TULALIP — The expansive gravel parking lot at 10274 27th Ave. NE, just northeast of the Tulalip Resort Hotel and Casino, came alive with commerce for the fourth season in a row on Saturday, April 26, and Sunday, April 27, as those who ignored the weekend’s dismal weather forecasts were treated to unexpectedly sunny skies at the Boom City Swap Meet.
Joe Whitney made his sales pitches with the enthusiastic volume of a carnival barker, drawing shoppers such as Wes Maleta, as well as Adrian Contreras and his son Cristibol, with his eclectic assortment of electronic goods and random household items.
“I’ve got shoes for two dollars,” Whitney exclaimed. “I’ve got vacuum cleaners for $10, and DVD players for the same price, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, I’ve even got a Blu-ray player or two.”
In spite of her self-professed nickname being the “Crazy Coupon Lady,” Lynnwood’s Debbie Gatti took more of a soft-sell approach to attracting customers. Then again, given that she’s been peddling her wares at the Boom City Swap Meet for three of the four years that it’s been in operation, she’s developed enough of a following that many of her customers now seek her out.
“I’m always in stall H-9,” Gatti said, relaxing in her chair under the tent she placed over her multiple tables full of household goods, in anticipation of a rainfall that gladly never came. “That way, my customers always know exactly where I’m at.”
Gatti acquired her moniker due to the fact that all of her items for sale were purchased with coupons, and as diverse as her selection is, when a prospective customer inquires about her inventory, she can answer their questions right away.
“Do you have any hair products that can make straight hair go curly?” one woman asked.
“You’ll want to look for something with the word ‘volumizer’ on it,” Gatti told her on April 26. “If I don’t have it here, come back tomorrow and I’ll have fetched some from My stash.”
Terry Sue Nielson, who took over the Boom City Swap Meet this year from newly elected Tulalip Tribal Board Vice Chair Les Parks, reported that they’d signed up 67 vendors on April 26, but only 27 on April 27, due to prevailing forecasts of rain. As for how many shoppers and browsers attended the event’s first weekend of the year, that’s just a matter of counting cars.
“We charge $1 for each vehicle this year, and that Saturday, we had 888 cars come through,” Nielson said. “We didn’t charge on Sunday, but I’d still guess we saw 300 cars.”
Nielson expects those numbers to double, at least, on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4.
“A lot of people didn’t know we were open yet, and because the weatherman kept saying it would rain, they opted not to come this past weekend,” Nielson said. “Be sure to come on out this coming weekend, because it should be sunny.”
The Boom City Swap Meet will be open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will welcome a variety of merchandise vendors, including producers of handmade arts and crafts, purveyors of antiques and 15 food vendors, including those serving up traditional Native American barbecue salmon.
“We have our free bouncy house, a new clown who’s also a face-painter, and we’re looking into doing pony rides again,” Nielson said. “Those were a hit during our first two years.”
After closing temporarily from June 7 to July 11, to accommodate the Boom City fireworks vendors, the Boom City Swap Meet will reopen on Saturday, July 12, and remain open through early September.
“The more vendors the public sees, the more they’ll come out,” Nielson said. “We have room for 200 vendors. Also, our food court is awesome. This coming weekend will see all of our regulars return, from snow cones and shaved ice to Hawaiian, Filipino and Mexican food, plus fry bread, sandwiches and more. We love being an attraction, and somewhere people can go and just have fun.”