Flea market aims to support nonprofits

SARANAC LAKE — Faced with downsizing her family’s home, Beth Gallagher of Piece By Piece Quilt Shop found herself with more stuff than she could handle.

Her father, former Harrietstown Councilman and Supervisor Bill Gallagher, passed away in 2010. For her mother, Thomasina, the house where she had raised seven children had gotten to be too much to look after.

“After 55 years in one home, you collect a lot of things,” Beth said.

The house where she and her siblings grew up on Park Avenue went on the market this summer, but the family was surprised by how quickly it sold and how suddenly the new owners closed on it. Thomasina had previously moved to Saranac Village at Will Rogers, and the family held a garage sale. That still left a storage unit and more places full of stuff.

So Beth came up with an idea that would be in keeping with her family’s values. In a statement to the Saranac Lake village board, she wrote, “Despite my mother selecting her favorites from the house, then the children and grandchildren and a huge garage sale, we are still left with many items and some things that will be hard to let go but it’s time. … We could have had another garage sale out of a cold storage container and given the proceeds to Hospice or another charity but of the many other locations where things are currently stored, it would not be possible. So the idea grew out of necessity. It went from, ‘How can we manage this?’ to why not use this as an opportunity to benefit the community?”

She decided to use her family’s items as the anchor for a community flea market Oct. 28 and 29 at the Harrietstown Town Hall downtown.

“This is our family’s way of giving back,” she wrote. Citing her father’s good works in the community as an inspiration, she said it’s an idea he would support. “It goes back to having a lot of faith and doing a lot of work.

“We needed a rain-or-shine downtown venue like the town hall where not-for-profits can raise money for their cause and in the end help others and hopefully inspire others in the future. My mother is on board; as she puts it, “Okay, as long as it doesn’t require us to bake bread.” … My father was constantly baking loaves upon loaves of bread and rolls for fundraisers.”

Beth approached town officials, who approved the use of the town hall for a community flea market on the last weekend in October.

She hopes the event will benefit the community in many ways.

“It gives people who can’t afford to pay for full membership to an organization or may not have the time to volunteer [an opportunity to] support organizations by buying something,” she said. “As a small business owner and member of Saranac Lake ArtWorks, I see the potential for businesses to gain from this event, too. It can draw people not only from our community but the surrounding area and tourists.”

Participating nonprofits so far include North County Life Flight, Homeward Bound Adirondacks, Tri-Lakes Humane Society, Women’s Civic Chamber, BluSeed Studios and Boy Scouts Troop 12.

Gallagher promises that even if you don’t have a lot of stuff to sell, her family can take up the slack.

“We have enough things that, even if you only have 10 items, there will be enough to sell.”


What: It Takes a Village Flea Market

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29

Where: Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St., Saranac Lake

How much: free admission, free for nonprofit groups to participate

Contact: Beth Gallagher, beth@piecebypiecestudio.com, 518-569-7227.