2017-05-25 / Life in Leelanau

Time for Treasures

Pickin’ the peninsula: With $25 in hand, writer gathers slew of garage sale gems
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff


GILBERT RUPP had lots to pick from at his garage sale Friday in Elmwood Township, including a classic car with a $20,000 price tag. GILBERT RUPP had lots to pick from at his garage sale Friday in Elmwood Township, including a classic car with a $20,000 price tag. Traverse City residents Frances Hodges and Carolyn Penney were among the early birds Friday at Cedar Creek Commons community garage sale.

“We have enough stuff. We just like to see what everybody’s selling,” Hodges said.

This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the garage sale season in Leelanau County. And with more than a dozen garage, yard and estate sales advertised in this week’s paper, there’s sure to be good pickin’s to be had.

Armed with my notebook, camera and $25 cash provided by the Enterprise, I set out Friday morning to scout what kind of stuff was available and see just how far the money would go.

Just two days earlier temperatures reached to mid-80s. Friday’s high temperature was 52, making for colder vendors and sparse bargain-hunters.


ENTERPRISE WRITER Amy Hubbell cleaned up on garage sales. She is pictured here with her cheese boxes, tack box, foot locker and bicycle purchased at a community garage sale at Cedar Creek Commons in Elmwood Township. ENTERPRISE WRITER Amy Hubbell cleaned up on garage sales. She is pictured here with her cheese boxes, tack box, foot locker and bicycle purchased at a community garage sale at Cedar Creek Commons in Elmwood Township. “We’ve done the sale for many years in late June,” said Marcy Groulx, who combined her offerings with her sister, Deb Groulx and her mother, Nancy Joy. “Maybe she should go back to the original date.”

Theirs was the first and fourth stop on my garage sale outing — and the spot where I spent the bulk of my budget.

The garage and adjoining concrete driveway were filled with outdoor furniture, books, clothing of all types, hats and plants.

My first selection was a 1,000-piece Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle. That was a no-brainer as my mother and daughter Grace have a penchant for puzzles.


FINE COLLECTIBLES such as these (pictured left and right) were up for grabs at a Cedar Creek Commons garage sale Friday. FINE COLLECTIBLES such as these (pictured left and right) were up for grabs at a Cedar Creek Commons garage sale Friday. Toward the back of the garage there was a book case and nearby I found my second buy: a pair of wooden cheese boxes.

As a kid, I remember my mom cutting tiny chunks from Kraft “blue box” cheese to make her world famous (at least to me) macaroni and cheese. But the cheese boxes predate this.

In the 1930s and 1940s, well before the shrink-wrap was developed, cheese was sold in wooden boxes that were stamped with the name of the product, its weight and the brand name of the maker.

The boxes caught my eye and at a price of $3 each, they were a steal.

But, along with my monetary allotment, I was directed to haggle.

That’s a real challenge for me. When given raffle tickets to sell, I’d rather buy them all than try to pawn them off on someone else.

So, after gathering the nerve I asked, “They are $3 each, would you take $5 for both?”

Sold — to the lady with the camera hanging around her neck. (That’d be me.)

Total purchases this visit were two with $6 less to spend elsewhere.

Then I went next door to visit Carla Wood, whose mother, dressed in four layers, went in the house when I entered.

“It was 84 a couple days ago,” she said, sitting in her garage, a blanket covering her legs.

Wood said she usually participates in the annual sale. This year’s offerings included a large column pedestal, an end table, artwork and newly-upholstered foot stool.

She explained that she picks up items at garage sales, reworks them by painting or recovering, and sells them. Wood knows the art of the deal.

“I never pay full price for anything,” she said. “If you can’t accept the ‘no’ then don’t ask.

“If you expect to hear ‘no,’ it’s always a pleasure to hear ‘yes,’” Wood said.

Likewise, she is willing to negotiate on her end. Wood said she only puts out items that no longer have a place in her home.

“Very few things go back in,” she said. “What I don’t sell will go to St. Vincent DePaul or Father Fred … Goodwill has too many things.”

I hopped in my car and drove up the hill to see what else I could find.

I spied Gilbert Rupp wearing a heavy Michigan jacket wrapping up a deal to sell a 10-speed bike that likely hasn’t been ridden in years. I figured even if I didn’t find anything I wanted, he’d likely have something to contribute to my story.

I was right.

Rupp, who worked many years for Michigan Bell before retiring, had a lot of “man” stuff. Sledgehammers, scaffolding brackets, clothing, a large dog carrier and two other items that caught my interest: a large antique-looking box with original hardware and a smaller, plain box with a place for a padlock.

The larger piece had a $2 tag; the smaller was going for $1.

I asked Rupp what the “back story” was for them.

“The large box dates back to 1938. It was a storage chest for a horse barn off Fort Road,” he said. “I used to ride and also used it for horse tack.”

The smaller box was his Army footlocker and had been to several military installations … Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.; Fort Riley, Kansas; and Fort Benning, Ga.

I had plenty to spend and the prices were reasonable so I decided to forgo the haggling.

Besides, there was something else I wanted to ask Rupp about. It was a big ticket item parked in his garage — a 1967 Lincoln Convertible, four-door, yellow with a black top.

The price tag: $20,000.

“I bought it at an estate sale. It was one of about 100 vintage cars owned by Traverse City developer Jack Zimmerman,” he said.

Rupp had just taken the car out of winter storage and participates in shows organized by Hagerty Classic Insurance in Traverse City.

While the car is lovely, there was no room in my budget for wheels like this. So I returned to my first stop on the garage sale circuit and found a bike for $5. The tires were flat, but even if I have to repair the inner-tubes, I’ll still be able to go for a ride on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

When I returned to the office, just out of curiosity, I Googled the cheese boxes. I knew they were special.

The boxes sell on eBay for between $15 and $25 apiece. Woohoo!

But they won’t be offered for sale online or elsewhere. They’re my treasures.

Treasure hunt: Weekend sales across the county

 Yard Sale — Today, Friday and Saturday, 9 to 3:30 p.m, 5868 S. Dunns Farm Rd., Maple City — Smoker, household items and much more.

 Garage Sale — Today and Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 995 S. Nanagosa Trail, Suttons Bay — Consolidating households. Includes kitchen items, artwork, small appliances, housewares and much more. The days were correct, but the dates were incorrectly listed in this week’s paper.

 Northport Moving Sale! — Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 10880 Melkild Rd. (Third St.) — All quality items must go! Furniture, freezer, snowblower and household goods.

 Garage Sale — Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 337 First St., Suttons Bay — Retired and getting rid of stuff. Lots of give-aways.

 Yard Sale — Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 323 South Shore Dr., Northport — 14-foot row boat, reels, antique highchair, tools, clothes, books, Clinique, jewelry, purses, plus so much more.

 Three Family Yard Sale — Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — 2151 S. Lakeshore Dr., Lake Leelanau — Antiques and housewares. The dates were correct. but the days were incorrectly listed in this week’s paper.

 “MAN’S” Yard Sale — Friday, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 799 N. Sunset Shores, Lake Leelanau — Cement mixer, Sea- Doos, Karaoke system, decking boards, Scuba gear, windsurfer, kayak, camping equipment, tools, insulation and more.

Antiques and old things — Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 6895 E. Birch Point Rd., Traverse City — Furniture, dishes, collectibles, upcycled furniture, tools and more. Everything must go.

 Store Inventory & Garage Sale — Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 211 E. Oak St., Leland.

 Estate Sale — Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Unit 34, Glen Lake Storage, 12777 Benzonia Trail, Empire.

 Suttons Bay Yard Sale — Saturday at 8 a.m., 204 First St., Suttons Bay — Awesome toys, costumes, books and other treasures. Child is selling things to pay for camp.

 Moving Sale — Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5724 E. Duck Lake Rd., Lake Leelanau — Furniture, home decor, baby clothes, kitchen items and more.

 Huge Garage Sale — Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 228 S. Herman Rd.Suttons Bay — Generator, freezer, space heater, lawn roller, remote control plane and much more.

 Four family garage sale — Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7701 N. Gill’s Pier Rd., Northport — Moving and downsizing. Many items!

 Provemont Pickers — 10:30 a.m .to 4 p.m., 209 St. Mary. St., Lake Leelanau — Outdoor market.

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