Downtown event to benefit Humane Society

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 1, 2001

Shoppers will have an opportunity to utilize their bargaining skills for a good cause this weekend.

Friday, June 01, 2001

Shoppers will have an opportunity to utilize their bargaining skills for a good cause this weekend.

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The Austin Downtown Association is sponsoring a public rummage sale on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. At 11 a.m., a live auction will be held, with proceeds benefiting the Mower County Humane Society.

About 60 vendors, including various church groups, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and downtown businesses will participate.

Bob Weis, owner and manager of Smith Shoes, and Ron Meyer, owner and manager of Piggy Blues, first thought up the idea for the event a year ago, hoping to get more people shopping downtown.

There is a $5 fee for sellers, with half the fees donated to the Humane Society.

"Ron and I talked about doing things downtown," Weis said. "We wanted to expose the area to new faces. Austin is a very viable downtown."

Meyer agreed, stating that the rummage sale and auction should bring much publicity to the Austin area, building off their brainstorm from last fall.

"Last year, it rained and there was no pre-sale registration," he said, "This year, it’s gaining momentum. I think it’s going to be a good event for downtown organizations."

Meyer also hopes, as a member of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, that the event will bring more people from out of town to Austin to shop.

As both Weis and Meyer mentioned, there will be a live auction for the first time that will benefit the Mower County Humane Society.

Weis stressed that the downtown businesses were not benefiting from the auction in any way.

"It’s not for our personal benefit," he said. "We’re doing it for groups (like the Humane Society) that need it."

According to Weis, the groups benefiting from the auction are ones that may not always receive the help or recognition deserved for the services they provide.

Bonnie Mogen, owner and manager of Bonnie’s Hallmark, feels the event will bring many things to the downtown area.

Mogen, who had items displayed in her store for the sale last fall, is quite optimistic about the upcoming event.

"It will serve as promotion and PR," she said. "We’ll have more tables out, which generates more excitement."

New publicity methods by Meyer serve to make the community aware of the event, particularly the Hispanic community, who attended last fall.

Because of the large Hispanic population that attended, Meyer hoped to attract them again this year.

"We’ve placed signs in the planters downtown that are in both English and Spanish," he said.

They’ve also advertised on the radio and cable TV and in newspapers.

Mogen also thinks possibility exists for the event to continue for years to come.

"I think there’s room for a lot of growth," she said. "The potential is really good for the Humane Society and attracting more people."

Call Melissa Bregani at 434-2236 or e-mail her at