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Garage sales make a delayed comeback


June 12, 2020

Every March, Linda Luomala and her garage sale buddies usually host a sale at The Jack bar in downtown Cloquet. Except this year. Their March sale got bumped by the coronavirus and the governor's order to shut down nonessential businesses, including bars. They finally rescheduled for June 20, three months later. On the bright side, the delay gave them more time to weed through their possessions, and now they can hold their sale inside or outside the Cloquet Avenue bar, depending on the weather.

Yep, it's that time of year again. Spring in northern Minnesota. The lilacs are blooming and so are garage sale signs. Although the pandemic delayed the start of the season, conditions look good for lots of sales now, since the state is slowly loosening restrictions on gatherings as long as they follow recommended guidelines.

Although they had several people stop by last Friday, Linda and Emmy Miller and Brigette Larson weren't worried about numbers at their sale on Hawthorne Street.

"People come and go, they're not going to stick around for a rummage sale," Emmy said. "They're gonna go find another one."

"I support rummage sales because you can do the social distancing, and you're outside," said Naomi Williams, after stopping to shop with her husband Dan. "We have a daughter who has asthma, so she's at higher risk (if she gets COVID-19) so we really do support the social distancing. If people can do it (hold sales) responsibly, then more power to them."

Cloquet city administrator Tim Peterson said he simply wants people to follow the guidelines set by the governor when they hold and attend rummage sales. Although the "Stay Safe MN" plan doesn't appear to specifically address yard sales, starting Wednesday indoor social gatherings with up to 10 people and outdoor gatherings with up to 25 people were allowed.

"We hope people are staying safe in all of their activities and ask that they follow social distancing and group gatherings size limits set by Governor Walz," Peterson said.

Williams said people who don't want to follow guidelines need to realize that they could harm other people, not just themselves, even at a garage sale. Studies have shown that not all people who are infected with COVID-19 are symptomatic or even realize they have the disease.

"I want people to understand that they need to not just think about themselves, but think about others too and their circumstances," Williams said. "Even at work there were people who weren't on the side of social distancing but they weren't thinking about passing it to others."

With both Cloquet thrift stores out of business, Naomi and Dan said they will be visiting more garage sales in the coming days.

"The 22-year-old just got her own place, so we're trying to help her out," Dan said. They also have a teenager at home and a 1-year-old grandchild that they like to shop for.

Naomi showed off a like-new camera she bought for daughter Jaydelyn, who turned 16 last week, while Dan happily reported that they'd scored a table and chairs for their 22-year-old.


Cloquet sales sign rules

Garage sale signs in Cloquet may be posted for a maximum of three days for each sale, and cannot be larger than 3 square-feet. Signs cannot be placed in the public right of way or any sidewalk, center medians or driveway medians. You must have a property owner's permission to place signs outside your property. The city will also display rummage sale notices inside its display case on Cloquet Avenue near US Bank for one week. Drop ads off at City Hall by 11 a.m. Friday, at least a week before the sale. Pine Knot News subscribers get one free classified ad per year - call 218-878-9332 and use yours to advertise your upcoming sale in the paper and/or online.


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