April 18, 2014

EDITORIAL: Citywide garage sale matches entrepreneurs with customers

Once again, the citywide garage sale drew hundreds, if not thousands of people to our community last weekend.

The streets teamed with bargain hunters and vendors. There were entrepreneurs from

Audrey Hamilton, 10, and Cortlyn Tryon, 11, sold baked goods and lemonade as their families hosted garage sales. The pair wasn’t sure what they’d purchase with their profits.

organizations seeking to raise funds for civic projects and corner lemonade stands. The citywide garage brought out the best that is capitalism.

In between, business owners in Gardner probably realized a spike in sales. Many shoppers – from in and out of town - stopped at a local restaurants and convenience stores for a quick bite to eat and to gas up.

The sale showcased the community’s people and its citizens. And the most amazing part? The showcase occurred without the intervention of city hall.

The citywide sale needed no additional tax dollars for colorful taxpayer-paid brochures; It needs no time from city employees issuing permits, or the city council issuing proclamations.

It exists because yesterday’s volunteer groups – such as former Gardner Chamber members - and downtown business merchants once wanted to bring more people into Gardner. Although the chamber apparently no longer sponsors the event, and the Downtown Merchants Association is largely defunct, one of their greatest accomplishments still exists thanks to business owners in other parts of the community who picked up where they left off.

Prior volunteers, and those who currently put the sale together, didn’t request thousands of dollars from the city to bring people into town; they are not funded by the city as is the present-day chamber.

There’s a lesson to be learned from the citywide garage sale: Where there’s a need, people will step in and fill it, but only if the government steps out of the way and allows them to work.

Congratulations to citywide garage sale organizers, and those who participated, for another successful year. Although your individual efforts largely go unsung, we appreciate the work you put into the annual sale event.

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