On Saturday, Sept. 16, the McLean Community Center held its much-anticipated Fall Community Parking Lot Sale. The event drew 78 vendors, with a special 20-spot section known as "kids' row" reserved for young entrepreneurs aged five to fifteen.
Catherine Nesbit, the center's special events manager, praised this year's event, emphasizing its potential for numerous positive outcomes, particularly for the youth sellers. A walk with Nesbitt revealed why the McLean Community Center involves youth and holds the sale twice a year, benefiting not only Saturday’s sellers and buyers but also neighbors in need.
As shoppers strolled down the youth row, it became clear that the enterprising young vendors had put considerable thought into display arrangements. They appeared to understand the significance of presentation in potentially selling their toys and clothing items, resulting in money in their pockets.
Many young vendors at the sale created visually appealing layouts to catch the attention of people passing by. The young sellers consistently grouped items, providing an enticing shopping experience. The merchandise appeared clean, in very good to excellent condition, and affordable, which was a plus for buyers, especially young children looking for a new toy, video game, or outfit.
Nesbitt said they specifically involve youth vendors to promote their math, financial, and entrepreneurial skills when working with the general public.
"I went down the row and I asked everyone to raise their hand if they were having fun and they were making money, and they were all very happy to do that," Nesbitt said.
Another advantage of the parking lot sale is that it keeps items out of landfills. "For lack of a better term, it's the ultimate recycling," Nesbitt said. Pants no longer fit? sell them here to someone who will appreciate them.
Nesbitt noticed the SHARE, Inc. truck pulling up across the parking lot. SHARE, Inc., a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, accepts food, clothing, furniture, and other donations from the community and local businesses to assist neighbors in need, including those who have been homeless and are recovering.
SHARE would accept donations from all the sellers based on the list Nesbitt was about to distribute at the end of the sale. Due to a lack of storage space, the nonprofit could only accept some of the unsold items.
The next McLean Community Parking Lot sale will occur in spring of 2024. Watch for the announcement.