If you haven’t heard about the Just Between Friends sale yet, let me be the first person to, first, welcome you back from living in a cave, and second, to introduce you to the semi-annual consignment sales event that most families in Sonoma County move their schedules around.

This is not an event you want to miss.

Taking place on Sept. 6-8 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, the event fills the Grace Pavilion with everything from children’s clothing to strollers to toys and so much more. On Sept. 5th they’ll hold a special pre-sale for first-time parents and grandparents, teachers, childcare providers, and military families. And on Sept. 8, admission is free to the event, and anything that is left will be 50% off.

Visit their website at northbay.jbfsale.com for information on sale times and more.

Photo courtesy of North Bay JBF

I recently got to chat with Jennifer Hundley, the franchise co-owner (her husband, Matt Hundley, is the other owner) of the North Bay’s Just Between Friends sale, and she filled me in on what parents can expect at the upcoming sale.

1. What have you noticed parents needing most in your fall sales of JBF?
Winter coats, holiday outfits, Halloween costumes are definitely sought-after items during the fall sales. Savvy moms tend to stock up on gifts for the holidays. How they keep those gifts hidden until December, I don’t know!! Floor toys, strollers, high chairs, books, etc. are needed year-round, are always in great supply, and are always big sellers. In general, parents come prepared with their family’s needs and are just thrilled to find incredible bargains across the board.

2. Have things changed from when you first started the JBF sale, and now?
Really, since day one the only significant change is in the magnitude of the event. From the start nearly four years ago in the 7,200 sq/ft EC Kraft Building to where we are today in the 40,500 sq/ft Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, there’s been a great increase in items for sale, consignors, shoppers and team members helping onsite. Every year we respond with more rack space, more checkout registers, etc. In fact, we’ve nearly quadrupled the amount of rack space from 480 linear feet in that first sale to more than 1,800 linear feet today! Through it all, the folks at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds have been amazing. Their flexibility and understanding has been instrumental in allowing this community event to grow.

3. How has the public responded to the sale, first year vs. now?
The community response has been incredible and the sale has become a must-attend shopping event for families throughout the North Bay, and beyond. Many families know to plan ahead and schedule their vacations outside of JBF, take time off from work if needed and line up a babysitter to make shopping more peaceful. We’ve even had moms schedule their C-sections around JBF sale dates! It’s key to remember that this is a consignment event, not a garage sale, and shoppers have come to understand that the quality merchandise on the sales floor is reflective of the care shown by the previous owners.

4. What’s your favorite part of holding a sale like this?
By far it’s the community aspect, and that in itself is two-fold. First, providing a safe, under-one-roof environment connecting families needing items for their growing children with other families looking to find homes for the items their kids have outgrown – it’s such a win-win! Second, helping to advance the causes of important organizations in our community. Items donated by consignors benefit Crossing the Jordan, a 501c3 that provides shelter, hope and guidance to women in our community; mothers that seek to escape dangerous situations and transform their lives. Admission fees are donated to Active 20-30, a service organization committed to helping local disadvantaged children. These funds go directly to local kids through the annual “Children’s Shopping Spree” event each August, which outfits kids with back to school clothing, a haircut and basic supplies to help level the playing field as kids start the school year.

5. What vendors can we expect at this year’s sale?
We’re thrilled to welcome back G&G Markets – they are such a great community-focused partner that our shoppers see in many ways – use of G&G shopping carts during the event, healthy product samples and more. We are so thankful for their involvement. Other vendors include: Colors of Spanish, Sports City Lil’ Kickers, St. Luke Lutheran School and Lolli Girl BOWtique.

6. What would you suggest for a family who is looking to get the most bang for their buck?
Come prepared with list of needs for the coming months and even beyond. Have a game plan and determine must-haves – the Grace Pavilion is 40,500 square feet and it will be packed! Cute clothes abound but look for larger items like strollers, activity mats, etc., first as they tend to be scooped up more quickly. When looking through the clothes, take some time as there will be a HUGE selection. Don’t forget to look one or two sizes ahead and return for the 50% off sale on Sunday!

7. Any ideas on what parents can expect to find among the things for sale?
Every season, every year, is different. A quick peek in the online tagging system shows gliders, Bob strollers, Radio Flyer big wheels, Ugg boots, ski/snow outfits, LOTS books, games and clothes, clothes, clothes!

8. What can families find if they’re looking for school supplies?
JBF is a great place to find backpacks for school. We bought a great Western Chief pack for our son last year for less than $10 and a Thomas the Train lunchbox for $3! You will find home school supplies and books for kids of all ages and reading levels. Got kids enrolled in sports or music programs? Uniforms, cleats, baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls, mitts, helmets, gloves, musical instruments, sheet music, etc. can all be found at JBF!

9. Anything else?
We have so much fun organizing this event and are so happy that it’s become the community’s premier kid’s shopping event. We love that we know who the first consignors are that ever walked through the doors to drop off their items. We love that many, MANY of the team members from that original sale still help out today. We’re dedicated to making this event run as smoothly as possible and thank the hundreds of local moms and families who donate their time each season to put on this event. If anyone is interested in helping onsite this time around, please join the team as help is needed 8am-10pm daily Tuesday, Sept. 3rd through Sunday, Sept. 8th.

For more information on the sale, please visit northbay.jbfsale.com.