Friends with benefits
Sarah Fierro runs the Reno branch of Just Between Friends, an organization that helps communities host consignment events for pregnant mothers and families with young children. Just Between Friends events are seasonal and the fall event will be Oct. 5, 6, and 7 at the Livestock Event Center. Learn more about Just Between Friends at www.jbfsale.com/reno.
Tell me about the history of Just Between Friends and how you got involved.
I have always loved consignment, thrifting, just any type of bargain you can think of—that was my thing, and I had heard about a similar sale that had the same type of concept about nine years ago. And I met the lady who had started this and asked her, “What is this?” I sat down with her, and she explained the concept of a seasonal consignment sale that happens twice a year to give families the chance to sell their gently used clothing items. And I just was in heaven. At this point I didn’t have any children, we were newly married, so fast forward a few years, and we were in Minneapolis, and we came across Just Between Friends, and we researched it, and it was exactly what I was looking for, and I was really excited about it. And so Just Between Friends … two moms, two best friends, started it back in 1997 in their living room, and they had heard about something similar. So I think they had 17 close friends to come to their living room, and that’s how the original concept got started. In 2004, they started franchising, and now there are over 120 Just Between Friends franchises across the country. And we are fortunate enough to have the Reno location that we’ve had here now for two years. I had been involved with Just Between Friends in Minneapolis, and when we started thinking about coming out here to be close to family, we looked to see if there was one here because I couldn’t imagine not having that outlet. We had just started having kids, and I loved it, and so when we saw there wasn’t a Just Between Friends out here we thought, “Perfect!” We really thought that Reno needed more kids’ consignment outlets. That’s kind of how we came across Just Between Friends and how we got started out here.
There is supposed to be a kick-off event next week, right?
Yes. It is our fifth sale, and we do these twice a year so they are seasonal. We do a spring-summer, and we do a fall-winter, and we actually are doing an off-season sale. It takes place at the Livestock Event Center off of Wells Avenue, in the exhibit hall. We’re open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is our really popular half-price day. Not all the items are half-price but many of them are. We do charge admission on Friday and Saturday, and 100 percent of admission benefits Step 2 [a nonprofit substance abuse program]. However, shoppers can visit the website and print off a free admission coupon. Any items are from consigner families, local families who are selling the items, they have any option to pick up any unsold items at the end of the sale or they can donate them. One hundred percent of the donations goes to Casa de Vita [a program for young pregnant girls]. They have a kid’s closet where they let the girls come in once a month to shop for free. Our target for this sale are pregnant moms or moms of kids age zero to 5 so a lot of those items will go to that kid’s closet.
You’ve been doing this for a while. The economic climate contributes a lot to hardships for families. Have you seen an increase in people needing these resources?
I think so. We hear a lot at every sale at what a blessing this sale has been, that they have either used the money that they made to pay their mortgage, car payment, pay bills. There are moms who stay home and are looking to find that extra way to contribute, even if it’s just a little bit, you know, every bit helps. So for parents to be able to go through their houses, clear it out and get some space back, and sell these items, then take that money and shop for that next season coming up is, I mean, they love it. It’s such a great outlet, too.