‘World’s Longest Yard Sale’ spans 6 states
GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — “Rust sells,” Cookie Watson and Mary Mauldin agreed as they stood surrounded by a fair amount of rust and much more.
The sisters-in-law started setting up their offerings for the World’s Largest Yard Sale, and already were getting customers days before the sale’s official kickoff on Thursday.
The yard sale route stretches from Addison, Michigan, to Gadsden, passing through six states and covering 690 miles. It lasted through Sunday.
The sale follows U.S. 127 out of Addison and heads off onto the Lookout Mountain Parkway around Chattanooga, which brings it to Gadsden in northeastern Alabama.
Watson and Mauldin, who got interested in the sale through another sister, are enthusiastic.
“We couldn’t get out to go to work,” Watson said of herself and her husband, Wayne, “so we decided to take vacation and join in.”
While much of what’s for sale at the Watson-Mauldin location is used goods — dishes, lamps, picture frames, etc. — some of the hottest items are Watson’s dish gardens — repurposed implements ranging from dishpans to an old typewriters — filled with plants and sometimes whimsical nicknacks.
There are “garden angels” as well, made from recycled wood, farm and yard tools and cake pans.
“Anything for the garden is going to sell well,” Watson said.
Mauldin moved here from Chattanooga two years ago, and this is her third yard sale.
“Anything with rust on it,” Mauldin said, “people will buy. Glass doesn’t sell.”
Watson said she and her husband have been involved in the yard sale for about 25 years. They’ve seen people who travel this roadway year after year, and they’ve talked to people who’ve come a long way to see their wares.
“From England,” Watson said.
“And Australia,” Mauldin added.
“We have the ‘Junk Gypsies’ come through,” Watson said, “and someone from (American) Pickers — not Frank or Mike, it was one of their guests.
“He bought good,” she recalled. “He didn’t even haggle.”
For Scott Donner of Ohatchee, a lot of what he has for sale came from a long way off.
Donner was setting up at Pat Jenkins’ yard with metal and wire yard and garden sculptures and craft work — much of it from Mexico.
The best of what he had, Donner said, was under a tent to protect it from possible rain before the sale was to begin.
“I’ve never missed one, for at least 25 years,” Donner said, of the yard sales — this one and the one later in the fall along U.S. 11.
He said he profitability varies on things like the weather — heat, humidity and rain can put a damper on things — and the financial forecast. If people feel better about the economy, he said, they’ll be more likely to come out and buy.
“Sometimes you break even, sometimes you make a little money,” Donner said. “Sometimes you don’t.”
Jenkins, like many people who live along the sale route, makes a little money by renting sale space to people from other areas.
She said someone from Atlanta had rented space to sell glassware, china, wedding-quality candle stands and more.
“I give the money to my kids to pay off their student loans,” Jenkins said.
She said some vendors started setting up on Saturday.
Watson and Mauldin were already selling on Monday. “If they want to buy now, I’m not going to say no,” Watson said.
Information from: The Gadsden Times, http://www.gadsdentimes.com