Unconventional path to community Oreland woman administers virtual yard sale on Facebook
21st Century Media News
Meet Melanie Stampone: a savvy, yard sale guru of sorts. The Oreland resident is the creator and administrator of Springfield Township (Montco) Area Online Yard Sale, a closed Facebook group that acts as a virtual yard sale. The group is meant to create a safe, friendly and convenient environment for Springfield residents to exchange belongings with their neighbors. Members upload pictures of items they wish to sell, and potential buyers message them privately.
Stampone created the group in October 2012, after hearing about a friend’s positive experience with a similar online organization.
“A friend of mine belonged to one in New Jersey, and I was asking her about it,” she said. “I just thought it was a great idea to make some money.”
The Facebook group immediately gained popularity in the online community.
“Everybody started asking about it,” Stampone said, adding that she heard people discussing the Springfield online yard sale at the gym or grocery store.
Currently the group has about 2,500 members, a number that is continuously growing.
Stampone described the group as a more comfortable version of Craigslist.
“It’s a local, not-so-creepy Craigslist,” she said with a laugh. “It’s designed so you have to meet in Springfield Township.”
Buyers and sellers meet at Starbucks, playgrounds and other local locations to exchange merchandise. Members sell all types of items, from clothes, shoes and Coach bags to furniture and party supplies.
“Someone actually posted packages of mac and cheese,” laughed Stampone, who recently purchased Phillies decorations for her son’s fourth birthday party. “You can sell anything.”
Stampone has also bought a patio set, complete with table and chairs, for only $4.
“A can of spray paint made it look new,” she said.
Lately, she received a Michael Kors watch at no cost and only had to buy a new battery. “People are so nice,” she said. Members of the Springfield online yard sale have found it to be extremely profitable.
“One woman paid for her trip to Disney World with all the money she made,” Stampone said, adding that she regularly receives thank you notes from buyers and sellers. “You get to clean out your closets and make some extra cash too. It’s a win-win.”
Because the group is local, members have gotten to know each other.
“It’s a social thing too,” Stampone said. “There are so many nice people on it that I’ve met. The community response has been awesome.”
Stampone does not get paid for her work as administrator and admits that monitoring the group can sometimes be time-consuming.
“I’m a working mom, I have three kids, I’m always running somewhere,” said Stampone, who works as a perinatal sonographer performing high- risk OB ultrasounds. Through her career, she continuously meets mothers who need supplies for their new babies and introduces them to the yard sale.
On her own time, Stampone constantly approves new members, oversees transactions and periodically deletes images of items that were already sold.
She said she was thankful for Amy Lesniak, a second administrator who helps with the group’s upkeep.
“She helps me clean up the page. She’s another set of eyes,” Stampone said.
Despite the time commitment, Stampone does not let the yard sale dominate her life.
“I try to push it to when my kids are in bed,” she said. “I try not to let it interfere with my family.” Then she laughed. “Whenever something is missing around the house, my kids will say, ‘ Mom, did you sell it at the yard sale?’”
The layout and organization of Facebook limits the yard sale’s arrangement a little, meaning items cannot be sorted specifically by type.
“You can’t really break it into categories,” said Stampone, although she indicated that the local accessibility seems to outweigh any slight inconvenience. “You take a picture with your phone, post it and people message you.”
Stampone encourages more community members to get involved.
“We’re open to new members,” Stampone said, but she urged users to read the guidelines before posting, buying or selling.
“Keep it local, keep it friendly,” she said. “Be nice because they’re all your neighbors.”
She currently has no plans to expand her organization beyond Facebook and is happy with the convenience that social networking offers users.
“Right now we’re just having fun with it,” Stampone said. “You never know what the future holds.”