LAWRENCEVILLE -- Tassa Hoenig perused one section of a long, double rack overflowing with gently used boys' shirts and pants Tuesday.
The Lawrenceville resident had braved the crowds and long lines for the opening day of Kidsignments, Gwinnett's largest children's consignment sale, and was steadily filling a large, rolling garbage can with clothes for her 7-year-old son, the bottom already stuffed with items for her 13-month-old daughter.
Hoenig is a veteran Kidsignments shopper for the past five years -- "When kids grow so fast, there's no reason to pay retail until they start caring what they wear and then it's over," she laughed.
She is also one of the 1,000 sellers whose gently used clothes, baby equipment, toys and more fill the 20,000-square-foot exhibit hall at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds and carry over into a second space -- dubbed the big toy building -- where shoppers will find larger play items. The items are typically priced at 20 to 40 percent of the original cost.
"It's very overwhelming your first time," Kidsignments founder Jeri Lynn Cunningham said of the semi-annual sale, held each fall and spring. "I've been helping a lot of first-timers here who are just standing in the middle of the building looking around not knowing where to go, where to start."
Some of those first-timers lined up outside the building hours before the doors opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday to take advantage of day one of the five-day sale when items are at their most plentiful. About noon, many of the early bird bargain hunters had finished shopping and we're patiently waiting in the steadily lengthening checkout line to make their purchases.
"This is the longest I've ever seen this line but it's moving pretty quickly," Hoenig said.
The sale, now in its 17th year, only keeps growing. Cunningham, a Lilburn resident, started Kidsignments in her two-car garage in 1993 and moved to the fairgrounds about four or five years later. With the recession pinching pockets the past couple years, she has watched the sale become even more popular with parents looking to save money.
"We've seen them picking up with the economy being the way it is," Cunningham said.
Gwinnett residents still have time to shop the sale, which runs through Saturday. On Friday, prices for items with tags that do not have the letters "NR" will be reduced by 25 percent. On Saturday, that discount will double on the same items. Kidsignments accepts the following as payment: Visa and Mastercard with a photo ID, local checks with a photo ID and cash.
For more information on the children's consignment sale, visit www.kidsignments.com.