Books, photography, community and more offered at Gram’s Garage Sale

Sat August 20, 2022 9:00 AM

Story and photos by Alice Gerard

After retiring from a career in finance, David Gregory found his passion in books.

At the Gram’s garage sale at the Golden Age Center at the Nike base on Aug. 13, Gregory, who had turned a cafeteria table into a bookstore, opened up about how he found his passion.

“I’ve seen too many books left on the sidewalk and advertised that they were going to be thrown out unless someone picked them up,” said Gregory, a 1967 graduate of Grand Island High School. “I originally started as a book rescuer. I’ve scavenged books from people who needed to get rid of them because of life-altering experiences, such as the death of a family member or a family member entering a retirement home or because people are moving. I didn’t like books being discarded or thrown away like this, so I started picking up books. I donate a lot to libraries or social organizations, like shelters. I find a lot of books at the Grand Island Memorial Library. It’s one of my favorite libraries. I really like the staff they have there, the director and the books they have to offer.

The experience he gained during his career in finance helped him transition into his work as a bookseller after his retirement. Gregory said, “I worked as a Corporate Credit and Collections Manager. I had a pretty responsible white-collar job, doing a lot of research and analysis and using my brain and my numbers. It really fits in. It’s been a wonderful part of my retirement: collecting books, selling books. At the moment, due to my physical limitations, I no longer do cleaning. I used to buy big batches of books. But now I don’t do that. I reduced my inventory.

Gregory now sells books online as HappyBooks on Alibris and Etsy, as well as at events such as Gram’s Garage Sale.

“I’m not looking to make a lot of money,” he said. “My big thing, then, has always been to keep books in circulation, to get them read and used. I also like to donate a lot of books. When I lived in Idaho, there were several homeless rescue missions, and I used to give a lot to the women’s rescue mission and the men’s rescue mission. I also buy used Bibles from the Grand Island Memorial Library, many of which I donate to the rescue mission in Niagara Falls.

Photographer Mary Stewart has spent her life behind the camera, capturing images of everyday life, as well as special events. Among the various things she was selling at the yard sale were several framed photographs. She said she got her start in the world of photography when she was in college.

“My dad (Theodore Klingel) built a darkroom in the basement when he saw I was serious about it,” Stewart said. “I developed and printed the pictures that I took after learning how to do the printing process. I used to take pictures at Riverside High School in the morning when we got to the cafeteria, and no one knew I had done it.I went home and developed the photos, printed them and brought them back two days later.

After graduating from Riverside High School in 1959, Stewart began taking pictures for the Island Dispatch.

“It was the first job I had, taking pictures for anyone. It was probably around 1960,” she said.

Stewart, who said cats were her favorite thing to photograph, later took pictures for Isle DeGrande, an online news source for the Grand Island community, which was formerly edited by her late sister, Teddy Linenfelser, and is now edited by Jodi. Robinson, who is also a city historian. She said she has also photographed weddings for her family and friends. She takes photos of special events at the church she attends, Bible Fellowship Center. In addition, she is a photographer for the Golden Age Center and she likes to participate in online contests.

“I also entered several photos into the Pixoto Photo Contest and placed some of them,” Stewart said. “Last year, a flower photo I took was the best of the year in the flower category.”

The thing she loves most about photography is “meeting people,” Stewart said. “Take a picture. You see it through the camera and the result when it’s printed, something to look forward to.

She said she would say to someone who was just starting to learn photography, “Keep it up. When you take a picture, look at the picture and say, ‘OK, what could I have done better?’ Thus, frame by frame, you will improve.

“I always look at my photos and think to myself that I could have had a different angle. I don’t take them apart, but I try to look at them and say, “What could I have done better? ”

“I don’t do commercials but, if something comes up, I do,” Stewart said, adding, “I’m just grateful to my dad for getting me into photography. He was my mentor, and he was the one I looked up to. He took pictures when Teddy and I were growing up. He always took pictures and I followed suit.

Joe Mesmer of Mesmer’s Bees discovered his passion for beekeeping while spending time with his brother, David.

“He’s a beekeeper in Pittsford, near Rochester,” Mesmer said. “I’ve always been interested in that. I thought about it and he did it. I went and he did a bee inspection. It fascinated me. I said, ‘You know what? I want to get in there. He helped me get started. He’s kind of my mentor with the bees.

Mesmer, who has been a beekeeper for three years and currently has three hives on his property, says he enjoys “watching the bees. I go out sometimes and have a cup of coffee. First thing, before breakfast. It’s fascinating to watch them go in and out of the hives. It’s quite relaxing.

Mesmer, who also sells honey at Tom Thompson’s farm on Long Road, said he enjoys “meeting different people and talking to people. This is very fun.”

Ari Sobel, who co-owns Herb ‘N Garden Farms with his wife, Christina Drum, and with Liz and Kevin Colosimo, was at a table outside the Golden Age Center. In front of him were plates displaying several types of tomatoes, ready to be tasted.

“Everyone who tries our samples today loves them. It was great to see people’s reactions to them, with this sales turnout,” Sobel said.

He explained, “Herb ‘N Garden Farms is a 9,000 square foot hydroponic greenhouse that we just opened on Lang Boulevard. Two-thirds are leafy greens, lettuces, microgreens and herbs. A third is made up of tomatoes and hot peppers. It’s 100% hydroponic, non-GMO, herbicide-free. We provide the optimal nutrients for the plants, and we’re air-conditioned, so we’re heated, cooled, and all that. We can grow all year round.

The new venture also sells produce to Tom Thompson’s farm on Long Road, as well as to local restaurants, such as Dick & Jenny’s.

“We invested a lot of time and energy into creating it,” Sobel said. “My partner, Kevin, and I built the greenhouse with our own hands. It’s a labor of love. I think, in a cold climate like this, being able to provide the ability to grow year-round, using 90% less water than conventional farming, and all the benefits that comes with that. It’s also very sensible. We seek to grow and develop.

When asked how people can keep track of the new venture, Sobel replied, “I would say follow us on Facebook and on Instagram. Herb’ngardenfarms. This is where we publish customer popups and sites. »

Wendy Thompson of Thompson and Son Farms, who was also at an outside table at the event, said, “We love coming here and seeing new faces and talking to different people who don’t know about the farm. People are always on the lookout for fresh, local vegetables, fruits, and homemade jams and jellies. It reminds them to go to the farm.

Denise Ricotta, who sold homemade granola, as well as soaps, marble essential oil blends, BBQ rubs and herbal salts, all made by her, said sales had been strong: “I came to this event last year, as well as the one in October (“Holiday Happenings”).”

Jenny Gula, who works at the Golden Age Center, said the event had special meaning for her. She bought porcelain egg cups decorated with images of black raspberries.

“My father planted black raspberries at home and in my garden,” Gula said, explaining that her father passed away a year and a half ago. Egg eaters “remind me of that,” she said, noting that there were six children in her family. She said she had fond memories of gardening with her father and five siblings when she was growing up.

Jen Menter, recreation supervisor at the Golden Age Center, described Gram’s Yard Sale as a “great success. We had a great sense of community. We had so many members come out to participate in this sale, which really warmed my heart. I thank all the volunteers who helped make this the success it has been.

Gula added, “I enjoyed seeing and meeting new friends and the sense of community.”

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