The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 7, 2014

Bargain-hunters flock to Munchkin Markets

Seasonal children's consignment sale the largest in Minnesota

Amy Swalve has a system, a very organized system — one that many other mothers of 3-year-olds would likely covet.

"I keep a spreadsheet of what I have and what I need," said the Lake Crystal mother of 3-year-old Blake.

The rate at which little Blake is growing means organization is key — including knowing what's in all the plastic bins in the basement, whether any of that will even fit anymore, and looking ahead several months to when absolutely nothing will fit.

That's what brought Swalve to the final day of Munchkin Markets Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Center. Minnesota's largest seasonal children's consignment sale returned to Mankato over the weekend, offering thousands upon thousands of gently used items to parents and parents-to-be for thrift-store prices.

Sunday was half-price day, and Swalve — an avid garage-saler — waited until that final day of the sale to drive to town and take advantage of the bargains. In addition to being organized, Swalve is one heck of a bargain hunter.

"Well, because otherwise you can't afford it," Swalve said, referring to a growing child's many monetary-based needs.

Swalve was on a mission to buy clothes for the upcoming warm season, as well as clothes in a larger size for fall. Being an organized mom, she took a moment to get acclimated.

"I'm slightly overwhelmed by how much stuff there is," she said.

Maria Ramirez didn't have that problem. Loading up her car, she had some stuff draped over her arm, her husband had some stuff, and her little boy was dragging a new treasure along with him, too.

"We figure just buy it, and it if it doesn't work then we'll sell it at a garage sale this summer," she said. "The prices are so good that it's silly to pass things up."

The sale featured baby and children's clothing; gear, such as high chairs, cribs and strollers; toys and games; books; and decor items.

Food was collected all weekend for the ECHO Food shelf and funds were raised for the Mankato Early Childhood Family Education program.

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