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Treasure trove of bargains awaits

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 21/05) - At a time of year when buying clothes or toys on a budget can wilt under the Christmas shopping pressures to get the newest and latest, the St. Patrick Parish Flea Market acts as a calming backwater in a sea of consumer-mad spending.

The flea market certainly has its devotees, no matter what the season.

People were stopping Theresa Reid on the street earlier this fall when the St. Pat's flea market didn't open on schedule as it has for decades.

"And they would also phone me asking me when we would be open," Reid, the organizer of the popular flea market said.

"Even the Salvation Army called asking when we would be open because they had nowhere to put the donations," she said of the massive amounts of donated items which kept pouring in.

The church hall underwent extensive renovations this fall, causing a delay in the opening of the flea market which has been a mainstay in the community for at least 26 years.

A new ceiling with lighting was installed, the hall was painted and new flooring was put down in the kitchen and bathroom.

For Reid, it meant emptying the hall and packing up all the clothes, books, toys and gadgets galore and temporarily storing them.

Reid said mid-October was a happy time for the throngs of Yellowknife bargain shoppers.

"That weekend was busy," Reid laughed, throwing up her hands.

"It was steady all day. We had four or five people on the floor volunteering," Reid said.

Today, the hall is again filled to capacity.

Walking through the door, one is greeted with tables laden with stuffed animals and toys - a child's and a shopper's dream.

Clothes, books, glassware and other trinkets fill the remainder of the large hall.

But Reid does not expect a Christmas rush before the flea market closes down for the season.

"We've been busy for months," she said of the continuous flow of bargain shoppers.

People never tire of picking around items looking for a few treasures, she said of the ongoing popularity of the flea market.

And as for Reid, she never tires of the day-to-day volunteer work she does at the flea market.

"I love it and I love to do it. It keeps me busy," Reid said. "I'm retired and they say when you are retired you are more busy."