VALPARAISO | Andrea Piecuch came to the old Porter hospital "garage" sale Saturday morning on a mission.
“This is what I came for,” she said, nodding to two bedside tables on rollers beside her in the checkout line.
“We have a real need for handicap equipment,” she said. “I have a paraplegic son, and my husband is diabetic and has half of his foot amputated.”
Piecuch, of Michigan City, and her 14-year-old grandson, Rog Piecuch, were among hundreds of residents who showed up early at a sale to liquidate thousands of nonmedical items from the former hospital at 814 Laporte Ave.
Everything must go due to the hospital's relocation, including file cabinets, office chairs, desks, recliners, sleeper sofas, kitchen equipment, refrigerators, ice machines, freezers, flat screen televisions, printers, clocks and paintings.
The sale continues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Items are being sold cash and carry only and must be removed at the time of payment.
Centurion Service Group, a medical equipment auction house, hosted the sale on behalf of Porter hospital.
All proceeds will go back to the hospital, said Eric Wilensky, vice president with Centurion.
“We had about 100 people outside when we opened, and it's been very steady today,” Wilensky said of the turnout.
Several items sold out during the first hour of the sale, including ice machines, televisions and executive desks, Wilensky said. Printers and computer monitors were “moving fast,” he said.
Wilensky said prices will be reduced on Sunday if items aren't selling.
Brandon Miller, 14, of Wheatfield, found a chair, a clock and a line conditioner that will help keep his computer from overheating.
His grandmother, Stacy Miller, said she was looking mainly for furniture such as lounge chairs and rocking chairs.
“We came for the ice makers, but they were already sold out,” Stacy Miller said.
While some residents had clear goals about what they came to purchase, others just came to browse and see what was available.
Chesterton residents Mary Rudolphi and Jim Burkhart looked at paper shredding machines in a room on the first floor of the hospital.
“We just came to look around,” Rudolphi said. “There was plenty of parking so we decided to come in.”