After welcoming thousands of bargain hunters from at least 11 states, including Colorado and Massachusetts, organizers of this year’s U.S. 301 Endless Yard Sale have proclaimed it a smashing success.
For further proof, they point to the sale’s Facebook page, where the number of likes exploded from 300 last year to nearly 5,500 currently.
Next year’s dates are already on the calendar: June 19-20, 2015. And organizers say Johnston County residents should decide now if they plan to sell, since many vendors are already booking their sales spots for the third annual event.
Aside from the hot weather, the only major complaint from this year was the large gap from Halifax County to Wilson County, which confused shoppers, said Donna Bailey-Taylor, executive director of the Johnson County Visitors Bureau and head coordinator of the sales.
In 2015, the sale will span more than 100 miles. In Johnston County, it will stretch from Kenly to Benson, with vendors selling from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
Benson, which sits at the crossroads of interstates 95 and 40, was Johnston’s biggest draw this year, with about 75 vendors.
Although the organizers won’t solidify plans for next year until a planning meeting in January, members of the steering committee are brainstorming ideas. Sarah Edwards, executive director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corp., says the town might host a kick-off concert to encourage out-of-town visitors to stay the night.
“For us, it’s a big economic-development project,” she said. “We are pretty much as close to the center (of the yard sale route) as you can get.”
Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver agreed. “It’s a real shot in the arm economically for our businesses as well as for our residents,” she said.
Oliver said she heard that some sellers this year used their proceeds to pay for medical care they could otherwise not afford. Civic groups and churches have also seen benefits, she said. In Selma, the American Legion post alone raked in $2,500.
Get ahead of the game
Coordinators encourage sellers to book their location as soon as possible.
“Go through (items) now, price things, contact people on vendor location space,” Edwards said.
This year, a survey of about 50 vendors reported that 81 percent set up shop on land belonging to family or friends. The fee they paid for the space varied from free to $75 per day.
Here are some other results from the survey:
• 76 percent of vendors sold both days.
• Average sales were about $500 each day.
• 79 percent of vendors sold yard-sale items, 48 percent collectibles and 38 percent antiques.
• 83 percent of vendors plan to come back next year.
• 50 percent of vendors said leave the sale a Friday-Saturday event.
Ideally, next year’s sale would run from Lumberton to Roanoke Rapids, essentially the length of U.S. 301 in North Carolina. The committee is working with Nash, Cumberland and Robeson counties to ensure an uninterrupted path of about 200 miles.
“I would hope that we have a thousand vendors,” said Bailey-Taylor. “It is great for small communities that may not have a whole lot of attractions and small events.
“Johnston County will always be the birthplace (of the sale),” she added. “Communities will do it on their own, teaching how we did it.”
For more information, visit www.301endlessyardsale.com/.