Demopolis businesses participating in Highway 80 yard sale

Published 2:37 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

The World’s Widest Yard Sale has grown – by three states.

Last year, the yard sale ran across Alabama’s midsection, the Black Belt, from the Georgia border to the Mississippi border. This year, the yard sale keeps going, and going, and going – all the way to Mesquite, Texas.

Alabama is joining the Historic U.S. 80 Hi-Way Sale, which already included Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The merger forms what could be the longest yard sale in the world. The two-day event will be April 18 and 19.

Several businesses in Demopolis will be participating in the yard sale as well. Vowell’s Fresh Market, Hair Hut, Gold Mine and Kim’s Treasures will participate in the two-day event this weekend. Vowell’s will have a space set up in the parking lot for the public to come set up for free during the event. Space will be limited, and it’s first come, first served.

Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce Director Michael Kennedy said the yard sale will give people the opportunity to participate in a community event.

“It will help bring some of the people of Demopolis together, and for the people passing through for the sale, it gives us the opportunity to put Demopolis’ name out there more,” he said. “They might stop and see what we have to offer and then come back in the future to really see what Demopolis is all about.”

U.S. 80 was the first coast-to-coast, all-weather highway in the United States. It’s a 2,400-mile route that stretches from Savannah, Ga., through the heart of the South, to San Diego, Calif. The Historic U.S. 80 Hi-Way Sale doesn’t reach the Pacific Ocean, though. At least not yet.

“Communities all along U.S. Highway 80 are rich in culture, heritage and hospitality,” said Gov. Robert Bentley. “During the Historic U.S. 80 Hi-Way Sale, Alabama can share one of its best-kept secrets. We welcome everyone to visit these unique towns and meet the wonderful people who live there. Whether you’re from another part of the state or another part of the country, we think you’ll enjoy discovering this region while making new memories along the way.”

Since its inception two years ago, the World’s Widest Yard Sale takes bargain hunters from Phenix City near the Georgia state line to York near the Mississippi border. What makes the yard sale unique is that it takes in not only the U.S. 80 corridor but other major arteries in the Black Belt as well, encompassing such cities and towns as Tuskegee, Greenville, Troy, Selma, Uniontown, Demopolis and Livingston.

Ron Sparks, director of the Alabama Rural Development Office, introduced the idea of the World’s Widest Yard Sale to stimulate the region’s economy as a project of the Alabama Black Belt Commission’s Marketing and Tourism Committee. Growing it to include more of America’s Southern region was always part of his thinking, he said.

“Our goal from the very beginning was to get adjoining states involved, and this is what we’ve done with joining the Historic U.S. 80 Hi-Way sale,” Sparks said. “We’re excited to expand the sale throughout the Black Belt region and beyond our state’s borders and anticipate it to be a great success.”

Folding the World’s Widest Yard Sale into the Historic U.S. 80 Hi-Way Sale adds scores of cities in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to the hunt for secondhand treasures. Each state is setting up its own website to promote the sale in its state and provide information to vendors and shoppers about participating cities and towns.

In Alabama, for more information, go to www.widestyardsale.com. Information and links to other states’ websites are available at www.Hwy80sale.net.