It's been a while since people lined a city block to pile into the Broadview Hotel. The hotel, now closed for renovations, was a madhouse Thursday on the first day of its liquidation sale.
Attendance estimates varied widely, but sale officials estimated that anywhere from 2,000 to a little more than 3,000 people streamed through the historic hotel. Officials declined to say how much money was taken in on Thursday.
"This is the biggest garage sale in town today," said Frank Long, president of International Content Liquidations, the Dayton, Ohio, firm handling the sale.
"And it's all bargains, all a deal.... People will pay to get a deal."
Rooms of guest-room furniture, much of it like new, went out the door along with suite furnishings, granite bathroom sinks and chandeliers. In addition, the furniture and figures from the Speak Easy Bar, Le Parc Restaurant and Chisholm's Bar and Grill were for sale.
Prices ranged from a few dollars for a towel rack to $1,800 for each of the Broadview's ornate chandeliers.
Complete beds began at $175. Armoires and wardrobes ran for $69. Desks were $39, and desk chairs were $28.
The crush of shoppers snapped up bargains that Long said are hard to find in this tight economy.
"It's a big operation," he said. "It's great stuff, and deals will always bring people out.
"The economy is what it is, but a sale of this product for these prices, well, people are going to buy when there's a deal."
Betty Jones came Thursday morning to buy furnishings for an in-home salon, Betty's Boutique, that she plans to open in two weeks near 47th South and Meridian.
"I'm starting to build a salon in my house, so I came in looking for a mirror, a desk chair and some different items," Jones said.
Jones said the mirror, chair and items cost her about $100.
"It's huge for my business," she said. "This stuff would cost probably at least $500 new."
Farther down a cramped first-floor hallway lined with armoires and wardrobes was Cheryl Price.
"I came looking for the bed sets, but I didn't buy one because they seemed a little pricey for me," Price said.
"So I've got lamps, the chairs, lots of hangers and a fan."
Price said the sale "is worth it because I have nothing else to do today. If I was in a hurry, it wouldn't be because it's very hot in here, and it's very uncomfortable in a long line."
She thought again.
"But 25-cent hangers, man," she said, grinning.
"You always need 25-cent hangers."