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TAC has busy first day

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe John Spillman (left) and Tessa Heideman, both of Lakefield, look through some of the vast amount of merchandise offered at the annual TAC Rummage Sale which began yesterday and runs through May 27th at the Worthington Arena.

WORTHINGTON -- They lined up outside, peering through the windows with curiosity and wondering what treasures they would find inside. At 11 a.m., volunteers opened the doors and a flood of customers rushed in, ready to start shopping.

Friday was a busy day at The Achievement Center (TAC) as staff and clients opened for their annual sale at the Worthington Hockey Arena on the Nobles County Fairgrounds.

"Clothing, furniture, household goods, holiday decorations -- we have just about everything," said TAC Manager Don Brands, adding that all of the items are donated.

In the past, a radio auction took place after the sale, but this year those gift certificates and new items donated by businesses will be available at the sale as well.

"We have a 'Buy it now' kind of thing," Brands explained. "Customers can purchase the items at face or retail value. As we move along, we may mark items down."

The TAC sale will not be open on Sundays this year, another change from previous years.

"Out of concern for families and volunteers, we decided not to be open Sundays," Brands said. "But we will be here from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday through May 27."

TAC Project Coordinator Gwen Clausen said they are still looking for volunteers to work the sale, and are more than willing to work around people's work scheduled.

"Please come," she implored. "You're guaranteed to have a lot of fun."

Some volunteers have been coming to the TAC sale for so many years they don't recall when they started.

"I wish I could remember how many years," chuckled Mathilda Pearson, who volunteers with RSVP. "I always enjoy it. What we're doing, we're doing for the consumers. I meet a lot of people and things get really busy."

Clausen said the customers like the clean, well-ordered environment of the sale.

"People comment on how organized it is," she stated. "The clothing is sorted by size, the bedding is displayed. You can find a lot of treasures."

It's the support of so many communities that keeps the sale running year after year, she explained.

"They come from all over, and it wouldn't happen without them. It's just amazing," Clausen stated.

One thing that makes her smile each year is all the visiting that takes place. Customers run into friends and then spend time browsing together, chatting the whole time.

Jeanette Henning of Worthington likes to volunteer for the sale, she said, because she knows handicapped people.

"It gets in your blood and you just keep coming back," she admitted. "I've been doing this for 15 or 20 years -- I've lost track."

Her favorite part of volunteering at the TAC sale is the people she works, with, Henning said.

"It's fun. But we really do need more help," she stated.

The money raised from the sale is used to supplement the center's operating budget.

"It's a means of providing employment opportunities and vocational training for men and women with physical and mental handicaps," Brands stated.

He encouraged people to stop out at the sale often.

"There's new donations happening all the time and merchandise continues to appear," he said.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the sale can call TAC at 376-3168 or can stop by the hockey arena.