KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The retirement sale for a longtime Knoxville business is far more dramatic than your average liquidation. The store has provided costumes and attire for theatrical productions in East Tennessee for nearly half a century.
"It is different. It's very much different," said James Fisher of J&D Estate Liquidators. "Big Don's Costumier has been a Knoxville landmark since the 1970s. This place is full of costumes and vintage clothes."
The liquidation sale is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 24 (see bottom of article for full details and links).
As Fisher works to organize racks of clothes for the sale, the line between reality and make-believe is easily blurred. Some of the people helping him are dressed as a large panda and the Easter bunny.
"They are part of my crew here," joked Fisher.
The retirement of longtime owner Ramona Didier is very real for Fisher as he tries to organize the items that fill two levels of the building on N. Central Avenue.
"Ramona is retiring and she has hired us, J&D Estate Liquidators, to liquidate her stock. We have a lot of vintage clothing and a lot of show-clothes. It's endless what all is here. Anything you possibly want. We even have a red bathtub downstairs for sale," said Fisher.
This roots of this outfit go back to the 1950s when Donald Buttry opened Big Don's Elegant Junk. Big Don and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of Ramona. The daughter expanded the family business by opening the costume shop in the 1970s.
Endia Puckett wore a Spider-Man suit Thursday as he helped organize items in the store. Puckett says Big Don and Ramona helped him in the 1970s with generosity that was no masquerade.
"God is good. I was boxing back then and Big Don helped sponsor us. The man offered me a job right there in the street. Over the years, I got to know his daughter and she helped me learn a lot about the clothing business. It is so fascinating. There is never a dull moment," said Puckett.
Now every character has a price on its head in the shop as they prepare the final dramatic curtain on a unique Knoxville outfit.
"If you want to just own a piece of Knoxville history, you should check it out. Not everybody is going to get a piece of Big Don's," said Fisher.
LIQUIDATION SALE DETAILS
The sale is set for Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
All upstairs items are marked with price tags. Downstairs clothing items will be sold by the bag. Shoppers will be given 11" by 17" brown paper bags and pay $5 for all the clothes they can fit in each bag.
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The sale website said it will have a brown bag (11 by 17) sale in the basement only. You can fill an entire bag of clothing for $5.
There will also be vintage clothing, costumes, formal wear, beaded dresses, men's suits, vests, pants, hats, and jeans.
The page states they accept cash and checks, Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, and Discover card. There is a 2.75 percent charge added to all credit card transactions.
It asks folks to bring help if they plan to purchase heavy items. The sellers will not be able to help you load vehicles.
Shoppers are asked to park on the house side of the street and not block driveways or mailboxes. It states to see security guards for parking instructions.