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Just Between Friends Ann Arbor sale returns this month with new safety procedures

Consignment sale scheduled for Sept. 24-27

Kids clothing is one of many items at reduced prices at the event (Photo: Just Between Friends Ann Arbor)
Kids clothing is one of many items at reduced prices at the event (Photo: Just Between Friends Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – Good news, parents.

The massive semi-annual Just Between Friends consignment sale is returning to Washtenaw County Fairgrounds Sept. 24-27 with new safety protocols.

The sale features a wide selection of gently used toys, clothes, gear and more.

How it works

Parents can consign their items, shop for items or do both. Those who consign items and volunteer at the event get to shop the sale first.

Tickets are free for public shopping hours Thursday through Sunday, however shoppers must reserve tickets online in order to enter the event.

Presales

Those who qualify for presale shopping include:

  • First time moms
  • Foster parents
  • Military families
  • Teachers

Those who don’t qualify can pay $3 to $15 to enter the presale. This option is recommended since items sell quickly. Children in strollers are not allowed at presales, however infants in carriers are permitted.

Reserve presale tickets

Shopping hours:

Wednesday, Sept. 23

  • Helper and consignor shopping
  • Primetime Presale: 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 24

  • Presale shopping: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Open to the public: 5-9 p.m.

*Wednesday and Thursday are adult only shopping days - no children or strollers except for infants in carriers.

Friday, Sept. 25

  • Open to the public: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 26

  • Public shopping: 9 a.m.-noon
  • Half Off Presale - Helpers and Consignors
  • Half Off Public Presale: 6 p.m.
  • Half Off Public Sale: 7-9 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 27

  • Half Off Sale: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Parents can still consign their items for drop off on Sept. 21 and 22. For more information and to register to consign your items, click here.

Navigating event planning during the pandemic

JBF Ann Arbor co-founders and sisters Anne Seyferth and Sarah Garot were faced with a critical decision during their March sale. The first cases in Michigan were confirmed on March 10, just as they had completed set up with items from 550 sellers.

They held their first presale day on March 11, which they said went smoothly as people were still awaiting orders from Governor Gretchen Whitmer. But as schools and businesses began to close, the sisters felt they had to take swift action.

“We heard that the University of Michigan was closing and that other places were closing," said Seyferth. “And we heard the term ‘flatten the curve’ and we didn’t even know what the 'curve’ was.

“We knew we were going to have thousands of people coming over the next few days.”

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They held one more day of the sale, closed two days early and re-sorted everyone’s items that hadn’t sold.

“We sorted for 20 hours,” said Seyferth. “We had less volunteers because, obviously, people were uncomfortable. It was a very difficult experience.”

This time around, Seyferth said the event will look very different. Tickets must be reserved in advance and shopping will be timed at a 100-person capacity. The organizers added an extra day of shopping and extended hours in order to safely accommodate as many shoppers as possible.

The buildings will have doors and windows open to increase air flow and volunteers will be stationed outside as much as possible, said Seyferth. Masks are required for everyone at all times and paperwork will be digital.

“We have intense cleaning processes in place,” she said. “We are sanitizing all shopping bags between use, all rolling racks between use. We limited our items for sellers so that we could spread out our sales floors to have 8-foot aisles and we will be doing one-way aisles the way you see at grocery stores.”

Registers will also be set up to separate cashiers from shoppers by 8-feet.

“Basically, we’re trying to follow every retail recommendation that was put forth by the government,” said Seyferth.

The event was approved by the Washtenaw County Health Department in a three-day review.

“One thing we are trying to share with everyone is we need them to do their part in mask wearing and maintaining social distancing and not coming if they feel sick,” said Seyferth. “This is a whole community effort in order to have a safe sale. For our helpers, we’re doing all the safety protocols, which include temperature checks and waivers.”

To view Just Between Friends Ann Arbor’s safety plan, click here.

Additionally, all presales are child-free. While shoppers are asked not to bring their children during regular shopping hours due to the capacity limits, organizers understand if people don’t have a choice due to lack of child care.

Overall, Seyferth said her team is doing everything to run the sale safely.

“Our community really needs this sale right now when money is tight -- people can get great discounts and sellers can get money back," she said.

Seyferth and Garot appeared on Live in the D just weeks before the coronavirus was first recorded in Michigan. Watch them explain how it works in the video below.

Washtenaw County Fairgrounds is at 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.


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