Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Market is booming in Sanborn

SANBORN-One person's trash is another's treasure.

Members of the Sanborn Preservation Society were pleased to discover that is especially true in N'West Iowa.

Nearly a year-and-a-half ago, society president Faye Schmidt Shall heard of a church in Hartley that held a flea market fundraiser.

Shall thought it would be a good way to raise funds to help with the preservation of the old Carnegie Library in Sanborn, so she borrowed the idea.

Community members bound together to donate items they no longer needed, and the Sanborn Preservation Flea Market opened for business in the vacant Sanborn Hardware building along Main Street for one weekend in November 2007. The flea market proved to be a much larger success than the preservation society could have ever imagined, so the Sanborn Preservation Flea Market continued to stay open.

At first, the flea market only was open once a month, but as the demand and donations grew, so did the hours. It now is open the first full weekend and third weekend of each month. Preservation society members, who volunteer their time working at the flea market, are starting to wonder if there might be too much stuff.

"We don't turn anything away that's usable," member Linda Rozeboom said.

The inventory includes furniture, clothing, glassware, jewelry, pots and pans, appliances, seasonal decorations, tools, books and even toilets - if it's in good condition, they'll take it.

"We're a really good recycling center," member Glenda Visser said.

That may be an understatement.

Since the flea market has been open, Rozeboom said the preservation society has collected about $32,000. The money has been used to refurbish the lower half of the library into apartments and the main floor into a common room for town displays or family get-togethers. When the library is completed, the society members said the funds raised through the flea market will go toward the town museum.

"We thought if we received $15,000, it would be nice," Rozeboom said. "What we have received in just a little over a year has way exceeded what we ever expected."

When the society receives a donated item, it rarely is priced. Rather, community members are urged to make a reasonable donation to buy it.

"If people make an offer, we pretty much accept it," Rozeboom said, noting the only items that are priced are antiques and glassware, which are marked with a minimum donation amount.

Rozeboom said the flea market not only has attracted Sanborn residents. Volunteers have seen from surrounding counties and cities like Spencer and Storm Lake.

"It brings people to town," she said. "When we're in business, there are cars parked up and down the street. Even if they buy something little, it helps us a lot."

Rozeboom and other society members also have seen business pick up at other downtown Sanborn businesses.

"They'll stop in here, go to the other shops and maybe stay and have lunch at one of the local restaurants," Rozeboom said.

This article appeared in the April 11, 2009 edition of The N'West Iowa REVIEW.

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