Thousands of quality kids’ books, clothes, and toys will be sold at discounted rates in Alexandria over the next two weekends.
The Fairfax branch of Just Between Friends started in 2015 when a group of moms got together to buy and sell gently used items that their kids had outgrown. It was a win-win: the moms selling made a little cash and the moms buying got a bargain. A year later, one of those original moms, Ashley Laurenceau, is heading up a huge event that stretches over two weekends and takes over an old furniture gallery at the Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia.
The facility is 18,000 square foot, and there will be well over 50,000 items for sale, at a 50 to 90 percent discount off their original price. “Basically,” Ashley told Washington Life, “if a kid uses it, we have it.” That means clothing, books, toys, DVDs, puzzles, games, baby equipment, sporting goods, nursery furniture, bicycles, and the plethora of things a newborn needs: monitors, kids’ decor, bedding, pack ‘n’ plays.
It’s not just quantity, though. The emphasis is firmly on the new and nearly-new and the items are all quality-controlled, too. A team carefully checks products which are being sold, and Just Between Friends pay a full-time safety and recalls specialist to go through them and pull out those that were recalled, based on a huge file carefully gathered and compiled. JBF events are the only consignment event that does so. “We’ve put a little more priority on that than others do,” Ashley says. “It’s something that’s important to us. And there are so many recalls every year that it’s hard for the average person to keep up with it, which is why we pay somebody full-time to keep up with it for us.”
Aside from the safety specialist, though, the event is entirely run by volunteers. According to Ashley, it’s fun, and they have a good time. But aside from that, it’s also a worthy cause: most consignors donate their unsold items to JBF’s charity partners. After their last event, 5,000 items were given to Northern Virginia Familiy Services, who care for families in need: foster kids waiting for adoption, and children living below the poverty line – of whom there are far more in Fairfax County and Alexandria than one might expect. “I’ve never had a pair of roller skates!” one girl exclaimed in delight. Instead of clothes and toys languishing and taking up space in attic bins, they are dusted off to bring pleasure to a new generation: yet more win-win.
The JBF Eastern Fairfax Kids’ Sale opens to teachers, military families, first responder families and nurses at 10.30 am on Saturday May 14th, and to the general public from noon to 6 pm, as well as on Sunday May 15th from noon to 4 pm, on Friday 20th from noon to 6 pm, and on Saturday 21st from 10 am to 2 pm. More information is available here.