SEVILLE — Conner Filbert didn’t wait for customers to stop by his tent Saturday.
The 14-year-old entrepreneur — who said he’s run his own concession stand business for five years — called out to see if any of the shoppers at the annual Seville Yard Sale were thirsty, hungry or hankering for something sweet.
Kenley’s Concessions — named after his dog — is no child’s lemonade stand (although it does serve lemonade).
Conner every year invests his earnings back into his stand and now has a cash register and professional equipment to make snow cones, popcorn and 12 flavors of cotton candy.
“We have sassy apple, lime, bubblegum,” Conner said, ticking off the list. “But blue raspberry is still the favorite.”
Conner, who will be a freshman at Wadsworth High School this year, was among hundreds of salespeople who came to make money from people who visit what’s been billed as “the world’s largest yard sale.”
Many live in the town of about 2,400. But others like Conner visit, either renting or borrowing yard space to sell everything from old U-Haul signs and leather belts to Barbie doll collections and Jet Skis.
The annual event has lured hundreds of thousands of people to Seville over the past 45 years.
“But it’s changed,” said Paul Stone, standing near his offerings in the front yard of a glorious old house in need of paint near the crossroads that marks downtown Seville. The sale once went from sunrise to sunset and stretched many days, he said. This year’s was 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The internet, he said, has syphoned away some customers, he said, as scores of shoppers mulled around the yard where he was set up and the nearby sidewalk.
But baby clothes and toys are always top sellers, he said. And the Amish and Mennonites, who live in surrounding communities, come looking for canning supplies and other home goods.
“But every year changes, too, because last year, no one was buying Christmas items,” he said. “This year, everyone is looking for Christmas.”
The event, which is spread out over dozens of blocks in the town’s commercial and residential neighborhoods, at times seems as much social as it does retail.
“Hey, I thought you looked familiar,” a man said pausing outside the Sweet Shoppe to talk to a family eating ice cream on a street-side table.
“What’d you get,” he asked a teenage boy.
“A Trump 2020 hat,” the boy said.
“What you gonna do with that?” the man asked.
“Wear it, I guess,” drawing laughter from the adults.
The Sweet Shoppe, a soft-serve ice cream stand, reopened in April after being closed about three years.
Ron Mellott and his girlfriend Rachelle Bellman bought it and were giving away free bottles of water from giant coolers at the sidewalk’s edge.
“We hear from people they’re glad [the Sweet Shoppe] is back,” Bellman said.
To the side of the shop, they were selling a classic Chevy pickup and a 1962 Corvair van that looked strikingly similar to the Mystery Machine, the van featured in the original Scooby-Doo cartoons.
By mid-Saturday, there were no takers, but at least a few passers-by were humming or singing the theme song: “Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you? We got some work to do now …”
As the day wore on, rain threatened and some sellers covered antique car parts or furniture with tarps.
M.J. Slate, though, defied the weather.
“This is great. Last year, we got sunburn,” said Slate, who just sold her first hand-crocheted afghan.
“No one bought one last year and now look,” she said.
Slate, who lives with her wife in Wooster, said they scrambled the night before to get some things ready to sell.
A few items were recycled from Seville yard sales of the past.
“Some people don’t take the stuff that doesn’t sell with them,” Slate said.
What the annual Seville Yard Sale ends, she said, curbs are lined with unwanted treasures.
Slate plucked a huge stereo speaker off the curb a couple of years ago after a sale.
And on Saturday, she was selling it herself for $20.
Amanda Garrett can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @agarrettabj.