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. Florida education news: Working conditions, school choice, teacher housing and more


    WORK CONDITIONS: Two teachers at a Pinellas County middle school request transfers out, saying the campus has become "hostile and racially charged." The …

    Pinellas Park Middle School
  2. Forecast: Break out those sweaters, Tampa Bay, as cooler weather just a day away


    Tampa Bay residents will finally be able to break out their sweaters and boots this week, but not until enduring yet another humid, rainy day to start the workweek.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  4. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day


    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event


    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.