Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Garage Sale Recap

Wow. 88 houses, more than double anyone’s expectations. By most measures, the Greater Aberdeen Garage Sale was a success but there were definite shortcomings as well and lots of room for improvement. However, I first need to thank everyone who participated. To those who sold and those who bought, I offer my gratitude for reviving our community spirit. Aberdeen has a great future because we have great people and, together, we can do great things.

I’d also like to offer my special thanks to the following people: First and foremost, thank you, Erin Stattel, for publishing an article about the garage sale in the Independent. Nothing I did garnered as much publicity as your article. Next, I’d like to thank Sametta Thompson for listing the event in the Asbury Park Press and Alyssa Pessaggio for promoting the garage sale on her blog. Thank you, Karen Ventura, for listing the garage sale on the township website and being a constant help to me in all township matters. Thank you, Mary Giaimo, for creating and broadcasting advertisements on Huskievision. Thanks to all my readers who posted helpful advice on how to improve the event. And thanks to my wife, Jennifer, whose constant support and advice made it all possible. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

The garage sale had two objectives – To promote Aberdeen and foster community spirit. At the same time, people have garage sales to sell. In that last regard, the garage sale was very uneven. Some people have reported low traffic and dismal sales. Others had an outstanding day. In retrospect, I realize I made several mistakes and hope to do much better next year.

First, I believe I overestimated the utility of the maps. While printing addresses may be sufficient for the locals, the out-of-towners need something more. Additionally, many people like to simply drive around and stop at any garage sales they find. Hence, garage sales with more exposure did far better than others.

Next, there’s an old business saying – Prepare for success. I wasn’t prepared. When the site reached 80 locations, the browsers began having trouble loading so many maps. Also, the listings weren’t in any particular order. And, I discovered belatedly, the site could only handle 99 addresses.

Lastly, word-of-mouth advertising was woefully inadequate to promote the event.

Here are some of my ideas for improving the Greater Aberdeen Garage Sale for next year.

  1. Garage sale signs are cheap. Post garage sale signs at the intersections to direct drivers
  2. Expand promotion within our community and the neighboring areas
  3. Arrange with the Salvation Army to pick up the “leftovers”
  4. Redesign site to be more user friendly and incorporate “large print” maps so that users could print a single map listing several garage sales
As always, I’d love to get feedback and suggestions.

Thanks again to everyone who participated and helped. Can’t wait to see you next year. >>> Read more!


Anonymous said...

I didn't participate because we only have a limited amount of items, and are not a real draw for the true garage sale buyers, looking for big items; furniture etc. How about a group garage sale? I think that would also be a great community builder, all in a central location where buyers could walk around. Something in the fall would be nice. Any Plans?

Aberdeener said...

It's a good idea. The problem is location. I had once inquired whether we could use any of the schools on a weekend. I was told every school building was booked every weekend.

Anonymous said...

While i and my family could not participate due to having to go out of town, we do hope that sometime in the fall the ABERDEENER can work his Garage Sale magic once again.

Congrats to all who participated as i am also sure that many more people are starting learn about the problems in Aberdeen with its supposed leadership.

Norman Kauff is somehow a local Robin Hood who unfortunately steals from the poor and rewards his rich friends at the expense of Aberdeen and its taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I sold a bunch of stuff I didn't need anymore ..... proving once again that one persons c__p is another's gold.

My suggestion is to hold the next Garage Sale on Justice Lane.

Anonymous said...

First... Thanks Aberdeener for organizing this. It was fun as well as profitable for our little sale.

You mention one possible improvement would be signs next time - how about:

Post a pdf on the page you get to after you register your address. The file would be a GARAGE SALE TODAY sign with right and/or left arrows. The user could write in their address and print out as many as they wanted.

I'll even supply the pdf to post!!

Anonymous said...

Great idea....cutoff time should be 1-2 pm. 4 pm was much too long

Aberdeener said...

The pdf is an interesting idea. Are the garage sales signs taped to telephone polls sufficient? Or do you need one of those signs that are posted in the ground?

As for the early cutoff, I used the same times as the Metuchen garage sales since they have the experience.

Regarding another sale in the fall, are people interested? I moved this garage sale to June because the weather was too cold in April. If we did two garage sales a year, what months would people want?

Thx again to everybody for all their help and participation.

Anonymous said...

Mid Oct allows people to get back into the swing of things. You know get the kids back into school and all of that.

We should look at options and perhaps a little more advertising at high traffic intersections starting ten days before.

I do like the Justice lane garage sale comment. It could be billed as a going to jail sale.

From my computer keyboard to Gods ears.

KrisMrsBBradley said...

I like the idea of a central place to hold a sale for people who didn't have enough items for a whole sale of their own.

What about adding to that idea and making it a sale for a charity? Have people drop off their items in one place as a donation, and all the sales would go to a prechosen charity/nonprofit.

The VFW in Cliffwood has been used for this type of event before.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I wrote up a one page flyer about the garage sale and delivered one to each house on my block (about 18 other homes). I figured that the more people who participated on our street, the more buyers we'd all have. Two other sales on the block were registered -- actually I registered one of them because the homeowner isn't very Internet savvy. And, three other homeowners participated without registering on the site. Maybe, having printer-friendly flyers on the website would be a nice addition. One simple version (including date, time, website info) could be available for printing to post in local stores, offices, schools, etc. to "recruit" buyers. A slightly longer version, along the lines of what I shared with neighbors, could be avaiable to share with others on the block to encourage people to be sellers. (Joey, I can send you my letter if you'd like.)

I'd encourage the person who had a "limited amount of items" to participate, especially if others nearby were also holding garage sales. I sold big items like air conditioners and a dinette set, as well as small items like hangers, a bag of packing peanuts, and stuffed animals.

Allowing sellers to print maps in sections or smaller neighborhoods should be helpful.

Most of my neighbors "closed shop" well before 4. If we think we can really increase traffic for the next sale, I'd be OK with selling until 4, but if not it may be worth considering an earlier ending time.

Aberdeener said...

Another great idea. Sure, send along the flyer.

As for MrsB's suggestion regarding the VFW, I'll contact Ken Aitken and see what he suggests.

Anonymous said...

I think mid October is great, the weather is still nice. I still like the idea of a group sale. The charity idea is nice, but I don't think you'll get everyone to participate if it is only for charity. There was someone who posted they were selling pretzels for charity, that was nice. Maybe something like that at a group sale would a good idea. What if we all paid $5 to register and with that money we purchased some snacks to sell for charity and we all took turns at that table. What about the churchs etc, would they lease us space if we also collected for charity or for their food bank.

KrisMrsBBradley said...

I think with the charity idea that most people should still do their own garage sale for their own profit, but those who only have a few items could throw them into a community pot at a central location for a charity (or split between several charities).

There are all kinds of local places (animal rescues, food banks, etc.) that could use the money, not to mention maybe getting the word out even more, as perhaps people that might not usually go garage sale hunting might go out to support a local charity (and then continue on to the private sales as well).

Anonymous said...

thx aberdeener

Anonymous said...

We participated but didn't have much traffic. We are new to Aberdeen and NJ (bought our first home last fall) and it was a great opportunity to meet our neighbors! Many of them told us to let them know when we have the next one so they too could participate. Some were not internet savvy.

We'd be interested in an Oct sale as well. Great job Aberdeener!

Aberdeener said...

My apologies. A fall sale is a great idea. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to properly organize it and felt we would be better served first improving the summer garage sale.

I appreciate the feedback and would definitely like to see a fall sale in the future.