On Saturday May 5th, at least a 100 shoppers were lined up at the corner of Jarvis and Carlton anxiously waiting for the doors to open to the highly anticipated annual rummage sale “Hiigelbasaar”at St Andrew’s Church.
More than a few shoppers were surprised when they made a beeline for their favourite departments. Regulars who headed for the second floor, where the clothing had been for 17 years, were somewhat perplexed when instead of finding something to wear they found kitchenware and giftware. “Where are the clothes?” was the oft-repeated question and “sorry, no clothes this year” the oft-repeated answer. Fortunately, the HB volunteers were fast on their feet and persuaded shoppers that they were more in need of pots and pans than shirts and skirts.
And shoppers in search of glassware and dishes were also in for a surprise when they arrived at that department’s usual spot. Instead they found a much expanded and meticulously laid out Esto Boutique! For all the world like a quaint little handicrafts shop straight from old town Tallinn. The volunteers in charge of Esto Boutique took full advantage of the new marketing opportunities afforded by the boutique’s new location to increase their sales from $950 last year to $1,500 this year.
And Esto Boutique is the only department that keeps on earning for AKEN all year long. Esto Boutique’s head honcho Rutt Veskimets can frequently be found flailing her wares at various Estonian functions and gatherings at the Estonian House, at Seedrioru and at Kotkajärve.
So where had the glassware and dishes been relocated? Upstairs, merged with the Boutique to form a newly formed department with the fancy name of “Crystal Palace”! Anne Meema and Tiina Lipp successfully merged their two departments, which together brought in the nice tidy little sum of $2,700.
But one thing is for sure - nobody messes with the location of the café! Nor do you mess with tired shoppers and hungry volunteers, when they are in dire need of refreshments. For the 18th straight year, Irja Mägi’s coterie of bakers managed to deliver the goods. And, as usual, the goods were more than good, they were exquisite! $1,700. worth of exquisite! And, as usual, sold out!
Shoppers were, however, faced with another unexpected change this year – a shortened sales day from 3 p.m. to 1 p.m. The reason? The organization scheduled to pick up the surplus unsold goods after the sale, advised that they could send a truck to pick up the goods no later than 1 p.m. The other option sounded less appealing. ”If we end the sale at 3 pm, we have to hire a truck ourselves, load it ourselves, drive it ourselves and unload it – somewhere - ourselves ” advised HB XVIII coordinators Helle Arro and Maaja Matsoo.
At the unprecedented early hour of 4:30, the church halls were again in tip-top shape and the traditional feast of sauerkraut soup, black bread, beer and kringel had been devoured by the hungry hordes of workers. The volunteers were grateful for an early night and the general feeling was that the 1 o’clock closing is here to stay.
This year’s shortened and downsized version of Hiigelbasaar brought in a total of $13,500! From the organizing committee AKEN - a heartfelt thank you to the donors and to the volunteers for a job well done! Phew!
Ellen Leivat, AKEN committee
Something different about Hiigelbasaar XVIII!