The organizing committee of the 301 Endless Yard Sale met July 17 to gather feedback from the communities involved and to review vendor survey results. With mostly positive feedback from all involved, the committee has set the dates of June 19-20, 2015 for next year's event.
"Overall the biggest complaint was the hot weather, obviously, something the committee cannot control and some traffic concerns, wishes for more parking, and calls to hold the event twice a year (Spring and Fall)," stated Donna Bailey-Taylor, Executive Director, Johnston County Visitors Bureau.
Results of the Vendor Survey
The committee reviewed the online vendor survey results and key points noted by the committee were:
• 35% of vendors heard about the event from WRAL, followed by 30% website, 30% Facebook, 22% by postcard/brochure, 19% by Classified Ads.
• 76% of vendors sold on both days.
• Average sales were about $500 each day.
• Vendor fees varied from free, donations, up to $75 per day.
• 81% of vendors found their spot because they knew the property owner.
• 79% of vendors sold yard sale items, 48% collectibles and 38% antiques.
• 83% of vendors plan to come back next year.
• 50% of vendors surveyed said to leave it a Friday-Saturday event.
The committee discussed the feedback from people complaining about too many commercial vendors and that they wanted just “Yard Sale” items and pricing. The committee discussed that what the vendor sells is not regulated and there were lots of "junking" vendors, as well as, antiques and collectibles, yard sale items, and then the unique items like golf carts, boats, motorcycles, and businesses that pulled warehouses of merchandise out for sale. "The 301 Endless Yard Sale is all about the hunt, you never know what you will come across. It may be high end antiques or the thrifty household items, " stated event founder Tommy Abdalla. Next year the committee can include a tagline that specifies, "you’ll find anything and everything along the 301 Endless Yard Sale".
Discussion was had about moving the event date and the committee felt this year the weekend was unusually hot for June. If the event was moved to the spring or fall, there were many conflicts with other major festivals held in the destinations, sporting events, football weekends, and the state fair. The committee decided there are benefits to having the consistency and agreed to keep the event the third weekend in June, which will be June 19-20.
Overall marketing expenses and ROI
The four Visitors Bureaus involved split the cost of the brochures, classified ads, and each community purchased banners. Halifax and Johnston placed some local ads and worked with area radio stations for promotion. And the JCVB invested some promotional dollars on Facebook, which increased from 300 likes to 5,300 likes since last year's event. With the promotion on WRAL, the www.301endlessyard.com again exceeded bandwidth with over 75,000 page views in June. Each CVB averaged $1,000 to market the event.
Although hard numbers from hotels is not available on the number of room nights, each destination reported hotels saw overnight stays. The Facebook map set up to track where vendors and visitors were coming from indicated some of the feeder states for this event were: NC, VA, SC, FL, AL, OH, PA, MA, TX, MD and CO.
Expanding the 301 Endless Yard Sale from Roanoke Rapids to Lumberton
The goal for 2015 is to expand the sale to include the counties of Nash, Cumberland and Robeson Counties. The committee has agreed not to have gaps next year as it causes too much confusion for vendors and visitors. Planning meetings will begin in January and will be held in Smithfield at the Johnston County Visitors Bureau conference room. For more information and to keep connected, visit the website, www.301endlessyardsale.com or follow the event on www.facebook.com/301endlessyardsale.