North Shore Churches Unite to Promote Season of Rummage Sales

More than a dozen churches in Chicago's north suburban lakefront communities have banded together to promote their spring-through-fall season of great rummage sale bargains on antiques, clothing, toys and more.
July 14, 2010 - PRLog -- North Shore Church Rummage Sales Unite to Promote Spring-through-Summer Bargains

For Immediate Release July 14, 2010

More than a dozen churches in Chicago’s North Shore suburban communities have banded together to promote their annual rummage sales as a spring-through-fall season of opportunity for great bargains on antiques, clothing, furniture, house wares, toys and more.

Starting more than a century ago, churches from Chicago’s Lincoln Park to north suburban Lake Forest have hosted annual rummage sales that draw antique dealers and bargain hunters from Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, buying everything from fine art to dorm-room furniture to baby clothes.  This year rummage organizers decided to band together.

Sallie Smith, a member of Kenilworth Union Church, Kenilworth, called 20 church rummage sale chairpersons last summer and invited them to lunch.  “We figured out that rummage organizers aren’t competing against one another, we are benefiting one another much like the stores in a shopping mall benefit by sharing customers,” said Smith.

Recognizing that people who love one church’s rummage sale would love the others too, Smith created a rummage sale calendar for the 2010 season, and plans to follow up in future years.  Fellow organizers have launched a web site, and a Facebook page.   Use Facebook’s search function by entering “north shore rummage.”  The two websites offer links to church rummage web pages, sale dates and driving directions.

“Rummage shoppers do it for adventure, good deals, impulse buys, gifts and necessities,” said Smith.  “In this economy, apartments are furnished and college dorm rooms are decorated.  People line up to get into our sale and afterwards cars, vans and trucks leave filled with furniture, bags of clothing, toys and kitchen items.  It is such a delight to see buyers finding great value knowing that the money they spend goes to worthy charitable causes that are carefully vetted by church leaders.”
“Buyers of every income enjoy these sales,” Smith said.  “Sometimes a vest or jacket that one person gave to rummage is seen being worn by a friend at church the Sunday after the sale.”  

Organizers describe a men’s Columbia brand winter coat, valued originally at $300, selling for $20.   Other clothing brands found include Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Bahama, Nautica and Joseph A. Bank.  A 40-bottle decorative iron wine rack went for $100.

Mary Moring, an organizer of the St. Nicholas Catholic Church’s sale in Evanston, said, “Our toys department hosts shoppers from 5-year-olds with a quarter grasped in sweaty little hands to seasoned toy collectors looking to fill a gap in their collection. Both usually go away happy.”  St. Nicholas’ sale starts at 8 a.m. , Saturday, July 17.
Dawn McClintick of North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield, said, “Last year we received a donation of old collector dolls that were a bargain even at the $550 they brought in. The buyer liked the fact that our net proceeds went to support local agencies.”

“We have a family that comes each year,” McClintick said. “They save their limited income, assemble a list and then shop their needs for the year.  School clothes, coats, linens, replacement pots and such. They like what they see and feel comfortable shopping here because we are so happy to have them come.”

All the rummage organizers describe weeks-long preparation for their rummage sales by volunteers numbering in the hundreds, some of whom actually volunteer for multiple churches because they see the benefits wrought.  

“I have to tell you that I love my job,” said CharlotteMcGee, rummage coordinater for Christ Church, Winnetka.  “Oct. 7 will be our 86th rummage sale.  I love that we keep stuff out of landfills. I love that we can offer high quality items at amazingly low prices to our customers, many of whom have no other shopping options. I love that we turn around and give the proceeds to over 50 different charities. And, lastly, I love the fellowship that it creates within our parish and within our community.  We have over 200 volunteers participate. It is all a beautiful thing.”

In addition to the July 17 St. Nicholas sale, another big July date is Saturday, July 24, when two rummage sales occur:  Kenilworth Union Church, 211 Kenilworth Ave., 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and North Shore Unitarian Church, which starts an outdoor sale at 7:30 a.m. and continues indoors from 8 a.m. to 4 p .m.  Kenilworth Union Church precedes its annual sale on the 24th with a Thursday, July 22, presale from 9 a.m. to noon, where the opportunity to purchase items in advance comes at a cost of a 50 percent markup.

One of the most anticipated dates of the season are Friday and Saturday, Sept. 10-11, when three Highland Park, Ill., churches host rummage sales on the same two days.
Participating North Shore Chicago churches, all of whom can be found at website, are:  Christ Church Winnetka; First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest; Highland Park Presbyterian Church; Immaculate Conception Parish, Highland Park; Kenilworth Union Church; North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield; St. Athanasius Catholic Church, Evanston; St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Wilmette; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wilmette;  St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church, Evanston; St. Pauls United Church of Christ, Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago; Trinity Episcopal Church of Highland Park; Winnetka Congregational Church.

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North Shore Chicago Rummage is an alliance of more than a dozen churches in the lakefront suburbs north of Chicago. Together they promote their annual spring-through-fall season of great rummage sales offering bargains on antiques, clothing and more.
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