By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Lauren Shanks scanned jewelry arrayed on a display stand outside Shutters Cottage Home on River Road in Fair Haven Saturday afternoon hoping she’d spot a bargain the second, perhaps, of the day for the Lincroft resident.
Just minutes earlier, she’d come across an unlikely steal: a birdcage.
“I’m finding a lot of good stuff,” Shanks said.
Down the street in a not-so-conspicuous location, on Lake Avenue, Mike Sena marveled at how well his items were moving as he offloaded a number of vintage rugs, handmade aprons, “tchotchke stuff” and, somewhat surprisingly, birdcages.
“She probably got it here,” Sena said of Shanks’s serendipitous purchase.
In essence, that’s what Fair Haven’s town-wide yard and sidewalk sale was there for: a far-reaching rialto, where residents could set out their extras and others could drop in, hand over cash and move on to the next find in a day-long exercise in small-town retailing.
When the borough introduced the event last year, the intent was to, in a small way, push back against eBay and keep local dollars within local borders. So far, it’s manifested that simple notion, with hundreds of households and dozens of businesses participating in the annual event.
Brian Fay, who lives on Hance Road and had a surplus of desks, chairs and assorted furniture, was stunned at the demand Saturday, as people started pulling up hours before the official start of the sale.
“I heard a bunch of noise at 7:30 in the morning and I was like, oh my God, they’re ready,” he said.
By early afternoon, he’d made $250 from familiar faces.
“Most of the stuff my neighbors bought,” Fay said.
Even the erstwhile locals made an appearance for the sale.
James Weil, who grew up in Rumson and now lives in New York, sat outside River Road Books promoting his debut novel, Swiss Chocolate, a story that, while set in the Swiss Alps, has lots of ink about the Rumson-Fair Haven area.
“I’m a local,” he said. “I figured people might be interested to see what local people have done.”
Sales were not earth-shattering for Weil, but the exposure was a good start, he said.
And, as Sena pointed out, the first go-round at the yard sale doesn’t portend the next one.
“We did terrible last year. That’s basically because we had junk,” he said. “But this year we’ve got a lot of good stuff.”