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Country Store: Boulder City tradition for 76 years

What started as a small community bake sale to benefit the church more than seven decades ago has turned into one of the most popular annual events in Boulder City.

Grace Community Church’s Country Store, now in its 76th year, kicks off this weekend with doors open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and then from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. As organizers are quick to say, this is truly a community effort.

“Today I had three department heads come to me and say that this is the most organized this event has ever been. I guess that’s good,” event co-chair Pandora Ahlstrom said, laughing.

The number of hours put in by volunteers leading up to the Country Store is in the hundreds, if not the thousands, as they began accepting donations back in February. By March 1, they were open every Tuesday morning with eight or nine volunteers, accepting a wide range of donated items from then until now at the Jack Rants Donation Center.

“We try and focus on items that can really help our community, for a very reasonable cost,” Ahlstrom said, noting that a large number of donated items, the church, in turn, donates to other organizations like the Salvation Army. “No single person gets the credit for this event. You wouldn’t believe how hard these volunteers work every year. They are amazing.”

As for the popularity of the Country Store, Ahlstrom said it boils down to two things – great items and low prices.

“Even people who don’t love yard sales will go, ‘Wow, that’s great stuff,’” she said. We have 22 departments this year and it’s a wide range.”

There will be furniture, clothing for men, women and children, toys, sports equipment, housewares, hardware, jewelry, collectibles and antiques, to name just a few. When pricing all these items, Ahlstrom said it can be tricky because they want to offer low prices, even on items where the volunteers know the actual value, especially those that benefit young families with children.

“We ask ourselves how much does something go for at a yard sale,” she said. “Some things we’re not looking to make money on at all.”

Other items, such as antiques, they have two owners of local antique stores come in and price them and then it’s marked about one-fourth of its valuation.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re so popular. You can get great items at decent prices,” Ahlstrom said. “We make sure everything is clean and of good quality. We also make sure we only sell the good stuff.”

Ahlstrom said of the 10 years she’s been involved with the Country Store, this year the community has been the most generous with some of the best items seen in years.

Money raised stays within Southern Nevada with some going to Grace Christian Academy but the majority being divided among an array of community programs including the Boulder City Senior Center, Women’s Resource Center and Safe Nest, with none of the money going toward the church.

“It all goes to charity with the majority staying local,” she said.

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Ron Eland/Boulder City Review

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