A sign outside the front door of the Old Warwick Grange # 41, located at 1175 West Shore Road not far from Conimicut, advertises the weekly tag sale. Located on the building’s lower level, treasure hunters can dig through piles and isles of all kinds of stuff, ranging from collectibles to house hold items.
The weekly tag sale, held each Saturday year round, is run by Richard Fuller.
Fuller, age 82 and a longtime member of the Grange, has been selling yard sale items since the 1960s. And he loves to talk about both subjects with visitors to the tag sale.
“I’m just a lonely guy who loves to do this stuff,” he quipped on Saturday, Jan. 13. “I got a lot of stories,” he said, adding that he loves answering questions about the Grange, which still holds monthly meetings, and about agriculture. In fact, most questions receive an answer that often starts with “Let me tell you a story…”.
Fuller recalled how he got started in the resale business, almost 60 years ago. He had met a woman who had wanted her house cleared out, but all the companies she had contacted had wanted too much money. Fuller offered to do it for much less, and she took him up on his offer.
Fuller rounded up some assistance and began removing the items to his own property, setting up a very large yard sale – on 120 linear feet of land in front of his house. “People said, ‘hey, nice yard sale!,’” – and he was hooked.
“I didn’t know anything about antiques or anything,” he admitted. “It was the 1960s, everything was different back then,” he continued. He became known for offering good deals.
He did keep one thing for himself from that original sale. “When I cleaned up that house, I kept the Shirley Temple glass – one of the few things I collect,” he said.
Over the years Fuller branched out, selling items on tables he set up at the Rocky Point Flea Market, which had been located in the former Shore Dinner Hall. He would often buy out tables from other dealers when they decided to discontinue selling there.
He’s quick to point out that he didn’t start the Warwick Grange tag sale – a flea market was held in building for years decades earlier. “I’ve been here for about 15 years,” he said.
The tag sale fills the entire lower floor of the Grange, where almost anything can be found on any given weekend, from fuzzy dice, to music albums to collectible toy cars. Fuller also features “Mystery Treasure Boxes” of items for $1.
Looking for something specific? Fuller can usually point you in the right direction.
“It’s hard, at my age I forget where things are – I’ve got a little bit of everything,” he said. And it’s best to come early – at his age, he often heads home early if business is slow.
For model train aficionados, visit upstairs to see train layouts by members of the Providence Northern Model Railroad Club, open 12 noon to 4 p.m., on “most Saturdays.” (There is an admission fee for special events – check their website.)
For FaceBook fans, a page is available: http://www.facebook.com/WarwickGrangeTagSale
The Railroad Club also has a FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/providencenorthern