Attack of the bargain shopper in Vail Valley |

Attack of the bargain shopper in Vail Valley

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique TaylorPatryk Morzyszek, left, shows Mark Cavitt, right, the best thinghis prize item found, a "spacegun from the future" Saturday at the annual Vail Valley rummage sale at Maloit Park in Minturn, Colorado. The sale continues through Sunday and then again next weekend.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – You have to go to the Vail Valley rummage sale with a list – a premeditated plan of attack for each room full of bargain-priced items.

That’s what Lisa Roberts has been doing for 15 years now. She starts making her list in September and adds to it throughout the year.

Everything at the Minturn Rummage Auction and Sale was once somebody’s junk – the items are all donated throughout the year to the Eagle Valley Community Fund, the organization that hosts the auction and donates its proceeds – in the neighborhood of $250,000 each year – to nonprofits throughout the valley.

People from all over the state were there at the crack of dawn Saturday to find everything from kids’ ski gear to paintings to electronics to books. Some brought their own shopping bags to fill, while others bought garbage bags at the Sale for a quarter.

Roberts, who drives in from Grand Junction with her family and several friends every year, makes a whole weekend out of it. She camps nearby for two nights and gets to the sale as early as she can. She said she’s been the first person in line more than once.

“I got here at 10 to six this morning, I was slacking this year,” she said.

Roberts will shop the Sale in three waves, spending an average of $100 per wave, she said. By 8 a.m. Saturday, she already found some nice turtleneck shirts and sweaters and also a like-new coffee maker.

Across the hall from where Roberts was digging for turtlenecks is the book room – an organized miniature library with every category of books imaginable. Paul Kuzniar, a Rummage Sale volunteer who runs the book room, said business was good, but he suspected the recession means people would be spending their discretionary dollars on things other than books.

Over in the clothing area, Jessica Mevin, 20, and her sister Mikaela, 16, were sitting on the floor digging through bins of shirts. They had garbage bags by their sides, filling them up as they found what they wanted.

“Everyone thinks I’m crazy,” Jessica Mevin said.

The sisters used to live in the valley and have been coming to the sale for years. Jessica Mevin now lives in Boulder and Mikaela lives in Denver – the girls drove up Friday night to make sure they’d get to the Rummage Sale when it opened.

“You can find name brand stuff if you look,” Mikaela Mevin said.

Tracy Vanvleet wasn’t necessarily looking for brand names, but she was looking for something specific – size double zero jeans for her 11-year-old daughter Ashley. The Vanvleets live on the Western Slope and have been coming to the Rummage Sale for seven years. Ashley has outgrown kids’ sizes at 5-foot-2, so the mother and daughter were on a mission for jeans and had already found several pairs early in the morning.

While some were on missions, others just browsed aimlessly – like Pat Morzyszek, a local man who ended up buying what he said looked like “a space gun from the future.”

It was really just a retro-looking auto mechanic tool, but he just had to have it.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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