On the 21st day of the 11th month of the 15th year in the 21st century, the Bower Hill Famous Flea Market was held. Over the previous 12 months we had collected so much merchandise that we had to add 1 extra room. Over the course of 4 days we brought down the boxes and transformed 3 rooms, 1 hallway and 1 kitchen into a discount shopper’s paradise; well actually, the Boy Scouts brought down the boxes.
30 minutes into the 8th hour on the 21st, the sale began. Sales from that day alone added up to over $3500.
The new toy room was a huge success making around $500. The Bower Hill Boutique (aka Nancy’s Nook) also topped $500, and the jewelry made around $300—the best jewelry total in years. Selling 3 types of soup, 23 hot dogs, 10 hot pretzels, 6 salads and too numerous to count cookies and brownies, the Snack Bar made just under $300.
With the addition of the extra room, we needed extra help and Bower Hillers showed up. We had at least 4 new helpers on set up day, including 1 woman from Good Shepherd and at least 6 new helpers on the day of the sale. Our customers were quite impressed with the customer service provided by the 4 youth working at the sale-2 in the snack bar and 2 in the main room.
When all was said and done, the final total for the flea market was $5329. Between the pricers, the Boy Scouts who brought down (and took back up) the boxes, unpackers, bakers, soup makers, cashiers and baggers, snack bar helpers, jewelry helpers, boutique helpers, toy room helpers and people who helped pack up what was left, it took no less than 55 people to make this year’s flea market a rousing success-and that’s not counting all the people who donated merchandise and/or shopped. Many of those 55 assisted with more than 1 task (i.e. baked and helped with set up) and at least 2 helped with both the flea market and the memorial service held at the church that afternoon.
1,000 “thank yous” are not enough to express our gratitude to everyone who made this year’s flea market such a success.
Flea Market — Why We Do It
The $5000 we made from this fall’s flea market was a great reward for all of our hard work, but we don’t just do it for the money. The Flea Market provides many services to the community. Many people make a living buying items at flea markets and then reselling them online or at other sales. Other customers may be having a rough time and truly need a good bargain. After the sale was over we put aside a bunch of baby stuff, lamps, sets of glasses and other items for Laura from Family Promise and gave some children’s books to the Neighborhood Academy-they encourage the teens to take home the books to read to their younger siblings. Several trips were made to Goodwill and two boxes of stuffed animals were given to SHIM. Jean Miewald, who heads up the Bower Hill team when Family Promise stays at the church, also took a bunch of stuffed animals to place as a gift on the beds of the children when they stay here.
But the most fun part is to hear the individual stories of our shoppers. We touch people’s lives in ways you don’t always expect. For example, we had a gentleman from Illinois purchase a Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers Ornament that was donated a few years ago through one of our Craig’s list ads. It turns out that his wife broke hers last year and he was very excited that he found a replacement for her.
The best story of 2015 came in an email from Jean Miewald. “I want to thank you for letting me take so many of the stuffed animals from the Flea Market, and letting me know about all the Build a Bears that were available. I put one on the children’s beds for the Family Promise group staying at BHCC this week. Little Azariah is carrying her’s around whenever I see her. Tamika thanked me for giving one to her daughter Ari. Then she said that the last thing that Ari had done with her Dad before he died was to make a Build a Bear, and then somehow, it got lost. So she was very touched by our gift. It amazes me how easy it is to make a difference in someone’s life, so unintentionally.”