale.” This year, the store opens on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 9 a.m.
This year, Joanne said it looks like donations are up. They’ve not only had many independent donations, but several calls asking if they’ll take away donations from estates. She said one such donation had her, Jane Caple and Jan Goetchus working in just one condominium for two days, weeding through what to take down to Boca Bargains.
That’s a whole lot of merchandise, but Joanne said it still usually isn’t enough.
“By the end of our opening day, 50 to 60 percent of these things, except for the clothing, will be gone,” she said. “We are constantly replenishing the shelves.”
It’s a worthy place to find a bargain, and more and more people every year are figuring that out. What was once a line down the sidewalk on opening day has turned into a line down the sidewalk and down the block. Joanne said they seem to have more and more off-island traffic every year as well.
“I think some people make a field trip out of it,” she said.
All appliances and devices, mechanical, battery-operated or electric, are tested prior to being sold. If there’s something wrong with it, there will be a note attached to explain what it is. One example was a propane barbecue grill with a note that said, “Needs rehab – $5.”
If you know anything about minor maintenance on grills, that’s a steal.
Right now the store windows are decorated in fall trimmings in honor of the Thanksgiving weekend (courtesy of windowdresser Susan Bowers), but the Christmas decoration selection this year is not to be believed. The small closet just off the main room that used to house children’s clothes and toys is overflowing with everything from ornaments to tiny trees, to a Santa Claus riding a fish.
The 501c(3) organization has been running on public donations since 1989, and actually even before that. In 1986 the Woman’s Club began holding a yearly rummage sale. Three years later, it became the seasonal store that it is now.
Money raised from the sale of the bargains goes to many causes. Whether its scholarships or donations to many island organizations, you will find money that changes hands at Boca Bargains.
Donations of items are taken during store hours only. The ladies said that, as of late, people have been stealing items left for donation in front of the store. You can drop off any Monday, Wednesday or Saturday morning at the main building or at the annex, which is located around the sidewalk and to the east of the Art Alliance.
Items that the store will take include clean clothes, jewelry and accessories, party costumes, leather shoes and boots, books and stationery, art and seasonal decorations, sports equipment, bicycles, collectibles, housewares, furniture, CDs, DVDs, lamps, electronics, bric-a-brac, luggage, baskets, mirrors, flat-screen televisions, planters and pots, and games with all the pieces.
Items that will be rejected include cars, cribs, bowling balls, chemicals, console television and stereos, desks longer than 5 feet, metal desks, items with failing particle board, exercise equipment, food, humidifiers and vaporizers, medical supplies and equipment, inflatable items, major appliances, electric blankets, futons, mattresses, box springs or frames of beds, sofa beds, fax machines, copiers, ski equipment, stray encyclopedias, blinds, computers, steam cleaners, electric shavers, cosmetics and filing cabinets.
Joanne took a long look around the room that she and so many others worked hard to organize.
“I think we’re ready,” she said. “We could open tomorrow.”
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