Photo provided
Fishers mom Lori Chandler celebrates the 14th year of Indy Kids Sale, which she owns and operates, each spring and fall at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville. The spring kids consignment sale is open Thursday-Saturday.
Photo provided Fishers mom Lori Chandler celebrates the 14th year of Indy Kids Sale, which she owns and operates, each spring and fall at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville. The spring kids consignment sale is open Thursday-Saturday.

While it still feels like winter, with snow falling over the weekend and temperatures in the single digits today, spring is right around the corner. 

Well, that’s according to Punxsutawney Phil’s Groundhog Day prediction. He could not find his shadow, and as the legend goes, it means we’ll have “an early spring.”

It’s just six days until Daylight Saving Time begins and only 16 days until spring officially arrives.

For a lot of families, this time of year also means getting rid of outgrown and unwanted kids clothes, toys their kids don’t play with anymore and no-longer-needed kids gear. And for some moms, it means consigning their items and/or shopping for deals at the local biannual kids’ consignment sales.

For us, it’s a good time for my daughter, who is old enough to clean out her own closet, to re-organize her closet and dresser drawers and make piles of items that she has outgrown or no longer likes to wear. 

We started consigning at kids sales when my daughter was young. That’s when I met Fishers mom Lori Chandler who turns businesswoman twice a year as the owner of Indy Kids Sale. The sale opens this week for the public, Thursday through Saturday at the Hamilton County 4-H Grounds, 2003 E. Pleasant St., in Noblesville.

Chandler and her husband, Mike, with the help of volunteers and employees, operate the consignment sale each spring and fall at the Fairgrounds. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, with designated items half price on Saturday.

The sale is huge and has grown to fill the entire Hamilton County Exhibition Center, with more than 50,000 items. Consignors, who are mostly moms, tag every item electronically before they dropped off their items Saturday through today at the 4-H Fairgrounds. Consignors earn a commission, more if they volunteer at the sale. And at each sale, consignors can choose to donate their unsold items to Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County, which distributes food and clothing to those in need in the county.

The sale seems to be gaining in popularity every year. For this week’s sale, there are 450 consignors, and the spots filled in less than 12 hours from the time that consignor registration opened on Jan. 16.

What’s Chandler’s key to success for her resale event? “I have a great team supporting me. We genuinely love our consignors, shoppers and volunteers,” she said. “Everyone comments about the kindness of our staff and volunteers…”

Her first experience with Indy Kids Sale was as a consignor after seeing an advertisement for the sale that had children’s items from about 20 families in the front yard of someone’s home. She came and shopped and was hooked. She was a shopper and then a consignor for about four years when she learned about the possibility of taking over the sale. 

She’s an organizer and a deal seeker at heart, so owning the business would be the best of both worlds.

Her kids were 3 and almost 1 when she took over for Indy Kids Sale. They’ve grown up with Mom running the business. Ella is now 14 and Jacob is 11.

“This is a part of their lives every spring and fall,” the mom said. “I hope that they are learning a good work ethic. They know that this is a very busy time, and they are great help at home and at the sale.”

Through the years, Indy Kids Sale has grown with the times. “Social media has really come about during the times of this business,” Chandler said. I’ve had to learn and adapt to using it for my business. We use Facebook and Instagram, primarily as ways to interact with local families that either want to sell their items or need to purchase items for their kiddos.”

For Chandler, the kids sale is a year-around job and takes months to prepare for the spring and fall sales.

Her husband, Mike, has been invaluable help to her. By day, he’s a full-time video director for Grace Church in Noblesville, creating, editing and producing all of the videos used for worship services and different ministries.

But when she needs him for the kids sale, he’s all in. 

“He has always been so supporting….staying up late at night with me to figure something out or getting up early to set up (for a sale),” Chandler said. “His primary role is leading the team that gets all the racks, shelving, tables and more set up and ready for us to take in our consignor inventory. He also sets up all of the computers that act as our cash registers. And during the actual sale, he is on the floor interacting with our shoppers and helping to carry large items out to cars. After the sale, he is in charge of the complete tear down of all the equipment.”

She said, “I could not run this business without my husband.”

Indy Kids Sale is just the beginning of spring kids’ consignment sales. Here are two more in Hamilton County:

-Whale of a Sale is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 24 (half-price day for designated items) at Grand Park Event Center, 19000 Grand Park Blvd., in Westfield. Visit www.whale-sale.com.

-Just Between Friends (JBF North Indy) sale is April 24-27, at the 4-H Fairgrounds. Carmel native and mom Dawn Pfannenstiel has organized and operated the sale for the past 11 years. Consignors are still being accepting. Shopping hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 24 (with $2 admission for ages 18 and older, with money going to charity, kids admitted free); 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 25-26, free admission;  and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 27. Discounts on selected items are 25 percent on April 26, 50 percent on April 27 through 3 p.m., with 75 percent off between 5 and 9 p.m. Visit www.northindy.jbfsale.com.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com