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On Saturday, Liz Stubelt ends a 13-year run in the role of Trinity Treasures director.
Laker Weekly | File
Liz Stubelt (right in witch's hat) directs the waiting throng of bargain-hunters at the annual Trinity Treasures flea market/yard sale at Trinity Ecumenical Parish.
Friday, October 4, 2013
As head of the annual Trinity Treasures flea market/yard sale, Liz Stubelt wears many hats.
In addition to overseeing the entire operation, she directs hundreds of volunteers, fills in where needed, helps set and negotiate prices and makes sure the leftovers are dispersed at the end of the day.
Her favorite hat, which is black, has a wide brim and comes to a point at the top, is the one that draws the most attention during the annual Trinity Treasures, which Stubelt called a “glorified, quality yard sale” at Trinity Ecumenical Parish in Moneta.
For 13 years, Stubelt has served as the sale’s director and witch-in-residence.
“The witch is in charge of all aspects [of the sale], but she really shines during the sale,” Stubelt said.
Dressing in costume, she explained, started as a way to identify the workers during the sale.
“Connie Canova was in charge prior to my doing it. She’s the one who said that everybody needed to wear a funny hat,” Stubelt recalled. “I wore a witch’s hat, and everybody commented on it.”
A character and a hobby were born. Stubelt, who obviously enjoys playing the part and refers to the witch in third person, started collecting witches, many of which she discovered among the thousands of items at Trinity Treasures.
The sale, which was moved this year from the second Saturday in October to the first to avoid conflict with the SML Charity Home Tour, officially begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
But, warned the witch, if you want the best selection, head over to the church about daybreak.
“It’s like a row of ants coming in,” Stubelt said of the bargain-hunters. “Once those doors are open, it’s like a swarm. They are everywhere inside.”
Inside and outside, an assortment of odds and ends, from baked goods to plants to holiday items, are divided into sections and manned by department heads. The treasures fill all the rooms at Trinity. Every table, every space is utilized, she said.
The sale gets a boost from parishioners who clean out in the fall, according to Stubelt. She sends out a team, one on each side of the lake, to pick up the donations. Proceeds go to the church and local charities, she said.
The most money raised from Trinity Treasures in a single year: between $38,000 and $39,000. Items that don’t sell are donated to the Salvation Army and other nonprofits. The Franklin County Library gets the leftover books. Nothing is saved for next year or “over-wintered,” as Stubelt calls it.
Stubelt said she tries to switch things up to make the sale fresh and keep the customers coming. One year, she added a plant sale. This year, for the first time, there will be a silent auction.
“A big part of any of these things is the hunt — the hunt to find something that you didn’t even think you needed, but all of a sudden realize you need it,” said Stubelt.
One year a treasure hunter apparently needed a naked statue.
“We really debated if we were even going to put it out,” Stubelt recalled.
She solved the lack-of-clothing problem by taking scarves and fashioning a cover-up for the 2-foot-tall statue.
It sold for about $35.
“It was very nice,” Stubelt said.
As the day winds down, prices are lowered. Unsold items are marked to half of the original asking price.
That happens, said Stubelt, “when the witch has that feeling ... that special tug when she knows it’s time to go half price.”
To help clear out the unsold, shoppers are allowed to buy a suitcase and fill it with anything they can get in it. That happens near the end of the day, and according to Stubelt, really gets things moving.
Speaking of moving, the witch, 73, and her husband, Dennis, are planning to do just that after 15 years at the lake. Stubelt said the couple plan to put their house on the market in the spring in hopes of settling near their children. This year will be the witch’s finale.
Stubelt, who served as artistic director for Lakeside Singers from 2000 until 2009, said she will miss the friendships she’s developed while working her magic. She won’t miss having to move the residuals and clean up in time for church services on Sunday.
“That’s the challenge,” she said.
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