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Locals selling unique items during community-wide sale

Chris and John Batka of Conneaut Lake, PA, shop a yard sale in Kinsman Saturday afternoon. The three-day Kinsman community-wide yard sales end this afternoon.

KINSMAN — A longstanding tradition, the Kinsman community-wide garage and yard sale this year provided an opportunity for some locals to sell distinct items.

A sign of the times, Beth and Bill Spithaler of Farmington spent Saturday outside of Bill’s Kinsman storefront selling their homemade hand sanitizer in small containers and by the gallon.

The pair didn’t make hand sanitizer before the advent of COVID-19, but said they probably will continue selling it once the pandemic is over.

“We’re too deep in it now,” Bill, a logger by trade, said. “I never really used hand sanitizer until this. I think the pandemic is going to change everyone’s outlook about this.”

The Spithalers said they’ve been selling their sanitizer in a few local stores and to some businesses that provide it to employees, but only started doing it by the gallon this week.

Alongside the “Farm Boy Products” hand sanitizer, Aspen Spitzer, 7, was working hard to sell lemonade, iced tea and popsicles for $1.

Closer to downtown, Dale and Pam Goist set up shop in front of “the future firehouse bakery” — a brick building at the corner of Elm Street and Main Street — to sell pastries.

The couple plans to turn the building into a bakery, but hasn’t purchased it yet because of fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dale, the baker, is a Kinsman firefighter of nearly 42 years and has been a chaplain for six years. Pam said he uses the firehouse oven to bake because it’s bigger than their oven at home.

“I always enjoyed baking,” Dale said. “When my mom and dad left the house, I would bake.”

Dale sold out of cupcakes early Saturday afternoon, but still had muffins, cinnamon rolls and bread up for grabs.

The community tradition of “Kinsman Days” started about 20 years ago when the Kinsman Rotary began putting on a chicken barbeque in the park, and the yard and garage sales followed. Though the barbeque stopped a few years ago, residents still dust off their tables and tents for the community sale, during which garage sale permits are not required.

“Normally everybody seems to have one,” said Nancy Letcher of the sales, noting there seemed to be fewer this year.

At what seemed to be the largest sale on main street, Letcher was one of 10 extended family members with items up for grabs.

She said despite fewer sellers and a rainy start to the day Saturday, shoppers were out in abundance.

“It was pouring down rain so we didn’t open up this morning, but there were people everywhere, with umbrellas and everything,” she said. “They wanted to know when we were going to open.”

“I think next year it will be booming,” Tanya Tricker said of the sales.

Though the pandemic may have been a factor in the decrease in sales this year, there was a split between people who chose to wear masks and those who didn’t.

Trumbull County is under a state-ordered mask mandate, which requires people to wear face coverings in public indoor settings and outdoors when it is not possible to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

When asked about masks, most people choosing not to wear them said that because the sales took place outside, they didn’t feel masks were necessary. Those wearing masks pointed to personal health concerns or concern for the general safety of the community.

Today is the last day of the Kinsman community sale. For more information on locations and times, call 330-876 3178 or stop at Market Square, 6406 Kinsman Nickerson Road.

A three-day community-wide garage sale in Cortland also wraps up today. Addresses and times for Cortland sales can be found on the Facebook page Everything Cortland.

Cortland police will not be responding to complaints about masks at the sales, but sellers are allowed to refuse customers who are not wearing masks, Mayor Deidre Petrosky.

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