In 1977 the United States was facing a gasoline shortage unlike anything that had been previously experienced in the States. In Austin, Texas it was not unusual to find lines of cars waiting at gas stations hoping to purchase the 10 gallons to which they were limited each day. With gas in such limited supply across the country a question arose locally: how will people be able to continue their great weekend pastime of scouring the city for awesome garage/rummage sales if there was so little gas to be had? The City-Wide Garage Sale was the answer.
One enterprising individual had the idea to gather a number of sellers into one primary location.
The climate-controlled venue quickly became a favorite destination for individuals and non-profits looking to sell their wares and for those who sought to purchase items as well. Antique and collectible dealers quickly recognized a great opportunity and booths in the venue were soon filled with unique items. Word spread throughout the community and soon lines of shoppers formed to get into the building on weekends when the sale opened each Saturday.
As the years passed and the sale evolved, customers came to expect to find old and hard-to-find pieces at the location. Guests could still find sellers who carried regular household items at bargain prices as well, but the sale really began to identify with its unusual, bargain and unique pieces. The powers that be, decided that sellers would no longer be allowed to offer imported wares, crafts, or novelties and that the market would put its entire focus on the more unique items.
Around 2002 the old City Coliseum was torn down and replaced by the Palmer Events Center.
At the new Center, City-Wide kept its identity as a place to find all things vintage and came to be known as a destination location for collectors, college students, decorators and designers. Those who make the trek to City-Wide each Saturday are bound to find something interesting to add to their home or collection.
Though the identity of the location has changed over the years, the name “City-Wide Garage Sale,” has stuck because it is such an iconic Austin brand. If you find yourself in the Austin area, come see all that this unique spot has to offer.
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