Pennysaver Blog

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2013 Parade of Lights Application

August 28th, 2013 by Mike McCormack

2013 “A Christmas to Remember Parade of Lights.”
The Holiday Season Will Shine: Be part of the magic and help us illuminate downtown!

The Norwich Pennysaver, The Evening Sun, Norwich Fire Department, and Norwich Merchants are looking for floats, dancers, musical groups, bands, colorguards, motorcycles, police and fire departments, and individuals to cover themselves in lights!

Please fill out the entry form and help us kick off the 2013 holiday season!

May Edition: Clutter to Cash

May 4th, 2011 by cedwards


It is finally time to get serious about having your sale and using that money toward something you really need, or just something you want. We have walked you through setting up. Here is what you need to finish up:

• Find out the deadline for family sale ads in your local Pennysaver/My Shopper, and make certain you have your ad in on time. (You can visit an office, phone in an ad, or even place it online!)
o You will not be successful if you don’t have customers to buy all those things you have gotten ready for your sale!
• Your ad should provide directions if you don’t live in a high traffic area. Not everyone knows the local names for roads and landmarks, so always give an actual address – then people can use their GPS or the Internet to find you, if necessary.
• Your ad should list the types of items you have for sale. Separately list those things you think will draw the most people. During “the season” many people won’t get to all the sales – yours needs to stand out. Be creative!

Use the free signs you get with every sale ad placed in person. Put these in front of your house. If your location if off the beaten path, use other signs to help get people to your house.
• Include the date and times on the sign. No one wants to drive for miles and find out the sale was last week!
• Also, keep in mind, no one can read ½” letters written in pencil on brown cardboard while travelling at 55 mph! Use black ink on white, yellow or neon paper for readability. Make letters about 3” high.
• Post your sign on someone else’s property with permission only.
• Plan for wind and rain – make your sign sturdy enough to withstand both.

Check out
You need a sturdy table with some room to check people out. Have the following handy:
• A lot of change – bills and coins. Many people get paid on Friday and head out to sales on Saturday morning and want to pay with a $20.
• Bags – you want people to buy at your sale, and they want to easily get their things into their vehicle.
• Newspaper – to wrap those breakable treasures
• Paper and pen – to write notes if you are a one family sale, or to keep track of who gets what money if you are a multiple family sale.

Think about
• Are you going to allow anyone to write a check?
• Are you going to bicker on prices?
• What are you going to the say to the people who try to come to your sale the day before, or two hours before your sale starts?

Questions for us? Let us know by posting your question to our blog. Like us on Facebook to see our other Clutter to Cash hints.

April Edition: Clutter to Cash

April 6th, 2011 by cedwards

Now you should be well on your way to preparing for your sale, but if you aren’t, there is still time to get started and still have a great, money-making sale. Remember as you sort and prep, if there are large items you think will sell for less than $100, they can be advertised in the Pennysaver now, for FREE.

If you have been following our blog monthly, we are getting closer to sale day! We also post weekly tips on our Facebook page , and one of them dealt with pricing. It bears repeating here:
For most normal sale items, the rule of thumb is to price at 10-15% of the original cost. Items which have never been used/worn can be marked at a higher percentage, as can items which are collectible or rare. Keep in mind, many people will negotiate at your sale (that is part of the fun!), so you can choose to mark at a higher percentage and bicker as you go.

Set Up
Evaluate your space and make a quick drawing of what you think should go where. Consider what types of items you have, lighting, and what you feel you need closer to you at check out. This sketch will help you determine what tables, racks and other display items you may need.
o Look into borrowing racks and tables now. Graduations, weddings, and other events require tables, so your local church, etc. may already have them loaned out for other functions.
o Be creative in creating display space - stuffed animals can go into laundry baskets, two ladders and a pipe can make a clothes rack.
• Take the time to clean your garage/sale space – sweep the floor, get rid of the cobwebs, clean windows, etc. Believe it or not, this can help you get more money for your items.
• Lighting is key to a successful sale. Customers do not want to have to bring everything out into the sunlight to see if they want to purchase it, and you don’t want them carrying everything around, either. If you don’t have adequate built-in lighting, consider using trouble lights or other lighting so items can be seen.
• Cover, mark or move anything in your garage that is not for sale – people will try to buy whatever they see, price tag or not. Consider white sheets stapled to the wall and draped over items not for sale. They cover, and make your garage look neater, and more inviting.

Overall, the easier it is to see items, the more you will sell. Good display can increase your sales substantially.
• Kitchen items – put utensils and kitchen tools in a box. Large kitchen items like pots, pans and appliances can be placed on the floor with smaller and glass items displayed on tables or shelves.
• Clothing should be folded or hung. Choose some way to organize the clothing – kids vs adults, and then by size, is one way to organize.
• Shoes can be put on shoe racks or lined up on the floor.
• Glassware should be put on sturdy tables which are easy to reach.
• Games and toys can go just about anywhere – small toys can be put into plastic containers, or zippered storage bags.
• Jewelry – pairs of earrings should be put together; necklaces and bracelets can be put on white cardboard with tape, pins or notches cut to hold them. Foam core board or corkboard are also great ways to make jewelry easy to see. Try to avoid zippered bags – they don’t show off jewelry well.
• Books are best in a bookcase or on a shelf. Make certain the spines or covers are easy to see.
• Linens should be folded or hung. A laundry drying rack can help show many items in a small space.
• Use large, colorful items to your advantage by putting them near the street to garner interest.

Next time we will discuss advertising and signage.

Questions for us? Let us know by posting your question to our blog. Like us on Facebook to see our other Clutter to Cash hints.

Clutter to Cash: February/March Edition

March 4th, 2011 by mspier

Hopefully you have been sorting and cleaning out all those areas of your home which accumulate “stuff.” If you aren’t done with that part, just keep at it and check out our January blog to see some key pointers. If you have some of your “stuff” sorted, this blog is for you!

Prep Your Items
• Clothes – make certain any clothes you have for sale are clean and in good repair – no stains, rips, zippers are working, etc. Items that could get wrinkled should be hung.
• Glassware and housewares– wash all these items. It will display better and you will be able to get higher prices. Throw away anything with chips or cracks (unless the piece is an antique piece).
• Linens – make sure these items are cleaned, fresh and neatly folded. Anything in sets, such as towels or sheets, should be put together.
• Books – make sure children’s books are not scribbled in and don’t have torn pages
• Jewelry – clean jewelry and also make certain it is not broken.
• Toys – make sure all pieces are included and that they are still safe for child’s play. You can bag items together for one price, like all those small dinosaurs at the bottom of the toy box!
• Other items – clean them as best as possible and make certain they can be used for their intended function. People don’t like to spend time looking at items which are broken, etc. It gives your sale a bad look and doesn’t encourage people to stay and buy.

Mark Your Items
Gather together the following items before you begin marking: black permanent marker(s), roll of masking tape, clear tape, scissors, rubber bands, zip ties, white string tags, removable round stickers (get a color that allows your writing to be seen, and one where the tag itself is easily seen, we recommend neon orange – ¾” diameter), 3 x 5 cards, and plastic bags with zip closures (variety of sizes).
• Clothes – use masking tape and black marker to put a tag on each item. Choose a spot and try to put the tape in that same position. Include the size and price of each item for easier shopping.
• Glassware and housewares – use your removable stickers and put in a prominent place
• Linens – put sets together with pins, in the same bag or with masking tape. Pin a white string tag on the edge of each item so it can be found easily.
• Books – use removable stickers if they will be different prices, if they will all be the same price, put them together and mark the box or put a sign near them.
• Jewelry – mark each piece individually with string tags, or display neatly by price or with a sign with prices. Jewelry is best displayed close to the check out table.
• Toys/Games – use your stickers. If there are multiple pieces, put them in a baggie and attach them to the toys or put the in the box.
• Other items – Remember, you need tags to stay on and be easy to find and to read. Try to make the tag visible without making the person handle an item, e.g. don’t put tags on the bottom of glassware; this will avoid items being broken and will make it easier for people to buy.

Many people don’t mark their items at all – this will likely limit your sales. People don’t want to keep asking you about prices for each item they are interested in. In addition, if you are busy, which you will be if you advertise with a great ad, you won’t be available to give prices, you will be busy collecting money.

Questions about other items – how to prep or mark them? Let us know by posting your question to our blog.

Take the Cake!

February 1st, 2011 by mspier

Bridal Show Enthusiasts: Have we got a show for you! On Saturday, Feb 27th, the Northeast Classic Car Museum will be hosting the Wedding Wonderland Bridal Show. However, the Pennysaver has put a little twist on this show.

Jennifer Tanis Rice of Ideal Cakes and Cookies, Kelly Banks of Kelly Banks Cakes and Marjorie Landers of Marjorie Landers Wedding Cakes will vie against each other live at the show to make the best cake possible for a Bride-To-Be. No matter which cake the bride chooses, the Pennysaver will award her $250 towards her wedding cake. Registration to be the lucky bride is still open until Feb 4th by registering at this link at Celebration Creations.

This show is free and open to the public - Hope to see you there!

January Edition: Clutter to Cash

January 26th, 2011 by admin

This launches our newest service to the Pennysaver and My Shopper communities – a complete guide to preparing for, and running, a family sale. It only makes sense that this service would be offered by The Pennysaver and My Shopper, as we bring more people to your family sale than anyone else can!

You may be wondering why we would be talking about family sales in January – you certainly aren’t going to have an outside sale in January in upstate New York. Well, having a successful (and profitable) sale takes time and planning. The more time you put in, the more cash you will have in your pocket at the end! Also, a lot of people tend to organize early in the year, and organizing creates the need to get rid of items you no longer need or want. Thus, your clutter…to turn into cash…cash to take you on vacation, cash to get someone that special gift, cash to get something you’ve always wanted, or cash to help pay the bills!

Getting started could be the hardest part of your sale, and that’s where we can help. We will take you through the process, step by step. Get information from our monthly blog, as well as special weekly tips shared on Facebook. Take advantage of the interactive nature of this blog to post questions and get answers. Excerpts of the blog will also appear in our print editions on a routine basis.

January – Preparation:
- Gather together some boxes or bins. You will need at least three. Also have a permanent marker and some masking tape. Label your bins - one “donate,” one “sell” and the other “trash.” Keep in mind most things have value to someone, so your trash box/bin could be the most empty when you are through.

- Choose a space you want to clean out. Make it manageable so you can complete it in about an hour – perhaps your linen closet or your kids’ toy box. Sort through each item. Things you want to keep put in a pile to put back. Items you are not keeping need to go in one bin. If it is not broken, ripped or stained, assume you can put it in the donate or sell bin. Even if it is a toy and right now it is not complete, save it for the time being – you might find the rest in an unlikely spot! Items that are broken, ripped or stained should be put in the trash box/bin. You don’t want undesirable items taking away from all your good stuff at sale time. If the item is in question, let us know what it is and we can try to help. (A special note on vintage or antique items – condition is not always a reason to throw these types of items away. Keep them for the time being.)

- Start spending a few more hours sorting through cupboards, drawers, closets, and other areas in your house, cellar, attic and garage, as time and heat allow! Add labeled boxes/bins as you fill up your first ones.

- Store your sell boxes together in a spare room or storage space. Boxes/bins that are all the same size and shape will store the best as you will be able to fit more in the space by piling them up. You may choose to get rid of your donate boxes if someone needs them right now, or store them as well. Obviously, trash can be trashed!

Advertise the good stuff
Remember, if you have any individual, larger ticket items you find as you get started, you can place a FREE classified ad in the Pennysaver (Norwich, Sidney, Turnpike, Wharton Valley and Oneonta/Cooperstown) and My Shopper at any time for items priced up to $100! This can help you clear out some items now and get you some cash to pay off those holiday bills!

Watch our Facebook page and our print edition for several more January hints, and look for our next blog installment in February, when we’ll be helping you sort through your donate and sell boxes!

Tag technology debuts in the Pennysaver!

January 23rd, 2011 by mspier

The Oneonta-Cooperstown Pennysaver is our first publication to introduce tags to our readers. Tags are a great new technology designed to bridge the real, print world to the virtual, online world. In just a few moments, you can download an app and be transported to a variety of different experiences.

Below is an image of a tag…

Pennysaver Tag

To help everyone learn more about Tags, we have created the Tag It™ page, where tags will take you to a variety of different places…check out cars at local dealerships, look at some local real estate and find out what a local jeweler is paying for gold!

Our creative staff, advertising consultants and our advertisers are working on other unique and interesting ways to use tags – like having local night spots preview bands by linking to their videos and being able to call businesses to make appointments just by reading a tag.

To use tags, you will need a web-enabled phone with a camera. Once you download the free app at, you are ready to begin reading tags. Please keep in mind all phones are different, so you may have to see what works best for your phone. Here are a few tips:

The phone does not necessarily have to be close to the tag, as long as the tag is centered in the viewer. In fact, we have found about 8” from the page seems to work the best. If you are too close, the image gets blurry and then the tag is not readable.

Environmental lighting can impact your ability to read tags. Think of lighting as you would when taking a photograph – better light will lead to a better image.

Please post if you have comments. We would like to know what you think, and also let us know if you are encountering any issues by either posting or emailing us at

Thanks for being part of the launch of this new technology!

Bonus Bucks are here!

November 26th, 2010 by mspier

The Pennysaver is giving away $1800 in the next three weeks!

Here are the details and what you need to do to win:

Each of the next three weeks there will be six winners that get $100 each (a total of 18 winners!). To enter you may go to any of the businesses listed below and fill out ONE entry at that business each week. While you may only fill out one entry per business per week, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to all of the businesses and fill out one entry at each one of them. On December 3, 10 and 17, the winners will be drawn. If you are not one the the first six winners on Dec. 3rd, you can go back to all of the businesses again and fill out another form. However, you may only win once. If you do win, you will be able to spend the $100 at any of the merchants below. Pretty nice pre-Christmas contest, huh?

Good luck everyone!

Service Pharmacy
Mayhood’s Sporting Goods
Nazzitto’s Wines & Liquors
First Edition Bookstore
Mrs. B’s Warehouse & Consignment Shop
Olde Thyme Remedies
McNeil’s Jewelers
Nina’s Pizzeria & Restaurant
Scholet Furniture
McLaughlin’s Dept. Store
Thymely Treasures, Gifts & Home Decor
Skillin’s Jewelers
Denny’s Wine & Liquors
Reese Marshall Oil Co.
Sew Nice
Taylor’s Mini-Marts

Service Pharmacy
Gilligan’s Islabd
Sherburne Sports
Skip’s Market
Top Variety

Bartle’s Pharmacy

New Berlin:
Gillee’s NAPA
Service Pharmacy

Menopause the Musical Ticket Winners!

November 2nd, 2010 by mspier

Well Pennysaver fans, after a day of deliberation among our five-person panel consisting of four women and one very brave man, we have voted for the three winners of the Menopause the Musical tickets.
The winners were voted on based on their story of how they met their best friend. The three winners will each receive two tickets to the the opening night show on Nov. 9 at the Forum Theatre in Binghamton.

These choices were not easy as we had many excellent choices. However, if you were not one of the three winners it is likely that the one guy on the panel voted for you :)

Here are the winners:

Each one of my three best friends came along at different times in my life. I am extremely lucky that all three of them are also very close to one another. One, Emerine, I have had since Middle School. One, Oldsie, I have known since high school but we didn’t actually become good friends until we were married and had children, and one, Mere, I made recently while switching to a new church. We all have large families. Two of us are married with 4 children and two are married with three children.

One night at Bible Study we realized how hard it was for us to get any time alone with our husbands with out having to pay a fortune for a babysitter. So we devised the Kids Swap program. For four hours every Friday one of us hosts all 14 children at their house while the other three get to go out and have time with their spouses. While we might not always go out for a night on the town we do get to spend some quality kid-free time. One Friday a month I have 14 children at my house but the other Friday’s I have none.

The only problem with this program is finding time to have girl time with my best friends!! Winning tickets would be a great way for all of us to get together with out having to spend much money. Having large families in this economy makes it almost impossible to go out and see something like Menopause The Musical!!
Jennifer Peterson

I was bored one night so asked my little sister to go fishing with me. It was a night in April about 15 years ago. We went to the bridge (in Sidney) and started casting off the bridge. Somehow when my sister swung back to cast and the hook got caught in my hair.

It was dark on the bridge and we could not see so we went to cross the street and walked towards the Quickway (corner of Main and River St.). I saw a woman in the store window and thought, “Wow, maybe she can help me get the hook out of my hair.”

So I started to walk across the street, my sister had given me a lead from the fishing pole, and then suddenly she started reeling in. Could not believe it! She is reeling me in on the street as we were walking towards the Quickway. The woman in the Quickway started to laugh so hard. We get into the store and she is staring in total disbelief and laughing at the same time. We start to laugh my sister and I. The lady says, “I thought I saw everything but this is crazy.”

She helped me get the hook out of my head. We are best friends to this day.
Vesna Hoblitz

When I was 5 years old my parents bought a house. Shortly after our move, school started. I was shy and quiet. One day, when walking home from the bus stop, I dropped my composition book (we did not have backpacks then). A girl picked it up and handed it to me. Her name was Barbie. She was my next door neighbor. She was one year older than me.

When I said “Thank you” she smiled and asked me why I was so quiet. We have been best friends ever since. It’s been 46 years since that date. She is now in Florida and I am in Central NY but not distance or time has broken the bond of friendship. Last year, I flew to Florida to celebrate my 50th birthday with her. We spent a week at Treasure Island and it was like we had not seen each other for 2 weeks although it had been 30+ years. We stay in touch via Facebook.
Saida DeLeon

Here are just a couple of our honorable mentions:
I actually met my best friend in grade school, but it wasn’t until after I moved away for three years and came back in 7th grade that I realized it!

Back in 6th grade I had a big blow up Oscar Meyer hot dog (why, I don’t know!) and on the last day of school a bunch of friends signed it before I moved away. That keepsake was pulled out after I moved back to my hometown and one signature was from Yvette, but I didn’t remember her.

Within a very short time of my return we were best friends and have remained so ever since! It will soon be 30 years of friendship and we’ve seen each other through life’s ups and downs. Good times, sad times, hard times. We’ve laughed until we’ve cried and cried until we laughed. We may not be able to see each other very often but we know that both one of us can pick up the phone at any given moment and we’d be there!

Due to the distance between us and our busy families (both of us have children) we have not done anything together in at least five years :( and I would LOVE the opportunity to see Menopause together.
Sheila Walker

I met my BFF, (Theresa), about 35 years ago, in the basement of a Church in Binghamton. We were both there for a Weight Watchers meeting and we introduced ourselves and sat together for the meeting. Before the next weeks meeting, my husband (who worked for the Post Office), had a softball game and I went to watch it.

When I got there, to my surprise, there was this girl (Theresa) that I had just met. To both our surprise, her husband, who had just been hired by the Post Office, was playing on the team with my husband and they didn’t know each other either.

Needless to say, 35 years later we are still BFFs as well as our husbands. We have done a lot together and been through a lot together (sometimes we included our husband too!). We have been BFFs for so long that strangers say we look like sisters and that is okay because she is my BFF and in my heart she is my sister. I would really like to win these tickets to “Menapause, The Musical” so I could take my BFF (Theresa) with me.
Mary McKown

Note: The stories that you read will also be put into a Pennysaver near you pretty soon along with pictures of the three winners (unless they’re camera-shy). Also, some of these stories were edited to be grammatically correct but the context was not changed.

Menopause the Musical BFF stories

October 11th, 2010 by mspier

Since the beginning of October we’ve had a contest going on for four tickets to Menopause the Musical on Opening Night, November 9th. The best two stories will win two tickets each to this critically acclaimed show being hosted by the Forum Theatre in Binghamton.

If you need some inspiration for writing your story, below are just a few of the excellent submissions that we’ve had thus far. And don’t forget - The entry deadline for this month-long contest is Oct. 31st so get your entries in now! All you have to tell us is:

How did you meet your best friend?

Story 1:
“I met my best friend when we were 2 years old. She was the “new girl” that moved in across the street from my North Norwich home. We used to play together all the time, we started out playing in mud puddles and sand boxes, playing school and house, selling crayfish from the creek outback and pumpkins from our family gardens. Sadly the only one to buy our crayfish was our very own elementary school art teacher. We remained close through elementary school playing volleyball and going to girl scouts and then in high school, playing sports and carpooling. When we continued on to college we didn’t see a whole lot of each other but our volleyball teams played each other and we were able to compete against one another. After college I got engaged and asked her to be my maid of honor. We had been so close and experienced so many firsts together that I couldn’t think of a better person. She was like a sister to me and knew more about me than many of my family members. We used to reminisce about everything we did together and said when we were older we would still be close, we would be the little old ladies, shopping together and sipping coffee. She has since moved out of state and we remain close via Facebook. It would be nice to win the tickets to Menopause the Musical and attend with my very best friend!”

Story 2:
“I met my best friend in line at a grocery store. We both had our daughters with us. Her daughter was having a temper tantrum because she wanted candy and she wanted it NOW. I was standing behind her and could really sense her embarrassment and frustration so I decided to interfere. I softly spoke to her daughter and asked her if she wanted to meet a new friend. My daughter offered to share her book, and they began looking at the book together. Her daughter instantly forgot about the candy and was happy to meet her new friend. While they got to know each other, so did we. That was 15 years ago and we have been best friends ever since!”

Story 3:
“I met my BFF, (Theresa), about 35 years ago, in the basement of a Church in Binghamton. We were both there for a Weight Watchers meeting and we introduced ourselves and sat together for the meeting. Before the next weeks meeting, my husband (who worked for the Post Office), had a softball game and I went to watch it. When I got there, to my surprise, there was this girl (Theresa) that I had just met. To both our surprise, her husband, who had just been hired by the Post Office, was playing on the team with my husband and they didn’t know each other either. Needless to say, 35 years later we are still BFFs as well as our husbands. We have done a lot together and been through a lot together (sometimes we included our husband too!). We have been BFFs for so long that strangers say we look like sisters and that is okay because she is my BFF and in my heart she is my sister. I would really like to win these tickets to “Menopause The Musical” so I could take my BFF (Theresa) with me.”

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