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Endless Yard Sale boosts businesses

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Lisa Howell looks various items on a table along U.S. 301 near Carpetland in Rocky Mount on Saturday during the 301 Endless Yard Sale.

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By COREY DAVIS
Staff Writer

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The U.S. 301 Endless Yard Sale has been a godsend for local business owner Shannon Williford.

Williford, who has owned the Purple Petal on 1100 S. Wesleyan Blvd. since October 2013, particpated in the 2017 version of the two-day weekend event for the fourth straight year. While Williford’s Purple Petal is a retail store selling merchandise throughout the week, she acknowledged the yard sale is a huge boost for business.

“We see about an 80 percent increase in sales, and we get the items for the yard sale by doing storage facility sales and estate sales,” Williford said. “It’s a double combo thing for us this weekend also because of our regular retail or merchandise business in the store. The yard sale really increases our business exponentially.”

Along with the Endless Yard Sale, Purple Petal holds a fall and spring open house — two other major events that increases sales for the business. Nonetheless, Williford said what makes the event so unique is the vast amount of outside people or travelers coming from different states.

Event officials said the concept of the yard sale is to attract visitors from a 300-mile radius and off the interstates to local areas along the U.S. 301 corridor. Williford said over the two-day event there were people traveling from places such as West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and South Dakota, who stopped through to buy antiques, glassware, old tools, clothing and other junk items.

“It was amazing to know where people were coming from, and most people indicated this was their first biggest stop along U.S. 301,” Williford said. “With there being different ones (yard sales), I think people like shopping at a larger venue with a bigger spread and can see more variety.”

The showcase event for Eastern North Carolina has been around for five years. The U.S. 301 Endless Yard Sale was patterned after the long-established U.S. 127 Corridor Sale, which is known as the world’s largest yard sale headquartered in Tennessee and runs for 690 miles across other states. 

Johnston County was the site of the first U.S. 301 Endless Yard Sale, which stretched 30 miles from Kenly to Benson. The event is now a 100-mile route through five counties, including Nash County and passing through Rocky Mount, Wilson and Halifax County. 

Tony Hall from Roanoke Rapids said the yard sale is another way to support the local community, while also supporting and buying from local people. Hall put his money where is mouth by spending nearly $50 on items consisting old Santa Claus collectible figurines, Peanut characters figurines, including his favorite “Snoopy,” vintage cufflinks and vintage vinyl records.

“I love a yard sale, and I think the appeal for why so many people come out is trying to hunt and find those hidden treasures,” Hall said. “Also, we all want to get something good for a bargain.”

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