Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT - Though Labor Day Weekend will be looking a lot different for Mt. Pleasant this year, local businesses and residents are forging ahead with their annual garage and sidewalk sales.
Traditionally, garage sales are held the weekend prior to the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion. Though the five-day event is canceled, the smaller pop-up sales are slated to take place Aug. 27 through Aug. 29.
'We had a lot of people asking if it would go on and if it's something we could host. Since we're not having everybody in one location, we decided to go ahead with that tradition,” Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance Executive Vice President Kristi Perry said.
The Chamber is working with residents and businesses to make the tradition a more collaborative event and is the first time the nonprofit has been involved with the sales.
'In years past, we've had people call and ask us where the garage sales are, and we would just tell them to drive around town,” Perry added.
To help customers locate sales a little easier, the Chamber is asking residents to submit the location and hours of their sales, which will be displayed on a flier. There is no charge to be listed in the flier.
Perry said businesses have noted that good garage sales usually bring good business to retailers in the area. With the loss of business due to the pandemic, the garage and sidewalk sales will be an opportunity for local businesses to see some traffic, even in light of the Reunion's cancellation.
'The garage sales and retailers are tied together. We also want to remind people to come down to the stores. We're holding a citywide shop local campaign. Hopefully people get out that weekend,” she said.
'We can't all be together, but if we spread out around town, we can still have a really good time.”
Tara Mullin, owner of Brown's Shoe Fit in downtown, said her store usually does sidewalk sales in July but is excited to participate in the citywide garage sales this year.
'Without Old Threshers, which brought a lot of income, we wanted to do something to make up for it. A lot of the workforce was affected by it,” Mullin said.
She added the event is a big economic driver, not only for Mt. Pleasant but surrounding towns as well.
With the pandemic and fewer people going out to shop, the store owner said customers will probably get to snag deals they didn't expect at the sale.
'You're going to see deals sooner than you were expecting. We've got a lot of retailers sitting on products that they've got to move,” she said.
Though Mullin will miss the usual excitement, fun and steam engine smell that comes with Old Threshers, she's excited to see the city move forward with the weekend event and hopes it brings more positivity to the area.
'We're trying to make up what we're losing, but we have to do what we have to do to be safe,” she added.
The Chamber hopes to advertise the weekend of sales to all of southeast Iowa and hopes people will come to town to participate and shop. As further incentive to get out, the Chamber will be holding drawings throughout the day.
'We all know not having Old Threshers is very difficult on retailers. It's hard on people in town. They will miss the event so much, but we understand why they couldn't move forward. We want to keep residents and visitors safe and … we can have a good weekend,” Perry said.