By Stephen Smoot
Every parent gets the problem. Children hit their growth spurts and suddenly clothes that fit perfectly no longer do. Pants no longer cover ankles. Shoes get uncomfortably small. Shirts suddenly get too tight or too short. With inflation setting in, too many parents struggle to put food on the table, much less keep up with their children’s clothing needs.
The owners of Franklin based Deep Clean Machines Laundromat in Franklin, Jared and Katie Van Meter, have worked to come up with a solution.
“You wake up one day and their clothes don’t fit,” Van Meter explained. Many parents look for clothes in Facebook groups, but she said, “we’ve noticed that there are a lot of things online listed for the same price as at the store.” Also, “we have clothes we’re giving away that we have barely used.”
The problem was two-fold. Parents are spending more for their children’s clothes and are looking for ways to make money selling them after their children outgrow them. Those issues inspired the Van Meters to set up the Parents Helping Parents Clothing Community Swap Meet starting on March 25. The event runs between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Parents can reserve a space from which to sell their used clothes in the back of Deep Clean Machines Laundromat. “We’re not charging people for a space,” Van Meter explained, “we’re just guaranteeing a space. We are taking zero money from anyone.”
As the flier for the event notes, there are guidelines to ensure that purchases and sales reflect the spirit of “parents helping parents.” Items of clothing will have a sales cap of $1 per item, except for shoes which can sell from up to $2. Most of the items will be “gently used or in play condition.” Those who want to give items away for free are encouraged to do so.
Additionally, those selling can only bring clothing in sizes from preemie to age 10. As the flier says, “this is not a yard sale.” Items outside of the guidelines cannot be sold at the swap meet.
Van Meter says that anyone who reserves a space is requested to come 20 to 30 minutes early to set up. At the close, all participants must take home everything they brought including unsold items. “We are not a clothing drive,” the flier explains. Also the event is not affiliated with any other group.
The Van Meters were inspired by the spirit of giving back to the community. Katie Van Meter said that “we hope to do it twice a year, one in March or April and the other in September or October,” but not during the Treasure Mountain Festival. If the event grows enough going forward, they will look for larger alternative venues.
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