LAWRENCEVILLE -- Clothes hampers and baskets and tall, sturdy trash cans were dragged around by volunteers shopping the Kidsignments Sale on Monday afternoon.
A few people pushed around shopping carts, which they filled with children's clothing selected from the rows of racks inside the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds' exhibition center.
Those who volunteer to work the biannual consignment sale get to shop a day ahead of the opening-day rush of bargain hunters who will crowd the exhibition center and another building on site today looking for gently used items, many priced at more than 60 percent less than the retail price.
"If you go to the mall you will spend quite a lot of money on a couple outfits, where here, your average outfit is probably $4 to $6," said Jeri Lynn Cunningham, who started Kidsignments 16 years ago in her garage. "That's top and shorts or top and a pair of jeans. Of course, the prices vary because brands vary, but typically you'll spend about 25 to 33 percent of what the item cost new, so tremendous savings."
Shoppers will find merchandise for infants, children, juniors and expectant mothers, including clothing, toys, baby products, books, DVDs, decorative items and furniture. Clothing is separated by gender and then arranged on racks by size.
"Anything you could imagine is probably here," Cunningham said. "You name it, it's here."
A Wiggles book, "Hot Potato, Hot Potato," sat atop the 31/2 to 4-foot-tall stack of girls' clothing Lisa Crutchfield has amassed from the time she began shopping at 9:45 a.m. until she decided she was finished about 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon.
"I can't look through any more clothes," the Norcross resident and Kidsignments volunteer laughed. "My shoulders hurt, my back hurts, so I'm done."
Crutchfield was shopping for clothing for her 4-year-old and 18-month-old daughters.
"I try to look for Gymboree or Carter's, some of the higher quality," she said. "I don't get anything over $10 unless it's an Easter dress and I think spent $12 on the Easter dress."
Grayson resident and volunteer Amy Cade had already completed her shopping by Tuesday afternoon and found a new, unopened collectible Barbie Doll for her 4-year-old daughter and like-new American Eagle brand jeans priced at $8 and $6 for her teenage son.
"I have been able to outfit four of my children (through this sale)," she said. "I have found with a one-household income this is the best way to shop."
Antony Chan was shopping the second building on site, which was filled with toys, strollers, swings, play sets and more. The Lawrenceville resident had already picked out a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and a bicycle with a push handle attached for his 2-year-old daughter. Chan is volunteering for his fourth Kidsignments sale and had budgeted about $200 to spend.
"That's definitely a gold mine right there," he said of the racks inside the exhibition center filled with children's clothes. "We're looking to spring and then summer, so we're looking for those kind of clothes. Compared to paying full retail price, you'll save a lot of money. I'm definitely a big fan of this event."
While volunteers shopped throughout the morning and early afternoon, a few of the more than 1,000 Kidsignments sellers gathered outside the building to await the seller preview, which began at 6 p.m.
Jennifer Benton, a Monroe resident who has been a seller for six years, arrived early to secure a prime spot in line. She planned to shop for her 2- and 4-year-old sons.
"I come for the spring and summer clothes, bathing suits, any extra pool or water toys, that type of thing," she said.
Kidsignments opens to the public at 9 a.m. today. Children, strollers, infants and carriers will not be allowed inside either building before 2 p.m. because of crowds. Kidsignments will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. On Friday, prices on all items with tags that do not have letters "NR" will be reduced 25 percent and then 50 percent Saturday.
For more information on Kidsignments, call 770-381-5938 or visit www.kidsignments.com.