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Big crowd of bargain-hunters browse Junior Leagues annual Thrift Sale
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Hallie Hamlin, 9, waits with her purchases for her mother to check out Saturday morning at the local Junior League’s 46th annual Thrift Sale at the Brenau Downtown Center. Hallie’s finds included a white cast net she plans to hang over her bed. Her mother, Amanda Hamlin, said she attends the Grand Venta de Yarda every year. “It’s a long-standing tradition,” Amanda Hamlin said. “Over 15 years. It started with my mom, now I’m bringing my kid.” - photo by NAT GURLEY

Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County

615 Oak St., Gainesville, 770-535-1951,

One of fall’s popular pastimes is visiting garage sales and thrift stores, where prices are cheap and you never know what you may find.

People from around North Georgia on Saturday descended on the Brenau Downtown Center, formerly Georgia Mountains Center, to sift through clothes, toys and other items during the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County’s annual Thrift Sale.

The sale benefits the Junior League’s community initiatives, which is focused on the Strengthening Families program. The programs help support the well-being of families and children, Junior League President-elect Callie Flack said.

“The purpose of the Thrift Sale is really threefold,” said Thrift Sale co-chairwoman Katie Crumley. “One of them being it’s a fundraiser. The money we make helps go to different agencies that the Junior League supports, but it’s also a PR opportunity. An opportunity for our members to talk with members of the public and find out others way that we (Junior League) can serve.

“Third, it’s a service. They (the items) are at such a drastically low price that people who might not be able to normally buy Christmas gifts for their children are able to do that. Although there are wonderful agencies in town that are able to donate items for Christmas, birthdays and people’s everyday needs, it’s a different feeling when someone is able to pay money for that. It’s a feeling of self-respect and self-esteem that come along with that, so we’re just happy to provide the service.”

According to her co-chairwoman, Magill Fleming, people were lined up outside of the center at 6:15 Saturday morning waiting for the doors to open at 9 a.m.

“It’s amazing,” Fleming said. “It’s very rewarding and gratifying. Just knowing that they (customers) are so excited to see what’s in store, see what’s inside. You see the kids, they’re so excited to shop for things for themselves. It’s great.”

Crumley said there wasn’t a specific goal in terms of money raised.

“It’s not all about the bottom line but it’s about the service we provide,” she said. “When you see people lined up like that, you know that we’re meeting the needs of the community by providing this kind of sale.”

Kim Brockman came to the sale to find items to resale at her own thrift store, Jefferson Thrift Outlet & Auction House. She bought various items, including furniture and big pictures, and needed two cars to take everything home.

“We come here every year and just buy stuff,” she said.

Brockman, who said she came to Thursday’s pre-sale as well, was back with her brother Saturday morning at 6:30.

“We came back up here to try to get all the furniture and pictures we can to sell it,” she said. “It gets really crowded, though. Very crowded in there (the center) this year.”

Ron Soles said he and his wife go to the sale every year. They made more than one trip Saturday to gather what they wanted.

“It’s kind of a thing we look forward to every year,” he said. “We come down to see what’s available, and if it’s something we need, then we get it.”

He said they normally look for clothes and electronics.

“I think it (the sale) is very well received,” Soles said. “Every year, it gets to where we stand in line longer and longer to pay our dollar to get in the door, so I think every one is very receptive to it.”

Trudy Dale used to live in Gainesville and went to Gainesville High School. Now, she lives in Gadsden, Ala., but still wanted to return to the sale she visited while growing up.

“I remember the toy room when I was a little girl,” said Dale, who looked for picture frames and towels along with her mother. “They used to have to kick us out (of the toy room), but we still came back every year.”

For Brooke Pattillo, Saturday was her first time at the Thrift Sale. She didn’t leave empty-handed.

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” she said. “Somebody didn’t want this microwave, obviously. They probably got a new one, but I really need one, and it looks pretty good to me. So, the benefit (of the sale) is getting stuff really cheap.

You never know what you might find that you need. I didn’t plan on finding a microwave, honestly, because I kind of wanted a new one, but it looked good. It’s clean. I plugged it up. It works. Cheaper is better.”

Neil Tankersley, a musician from Alpharetta, found something he didn’t expect: an old organ.

“This has been great,” he said. “I play music for a living, so it was actually cool to see this organ here and be able to get it. My wife and I love vintage-type stuff, so it was cool to get old suitcases and things like that.”

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