Bargain Hunting

National U.S. Hwy. 50 Yard Sale’s
roots lie in Jennings County

Sale to offer three-day
economic boost to surrounding area

By Laura Goodwin
Contributing Writer

(May 2011) – Bargain boulevard. Deal drive. Savings Street. U.S. Hwy. 50 holds a nationwide event every year that encompasses a part of Jennings County, Ind. It is an event that is formally known as the “Coast-to-Coast Yard Sale.”
This event began in 2000 in North Vernon and since has grown to encompass states from Maryland to California, following U.S. Hwy 50, literally, from coast to coast. It spreads across communities, farm land, deserts, mountains – anywhere U.S. Hwy. 50 runs. While the goal is to have vendors every half mile, some of the remote stretches of the highway prevent that. Tom Taylor of North Vernon is the national coordinator and creator of the event.
A sale this large always seems to attract media attention. Covered by television, radio and print media, its most notable coverage was by the Washington Post several years ago. “We had half of Section A3,” Taylor said.
Taylor summarized the current status of the sale, saying, “The sale is, in theory, over 3,000 miles long. In our section of Indiana we usually have a good stretch from Versailles to Brownstown. I know of places in Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, Colorado, Nevada, etc., where the sale is also large. Given that U.S. Hwy. 50 crosses mountains and deserts, it will never be a true coast to coast sale with vendors every half mile. Still, we continue to grow and do have broad national participation.”
Taylor estimates that there are more than 300 sales in the local area, covering about 25 miles of U.S. Hwy. 50 in Jennings County.
Individuals wanting to participate in the sale but are not from the area can contact businesses such as Rocky Top Truck Stop in Hayden, Ind., or Goins Auction Service in Butlerville to rent temporary space. Becky Goins, of the auction service, said they rent spaces in their business parking lot to individuals. “We set up to sell, too, but we have a big parking lot with easy on and off access to the road.” She included that Rocky Top offers the same service, with Goins being on one end of North Vernon, and the truck stop on the other.
According to Taylor, the impact on tourism and the local economy is two-fold. “I would estimate $200,000 in direct sales, but note that much of this money is then spent the following week in local stores. I do not have a formula as to how a single dollar translates into a figure for local economic impact as it transfers through hands, but have many anecdotal stories of how folks make money and then spend it locally.”
The 12th annual sale will run from May 20-22. Taylor said that times of day of the sale vary, according to individuals and their schedules. Whatever a person might be seeking is what is possible to find at the sale. According to the sale’s website, items for sale are only “limited to the imagination.” Taylor said cars and property can even be found for sale during the event.

• For more information, visit: www.Route50.com.

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