From left, Debra Sepsi helps customers Mary Bolner and Denise Moyer of IRB at the annual community garage sale.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – On the first Saturday after Thanksgiving residents of Indian Rocks Beach and elsewhere get up early and mill about town looking for bargains at the annual community wide garage sale. This year was no exception. On Nov. 30 the streets were clogged with traffic as hundreds of people showed up to see what was available.
Jim Poehlman, who had just moved to IRB two weeks before the event, was amazed.
“I’ve been out here for an hour and this is how far I’ve gotten,” he said. “I just live around the corner; I’m just a block from my house. This is the biggest garage sale I have ever seen.”
Like so many others Poehlman wasn’t looking for anything specific, but he hoped to find something.
“I’m just looking for stuff,” he said. “I need stuff for my new house.”
On the other hand some residents were trying to get rid of stuff. Marla Huhman was delighted with the way the day was going. She and her partner Jeff Thorburn had rented a truck to bring a storage unit full of items for the sale.
“Oh my gosh this is wonderful,” she said. “We started setting up at 5 a.m. and we’re almost cleaned out. It has been a very productive morning and we’ll be doing it again next year for sure.”
The Indian Rocks Beach Community Garage Sale has managed to get a reputation over the years that had spread far and wide. Tiffany Milenec comes down from Dunedin and never misses the event.
“Every year this is the best,” she said. “This is the best community garage sale around; I’ll keep coming back that’s for sure.”
Milenec was looking over some clothing offered by seller Agnes Stanley. She, too, said the sales were going well.
“Sales are great,” she said. “I set up at 6 a.m. and right away people were coming and it has been constant ever since then. I love it.”
For many people the garage sale is about more than just getting bargains and sifting through other people’s castaways. IRB resident Debra Sepsi, selling for the second year in a row, said the sale brings people together.
“A lot of it is community,” she said. “IRB people like getting out. A lot of the time we just come and go to work and we don’t see each other very much. I see the same people here today from last year; it is fun to renew acquaintances. You can actually make friends from year to year.”
Then, so as not to forget the other reason why she was out in her driveway selling items, she admitted that getting a good deal was a big reason why so many people were out so early.
“I was out here at 7:30 this morning and people came right away,” she said. “Things have been going really good since then. For the buyers, well who can pass up a good bargain?”
Even the new city manager, Gregg Mims, and his wife Michelle, got in on the act with a driveway full of stuff left
over from their recent move into town.
“I had heard this was quite an event and it really is,” he said. “We’ve had a good morning on a beautiful day.”
In fact it was a good day for a garage sale, not a cloud in the sky and the temperature in the mid-60s. It all led to a comment by Agnes Stanley, which aptly described the event.
“This is the Mall of America in Indian Rocks Beach,” she said.