- First United Methodist Church, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Plymouth Congregational Church, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- First United Methodist Church, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Plymouth Congregational Church, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- First United Methodist Church, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Plymouth Congregational Church, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Trinity Episcopal Church, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more than two decades, First United Methodist Church’s annual rummage sale has been a staple event in downtown Lawrence. This year, two more Vermont Street organizations will join the festivities.
In its 21st year, First United Methodist’s rummage sale at 946 Vermont St. will have competition this week from two rummage sale first-timers, Plymouth Congregational Church at 925 Vermont St. and Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry at 1027 Vermont St.
Barry Molineux, one of the coordinators of Trinity Interfaith’s sale, said that while the organizations did not necessarily coordinate efforts, having the sales at the same time does have its perks.
“It just happened by accident,” Molineux said. “but it will certainly be an event for Vermont Street.”
Though Plymouth Congregational Church and Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry are piggybacking on First United Methodist’s annual fundraiser, Margaret Kramar, the self-proclaimed “fearless leader” of Plymouth Congregational Church’s garage sale, said they do not want to take away business from First United Methodist Church, but rather help bring more customers to the area.
“First United Methodist really deserves the credit,” Kramar said, “but the idea was if people were already downtown for one, people who really like garage sales could just hop around from each church.”
While planning the event, Kramar said she called organizers at First United Methodist for pointers on how to smoothly run a large-scale rummage sale, which was probably a good idea, because after years of practice, Ruth Swain of First United Methodist said her church has the business of rummage sales down to an art.
“It has gotten progressively more organized over the years,” Swain said. “A few years ago, two church members designed a plan on how to set up the sale most effectively and we have just tweaked it a little each year since.”
To simplify the process for customers, First United Methodist and Plymouth Congregational's sales are organized into separate rooms. At First United Methodist, the thousands of items congregation members have donated for the sale are sorted into eight departments: children’s items, furniture, holiday, books, antiques, clothing, crafts, electronics and recreational activities. Similarly, Plymouth Congregational has seven rooms sorted with goods from artwork to appliances.
And these are no ordinary garage sales. Shoppers won't be scavenging through cardboard boxes. Kramar said volunteers at each organization have been carefully arranging and displaying donations every day since “set-up Sunday” this week.
“This is much more stuff than you could just throw on a few tables,” Kramar said.
Though the churches look like thrift stores inside, prices are marked similarly to a garage sale. Customers can find bargains ranging from 25 cent books to hundred dollar appliances.
Prices will be even lower as the sales come to a close. On Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., Plymouth Congregational and Trinity Interfaith will mark everything half-off, and First United Methodist will offer 50 percent discounts all day, with a “brown bag sale” from noon to 2 p.m., when shoppers can purchase a sack for $4 and take home whatever they can squeeze into the bag.
First United Methodist’s earnings will benefit the church’s mission trips and Plymouth Congregational plans to put its funds toward operational costs. All proceeds from Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry’s sale will be used to purchase meals.