Community Day of Deals

Organizers of new fundraiser want a shopping bonanza

It was one of those “sitting around the table, talking, thinking, brainstorming” ideas -- a group of community and charity-minded women wondering to each other: “What if we…”

And so it was born: Community Day of Deals, a brand-new fundraiser for a host of charities that organizers are so excited about, so confident of its staying power that they’re trade-marking the logo.

The inaugural Community Day of Deals is set for 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, at The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson Buell.

The “Day” is a combination garage sale, sidewalk sale and craft sale. It aims to pull in businesses, artisans, craftspeople and just plain folks with items to sell.

One of the trio that sat and pondered a new idea for a fundraiser is Fran Leonard. She explains how the Community Day of Deals will work:

Vendors -- up to 50 the first year -- pay a $10 entry fee and set up shop at The Shed on Nov. 14. From what they sell, they agree to donate 25 percent to their favorite charity, school, church or other non-profit. If they are, themselves, a charity, 100 percent of the money raised will go to them.

Vendors can be businesses -- Razberries and Dandy Lions have already signed up. Or they can be people with “gently-used” garage sale-type items to sell. Or they can be artists, crafters and bakers coming to sell their originals, their crafts or their baked goods.

Leonard shared how the idea came about recently. “It is really what we hope to be Maryville’s version of Knoxville’s ‘Bag a Bargain.’ We would love to see it become an annual event. It’s for the community where the vendors agree to give at least 25 percent of their proceeds that day to their favorite school, church or not-for-profit organization of choice,” she said.

“Our thought is that it gives everyone the advantage. We want it to be a win-win situation for the whole community. It’s a chance for people to come together under a large covered area with abundant parking and great accessibility,” she said. “It will be a fun day where we focus on recycling with gently used item plus the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts and see local artisans. It’s going to be a fun, eclectic day.”

The concept came about as Leonard, Kristi Stephens and Shanda Keller were discussing fundraising ideas. “We quickly realized this could morph into something for the entire community. Then Sue Kiefer, Debbie, Joy and Kristi Burkhalter got on board so quickly,” Leonard said.

Leonard said the event will also allow individuals or businesses looking for exposure to get that while at the same time giving to a good cause.

“Mary Bristol graciously donated her artistic ability in helping us create our logo,” said Leonard. “We’re getting it trademarked.”

Leonard said the whole focus is for the community to come together to find great prices -- “Deals” -- while at the same time helping charity. While each vendor is asked to give at least 25 percent of proceeds to their favorite not-for-profit organization, school or church, there are some not-for-profits that will donate all of their proceeds. New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center will participate, as will the Blount County Education Foundation.

Word is spreading quick about the event, and vendors are signing up. “We’ve not really advertised this, and we already have 20 vendors,” she said. Vendor requests should be submitted by Friday, Oct. 30.

Leonard said shoppers will find many things they probably would see in stores. “They can find unique items and may also find gently-used items and good deals on winter clothes for their children or themselves,” she said.

Leonard said the individuals on the committee putting together the event are excited about the timing for Community Day of Deals. “We love the fact that it is at this time of year. It’s not quite as hectic with sports. It’s sort of between the sport seasons, right before Christmas,” she said. “We feel it’s a great time of year.”

Each 10-foot-by-10-foot sale area is $10. “Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson has been marvelous to work with, and we really appreciate that,” she said. “The $10 simply goes to cost to have the pavilion, and the cost of some advertisement.”

When individuals apply, they pay the $10 fee and also agree who their charity, church or school is that will be getting 25 percent of their proceeds.

For more information, email questions to dayofdeals@bellsouth.net or call 865-414-7162.

Organizers for the event include Kristi Stephens, Sue Kiefer, Debbie Covington, Joy Bishop, Kristi Burkhalter, Shanda Keller, Becky Rials, Linda and Bryan Carraway, Chris and Fran Leonard.

Vendors to date for Community Day of Deals include: Razberries, White Fox Bead Studio, New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center, Kristi Stephens, Fran Leonard, Madeline Leonard, Joy Bishop, Blount County Education Foundation, Oh So Chic, Debbie Covington, Dandy Lions, Union Grove Elementary School, Alice Johnston’s Alliance for Youth Achievement - through Fairview United Methodist Church, Jamey Blair, Maryville Intermediate PTC and Relay for Life.

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