Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 6, 2014

Business owner sees potential

Popularity of Oakvale Road yard sale grows

PRINCETON — A Princeton businessman whose father came up with an idea of what to do with a vacant lot across from Eden Rock Motel on Oakvale Road now thinks the idea should be expanded along both sides of the busy street.

Jim Aboulhosn, owner of Eden Rock, decided to let people bring yard sale items to the vacant lot two years ago, according to his son Willie Aboulhosn, who helps his father some at the motel.

“That first year, we didn’t have many people here, but after I put up a sign, we had a lot more last year,” Willie Aboulhosn said. “We have a lot of people now, but too many people are parking on the side of the road. The people who come here to shop need to park in the parking lots around here. I think if the police would write a few tickets, the word would get around.”

But Willie Aboulhosn has an even better idea, if he could get the support of local businesses on Oakvale Road as well as city council. He said he would like to see Princeton develop a giant yard sale similar to the one that annually draws tens of thousands of people to Hillsville, Va., every Labor Day weekend.

“Oakvale Road has good access to a major highway, and several restaurants that could benefit from the increase in traffic,” he said. “This road is a prime spot to develop a Mercer County yard sale like the one at Hillsville. It has so much potential. You could block off part of the street to just foot traffic and watch it grow.”

Aboulhosn said that he charges vendors $7 per spot, with a spot being one car-length long and one car-width wide. “Most of the people take two spaces, but people can certainly take one spot and move their vehicle to another parking lot.”

He said that vendors start arriving between 6 and 7 a.m., on Saturday mornings and leave at about 1 or 2 p.m. “I think if we didn’t have so many people parking on the road side, we wouldn’t have so many people on the road out here slowing down and causing  accidents,” Aboulhosn said.

Kathy Terry set her items up for sale in a corner of the lot. The sunshine and warm temperatures on Saturday brought out a steady crowd of customers. “It’s been a pretty good day,” she said.

Larry Bane had his yard sale items on shaded tables that he set up not far from Oakvale Road.

“We don’t do this regularly, but we’ve been doing it off and on for about 20 years,” Bane said. “This is our first time here this year, but we used to go to the Princeton Avenue Parking Garage flea market two or three times every year. We would have gone there today if the city hadn’t torn it down.”

At noon, the location was crowded with vendors and shoppers, but by 1 p.m., many vendors had already started the process of packing up and waiting for the next yard sale.

—  Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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