The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 4, 2013

Munchkin Markets coming to Kato this weekend

By Robb Murray rmurray@mankatofreepress.com
The Mankato Free Press

---- — The munchkins are back. Well, not exactly. It’s actually called “Munchkin Markets.” And while they may not be selling any little people from fictional locales, they will be selling donated clothing of the size that would fit a munchkin.

The Munchkin Markets children’s clothing consignment sale comes to Mankato twice annually and sets up shop in the Verizon Wireless Center. Each time they do it, organizers say, the event gets bigger and bigger.

When the event first came to Mankato, they were in the building that used to house the Beans Plus day care facility.

“We got bigger,” said Kristal Belisle. “We outgrew Beans Plus.”

Munchkin Markets is a business owned by Belisle and her husband, Duane. They hold similar events in Rochester, Duluth and several in the Twin Cities.

One thing, however, makes the Mankato event unique.

“In the Mankato location,” Kristal Belisle said, “the people are more generous than anywhere else in the state.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring food for the ECHO Food Shelf. Last spring the Munchkin Market event collected more than 3,000 pounds of food, and each time that number goes up.

In addition to collecting food, the Belisles donate to local causes. Since coming to Mankato several years ago, Munchkin Markets has donated more than $10,000 to Early Childhood Family Education.

For people interested in selling, registration is available online. But on the day of the sale, your work ends when you drop your pre-labeled stuff off at the sale. The organizers take care of the rest.

Unlike other sales, Munchkin Markets is set up more like a store. Items are grouped together based on size. So instead of individual sellers each selling, for example, size 2T clothing, all the 2T clothing is in the same place.

Sellers, or consignors, keep 65 percent of the proceeds. They can up that take by 5 percent for each three hours of volunteering.

Shoppers, meanwhile are encouraged to bring ECHO Food Shelf donations. If they do, the $1 admission charge in place on Saturday is waived. Admission is free on Sunday.

Belisle said she expects more than 2,000 to attend the event.

If you go What: Munchkin Markets When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday Where: Verizon Wireless Center Cost: $1, or free with donation for the ECHO Food Shelf