The 21st annual Highway 21 Treasure Hunt may have been a hundred-mile rummage sale which spread from Carson to New England.
It also was more than just a regional event according to some, drawing people from other countries, states and provinces, according to some sellers.
By Brad Mosher
In New England, numerous vendors were saying that Friday morning was the busiest of time.
One thing that was popular at the rummage sale location in the closed United Church of Christ church in New England was toilet tank toppers. The toppers go on top of the toilet tanks and they have vines and a sign, according to one of the sellers. One of the signs said “I see London, I see France….
“They come from the local plumbers, so that makes sense,” Shellee Hanson added with a smile.
“It was a success. Some people came by with empty trailers,” Hanson said Friday evening, just before they closed up shop for the evening.
The most popular item was the dollar-a-bag.., Hanson explained.
But the toilet toppers were so popular that there were just two left by the end of the sale on Friday evening, which meant that Gabbi Hanson may have had to make more before the sale resumed Saturday.
At the Rabbit Hole, the thrift shop underneath St. Mary’s Catholic Church, it was really busy Friday morning before finally starting to slow down after lunch. “The Rabbit Hole had its best day ever,” the manager said. “We closed at 4 p.m. and Kayla had been there since 8 a.m.,” manager Vivian Hernandez explained.
At the Mad Hatter’s rummage stop in downtown New England, the big rush was Friday morning, but it was a continuous flow of customers coming the rest of the day and on Saturday, Hernandez added. Both the Mad Hatter at The Rabbit Hole did big business Friday. “We had a good day both here and down there,” Hernandez said.
“It was really busy. Even before 8 a.m. I had people here. Saturday it has been slower,” but that is just the way it goes.
“There was even a guy from Arizona who said he saw signs for this (rummage sale) all the way up here,” she added. “Some ladies pulled up here with a big enclosed trailer and I said ‘Come on in’,” she added with a chuckle. “They hauled a bunch of stuff out.”
Just up Main Street, even the What Not Shop got business with the flow Friday morning and again Saturday. “We had pretty good business (Friday) morning,” the owner said. “About 40 to 50 people came through,” Becky Jacobs added, noting that if people go to the What Not Shop, why not get some coffee.
For one family on First Street, it was also an interesting was to meet people. “There were 11 people here at one time,”Sandy Leighton said. “You couldn’t even move around.
It was close to 50 (total). We had people from Canada, Montana and Colorado and every one of those people told me how they take off from work and plan this as part of their vacation. We had one who came all the way from Manitoba,” she added.
At one point, she added there were seven trailers parked out in front of their home, she added.
The most popular thing they sold was dishes, she explained. “This one couple said they were starting an antique place in Miles City (Montana). They picked up everything they could that was under 10 bucks. I helped them take their stuff to the car until they couldn’t fit anymore,” she added with a smile.
“Friday it was mostly 60 years old and older. There was a few young people, but not too many… but that was probably because they were working,” she explained.
One business which was built on providing snacks to visitors following the rummage route to New England was The Sugar Monster. Based in Gladstone it was a family business which started as a part-time, but soon it became the primary business for Jason and Michele Schmidt and their family.
Set up at the Lions Park in New England, Schmidt said it was a perfect location to catch both the local traffic as well as the people following the rummage route along Highway 21.
During the summer months, the Sugar Monster trailer hits fairs and other events almost every weekend, which may mean long hours, he said Friday evening.
The most popular menu item is the mini-donuts, which they sell in a bag and in a larger bucket. On warmer days, the lemonade really sells, along with the sno-cones, he added.
In Regent, the local co-op store also picked up lots of business both Friday and Saturday. In addition to being on of the locations to pick up a list of the stops in both Regent and Mott for the rummage sales, they also offered hot barbeque sandwiches.
“People are coming from all over the country to Regent,” said Marilyn Foley as she paused during a quiet moment at the register Saturday. “I have had people from Wyoming, Minnesota, Chicago, Winnipeg and we have had people from Asia,” she said.
Right behind the register, she also had a crock pot ready to dispense a barbeque sandwich for those visitors who wanted a hot lunch.
Right next to the park and the American Legion post, another sales spot drew the people to stop and check out their items, which came from a group of families to sell at one spot in town.
In downtown Mott, the Pheasant Cafe was keeping busy with the some of the rummage explorers stopping for lunch, while the local library was busy with a book sale with an at-will donation, but visitors could also grab a hamburger for three dollars.
Inside the dual open doors on the east side of the library building, the books weighed heavily on the tables as hundreds were there for people to chose from, forcing a variety or ways to support the middle of the tables and keep the weight of the books from collapsing the tables.
On Juniper Drive, another sale location was a combination rummage and estate sale which offered visitors a variety of items from NASCAR collectibles to furniture and a snow blower.