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Monday, August 20, 2012

Manager of Braddock Road yard sales defends his business


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.

Sugg’s associate, Carlos Ortega, says homeowners receive $150 to host a yard sale on their front lawn.

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.

8 comments:

  1. NoVa Citizen8/20/12, 1:45 PM

    Another excellent article finding the culprit of these yard sales and getting him to speak for himself.

    That said, it seems that he has found a loophole to be able to effectively turn a residential neighborhood into a commercial district. I am not sure what can be done other than boycotting the "business" so that he no longer has incentive to run his business in a residential neighborhood.

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  2. Maybe its time the IRS knows about his little tax free business venture.

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  3. Someone should just knock his block off and put him and us all out of our misery!

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  4. We should boycott paying our taxes, if our taxes can't protect us from these kind of bandits!

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  5. Curious...is that white truck tagged? If so, please provide a pic. I know of a white truck that is "tagged" on the driver's side.

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  6. It is a business, he pays employees and rents space. The County can charge him for not having a business license and running an illegal business. Why are they not?

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  7. Jeff Blackford, director of Fairfax County’s Department of Code Compliance, told us “we’re out there every weekend,” investigating the yard sales and working closely with other agencies. “The challenge for us is they move around a lot.” He confirmed that residents are allowed to have two yard sales a year, but “cannot sell resale items.”

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  8. Is he running a non profit for the vet it seems to me if u wonderful citizens won't hire our returning troops. with ppsd y don't u try and help them do it the right way instead of beating him down and threatening him u assholes

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