By B.C. Manion
A last-minute surge of sales on Saturday gave the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club the best total it has had for the past three years at its annual flea market, said Pat Serio, co-chairwoman of the event.
The group reported a total of more than $9,100 in sales — short of its $10,000 goal, but substantially more than its totals of just more than $7,000 for the past couple of years, Serio said.
Sales began slowly at the half-price sale on Saturday, March 12, but they picked up substantially during the day, as volunteer club members sold lots of household items, books, clothing, linens, toys and seasonal décor at reduced prices.
Remaining items will be donated to area nursing homes, migrant workers, “Dress for Success” programs, clothing for groups serving the homeless, school reading programs and the Salvation Army, Serio said.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Lutz and Land O’ Lakes fire departments, libraries in both communities, scholarships, the Old Lutz School, the Little Women of Lutz, Lutz and Land O’ Lakes Friends of the Park, Christian Social Services, Metropolitan Ministries, Angel Unawares, Scouting troops and others.
The last surge in sales thrilled the woman’s club members, Serio said.
They had already been pleased by the community’s generous donations and by the good crowds at the flea market’s initial sales days on March 4-5, but they had thought this year’s sale may fall far short of their goal. So, they were delighted when the final day of sales helped close that gap.
The flea market is an important fundraiser for the club. It dates more than 20 years and is the woman’s club’s second biggest fundraiser of the year, trailing only the Lutz Arts and Crafts Festival held annually at Lake Park.
Besides helping many community groups, the club uses the flea market revenues to help pay for community events, such as the Fourth of July parade and the Easter egg hunt, and to support a wide range of community causes and organizations.
Club members enjoyed the camaraderie of working together, Serio said.
This year’s sale did not have some of the big-ticket items that have been featured in the past, but Serio suspects that people are holding onto things longer because of the tough economy.
”Now that the sale is over, “the first thing we’ll do is write a check to the old school,” Serio said, referring to the nonprofit organization formed to preserve the Old Lutz School.
The flea market was at the school, at 18819 N. US 41, which is a cherished community building.