NW’s Largest Garage, Vintage Sale returns to fairgrounds

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Vendors will set up their booths full of antiques, clothing and furniture for the first time since November 2019 as the Northwest’s Largest Garage and Vintage Sale returns this weekend.

All of the indoor booth spaces are already sold out. There will be over 600 vendors for this month’s sale, said event founder and organizer Kim Buffum.

“It’s definitely shaping up to be the largest July sale we’ve ever had,” Buffum said.

In April 2020, the vendors were lined up and advertisements were ready to go, but Buffum received word she couldn’t move forward with the event three weeks before it was scheduled because of the pandemic. 

Buffum offered the vendors a $60 credit to use toward a future sale.

We just never thought that we would ever have to cancel a sale,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t do anything because I was just sick about having to cancel.”

The Buffums organize three sales a year in April, July and November.

Buffum became overwhelmed with excitement when she sent an email to the vendors saying the July sale received the green light from Clark County Fairgrounds officials.

The type of vendors vary greatly. Some are trying to make extra cash for their families, while others run vintage shops and some are trying to clean out their closets.

“(The vendors) have had the last year and a half to start cleaning out their closets and garages,” Buffum said. “A lot of people have been calling to say they need more space because they’ve been cleaning so much.”

From a shopper’s perspective, the event allows them to save money on essential items, like clothing, but also for other objects, like vintage appliances and jewelry.

Buffum’s husband, David, spent his childhood attending swap meets every weekend in southern California. When he moved to the Pacific Northwest, he noticed there were hardly any sales, mostly because of the unpredictable weather.

Then in 2008 when the economy crashed, the Buffums were brainstorming ideas for a business. That’s when David said they should try putting on a huge garage sale.

“You’re crazy. There’s no way,” responded Kim at that time. 

David contacted the Portland Expo Center and was met with uncertainty from the center’s employees, but the couple was able to rent out part of the facility. To Kim’s surprise, the first sale sold out of vendor spaces and more than a 1,000 people came to shop.

The sale was called Portland’s Largest Garage and Vintage Sale before the event moved to the Clark County Fairgrounds to be closer to where the Buffums live in Vancouver.

Twelve years later, the NW’s Largest Garage and Vintage Sale draws in hundreds of vendors and thousands of attendees.

The Buffums, who have been married for 33 years, raised two daughters together. When their kids still lived at home, their daughters would help with the sales.

Their oldest daughter Amanda had just started dating her boyfriend for about a month before one of the garage sales. She invited him to help with the event.

“He told her later on, ‘I knew that I loved you the day that we were working at your parents’ sale because of how hard you work and the closeness that I saw with your parents,’” Kim said.

Amanda Cline and her husband have been married for 10 years and have three children.

“When the grandkids get older, we’ll have them working the sale one day,” she said.

Tickets are $7 per person or $20 for an early bird ticket. Children 12 and under are admitted for free.

The sale is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 24 at the Clark County Fairgrounds and Event
Center, 17402 NE Delfel Road.

People with early bird tickets will be able to enter the center at 7 a.m.

For more information, visit the NW’s website at nwgsales.com.

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