Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seasonal consignment sale in Hernando County will help strapped families

BROOKSVILLE — Children grow up fast. And in this economic downturn, its tough keeping them outfitted.

But two local moms have found a creative way to make a little money off their children's too-small shoes, clothes, furniture and toys while preparing for the future at a very reasonable price.

Happy Happy Hippos, a seasonal children's consignment sale organized by sisters-in-law Cindy McWilliams and Stacey Thomas, is scheduled for next weekend at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.

"With the economy the way it is, moms who have never consigned or shopped at a consignment sale are trying this as a way to help their budget," said McWilliams, 36, a stay-at-home mom of four.

Parents can shop for such things as gently used Game Boy games, preschool-age books, toddler shoes, changing tables, cribs, strollers, clothes from infant to children's size 16, and maternity clothing. The event will take place Friday through March 14.

"I tried to sell stuff on Craigslist and people would say they wanted it, but then never show up. It was a huge hassle," said Thomas, 33, a mother of two small children under age 5, with a third due next month.

McWilliams agreed.

"I tried selling stuff on eBay, but shipping was a pain," she said.

While researching local consignment shops on the Internet, the Pasco County resident said, she stumbled onto a Web site from Virginia, advertising a "Seasonal Children's Consignment Sale" where local moms were able to buy and sell stuff at a weekend-long event.

"I thought that was a great idea, and started thinking maybe we could start something like that," said McWilliams, who then approached Thomas. The pair held a few community consignment sales in Tampa, but when Thomas moved to Hernando County, Happy Happy Hippos moved, too.

And the biannual sales, one in spring and one in fall, have grown over the last year, attracting hundreds of buyers and sellers from as far away as Gainesville, St. Petersburg, Orlando and Lakeland, said Thomas. Next weekend's sale is the third one for Hernando County.

"Last sale, we did all our Christmas shopping," said McWilliams, whose husband, Robert, a computer network technician, was laid off early in 2009 and only recently found employment. The family was struggling to stay afloat.

"I think other moms had the same idea about shopping for Christmas, almost all the toys sold," said McWilliams.

McWilliams and Thomas started Happy Happy Hippos as a money-making venture. They have not yet turned a profit, Thomas said. But organizing the event does have its perks: They get first dibs on all merchandise and the joy of emptying out their kids' closets, selling everything and anything they no longer need.

During last September's sale, mother of three Jennifer Griffith, 28, consigned nearly 300 items, selling a stroller, infant walker and infant clothing, bringing in nearly $200. She was able to turn that money around and purchase a toddler bed and stock up on toys for Christmas.

"It is a lot less expensive to buy used," Griffith said. "Having children has made our family very budget conscious."

What doesn't sell, with permission from each consignor, is donated to A New Generation, a Christian-based center that offers free pregnancy tests, parenting classes, adoption assistance and peer counseling. The center features a client store stocked with donated items.

This year, McWilliams and Thomas hope to add a Happy Happy Hippos Holiday Sale to the schedule. Not only will children's toys be featured, but they are expanding to accept holiday decorations such as Christmas trees and lights and holiday outfits for children.

Fast facts

Happy Happy Hippos Seasonal Children's Consignment Sale

The sale features clean and in excellent condition shoes, baby equipment, toys, clothing from infant to children's size 16, furniture and sports equipment. All electronics must work and have batteries installed.

WHERE: Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville.

WHEN: Consignors must sign up and enter all of their items online at by 3 a.m. Wednesday. Drop-offs are Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. The sale will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 13, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 14, which is Half Price Day.

INFORMATION: Call (352) 397-2907.

Seasonal consignment sale in Hernando County will help strapped families 03/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 7:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Offense gets some juggling

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The night after scoring six runs to emerge from what had been a historically fallow offensive stretch seemed like an odd time to make changes to the lineup, but that was exactly what the Rays did for Wednesday's late game against the Blue Jays.

    Associated Press
  2. Dunedin man accused of possessing child pornography


    DUNEDIN — A 57-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of intentionally downloading child pornography, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Richard Beal Anger, 57, of Dunedin faces 11 counts of possession of child pornography. [Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Pence cuts short Latin America trip and pressures Chile to sever all ties to North Korea


    SANTIAGO, Chile — Vice President Mike Pence is cutting short his Latin America trip by one day to return to Washington for a strategy meeting Friday at Camp David with President Donald Trump and the national security team.

    Vice President Mike Pence urged Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to take a tougher stand against North Korea on Wednesday in Santiago, Chile.
  4. Big Ben backlash: Plan to silence beloved bell under review


    LONDON — British Parliament officials said Wednesday they will review plans to silence Big Ben during four years of repairs after senior politicians criticized the lengthy muting of the beloved bell.

  5. UF's move to deny white nationalist Richard Spencer a venue sets up a First Amendment court fight


    In denying a notorious white nationalist his request to speak on campus, the University of Florida has brought a thorny legal battle to Gainesville in the name of keeping its students safe.

    Legal experts say the University of Florida will have an uphill battle in court proving that fears of violence from an appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer will override the First Amendment. "There's a fine line between inciting lawlessness and engendering a situation where lawlessness arises," said Peter Lake, higher education law professor at Stetson University College of Law. [Getting Images]