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Exchange Flea Market

In this Jan. 5, 2019 photo, Bill White shows one of the belt buckles he had for sale at the flea market in First Baptist Church of Energy in Energy, Ill. A few years ago, three ladies at the church began talking about what the church's empty gymnasium could be used for. Then, Linda Garavaglia had an idea. They could host a monthly flea market. At the same time, the church needed a hot water heater. They decided the table rental fees and proceeds from a food stand would go to the church. Marilyn Halstead/The Southern, via AP)

ENERGY, Ill. (AP) — A few years ago, three ladies at First Baptist Church in Energy began talking about the gymnasium building that sits just west of the church building. Marlene Whitecotton, Linda Garavaglia and Peggy Denison tried to think of ways to use the building.

"It was empty and nobody was using it," Marlene Whitecotton said.

Then, Garavaglia had an idea. They could host a monthly flea market.

At the same time, the church needed a hot water heater.

They decided the table rental fees and proceeds from a food stand would go to the church.

"I told them the first thing we are going is buying a hot water heater," Whitecotton said.

In its little more than two-year history, proceeds from the flea market have helped the church rock the parking lot, install a lift to go to the basement in the main building and other projects needed by the church.

The flea market is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first Saturday of every month. Setup is from noon to 4 p.m. Friday or early Saturday morning, and Mike Denison helps with that. There is no admission fee for shoppers.

"We have a little of everything," Whitecotton said.

"We have a lot of handmade items, like jewelry, crochet, towels, quilts and just about everything," Garavaglia said.

Although the inventory changes from month to month, the flea market typically offers antiques and collectibles, belt buckles, pocket knives, books, movies, Rodan and Fields cosmetics, Young Living Essential Oils, Pink Zebra soy wax melts, pet treats and bandanas, cloth baskets and personalized mugs and wine glasses, and more.

They also have a food stand every month that usually serves breakfast and lunch. This month the stand offered biscuits and gravy during breakfast hours, and chili and barbecue sandwiches for lunch.

Bill White of Anna said a recent Saturday was pretty slow, but he usually does well at the flea market. He had a selection of western books by Louis L'Amour, who he said is his favorite writer.

Marcy Cascio-Hale is a consultant for Rodan and Fields.

"It is a premium skin care line from the doctor who created Proactiv," she said.

She shared a table with Susan Willis of Young Living Essential Oils. Young Living is a 26-year-old company based in Utah that makes plant-based, therapeutic grade essential oils.

Sue McGinnis of Herrin makes jewelry to sell. She puts together most of the items herself. She featured a couple items with a Valentine's Day theme.

The next flea market will be Feb. 2, just in time for Valentine's Day. Anyone who has items to sell is welcome.

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Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, https://bit.ly/2TuxV46

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com

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