|6620 Braddock Road, near Birch Lane.|
The same white truck that had been seen at other Braddock Road commercial yard sales was spotted at a yard sale at 6620 Braddock Road, Annandale, Aug. 17, and the same types of merchandise—washers, dryers, refrigerators, microwave ovens, audio equipment, framed pictures, and piles of clothes—were spread out on the lawn.
Michael Tyrone Suggs was there, too, and he acknowledged that he has been managing the yard sales up and down Braddock Road for the past few months and owns the truck that delivers the merchandise.
Suggs says the receipts from a typical yard sale are about $2,000, but he usually nets about $300 to $400 after paying his assistants and the homeowner, other costs, and donations to charity. According to Suggs, a portion of the proceeds from the sale at 6620 will be given to Disabled American Veterans.
Suggs says he gets the items for sale from donations, from “people cleaning out their garage,” and buys some of them. Some neighbors who have complained to the authorities about the yard sales have suggested that the items for sale have been stolen, but Suggs says “the police took down the serial numbers” and determined it’s all legitimate.
Neighbors have repeatedly urged Fairfax County code compliance officials and the police to shut down the yard sales because they are illegal, cause dangerous traffic conditions, are an eyesore, and bring down property values.
But Suggs insists he has the right to earn a livelihood by operating yard sales, as long as he complies with the county ordinance that prohibits more than two yard sales at the same address per year. [The ordinance also prohibits yard sales with items not specifically purchased for resale.] The police came by 6220 Braddock during the yard sale Saturday but didn’t take any action.
Suggs says he’s a disabled veteran—wounded in Iraq—and even though he has an MBA from Syracuse University, he’s been unemployed and “no one wants to hire a disabled vet with PTSD.” He says the guys he hires to help with the yard sales are vets, too.
The county ordinance on yard sales means Suggs must continually find new homeowners (or renters) willing to host yard sales. That’s not a problem, he says. “People who bought from me when I had the yard sales at 4500 Braddock [the rental house where he lives] were upset when they were shut down,” he recalls. “My phone blew up. People said, ‘you can have one at my home.’”
“If a neighbor wants to have a yard sale and hires someone to coordinate it, that’s their prerogative,” he says. Whenever he has a yard sale, Suggs says, nearby residents bring their unwanted stuff for him to sell. He likes Braddock Road, he says, because there’s so much traffic.
Fairfax County isn’t the first location where Suggs has managed commercial yard sales; he says he’s also done the same thing in Hampton, Va., and Altoona, Pa.