A fire company in Shippensburg is taking a new approach to raise money for a new ladder truck — a grocery sale.
Cumberland Valley Hose Company will host a benefit grocery sale Saturday at the Shippensburg Firefighters Activities Center, 33 W. Orange St. in Shippensburg. The sale starts at 11 a.m. and is expected to last until about 3 p.m. It will be run by Michael “Irish Mike” Sullivan, owner of New Dawn Enterprises of Hanover, who will offer a variety of grocery store items at a fraction of the grocery store cost.
“I guarantee that we can beat any grocery store price by 20 to 60 percent because we don’t have the overhead and we buy quantity,” Sullivan said. “We’re licensed by the Department of Agriculture, inspected regularly, licensed, fully bonded and insured. … And we stand behind everything 100 percent.”
Lauren Ocker, fundraising committee chair for Cumberland Valley Hose Company, said she heard about Sullivan from Andrew Henry, owner of Keystone Gun Sales in Carlisle, who coordinates the fire company’s gun drawings.
Gun drawings, which are held each spring and fall, along with Saturday night Bingo, are the main fundraisers for Cumberland Valley Hose Company. However, with plans to purchase a new ladder truck this year, she said the company needed new fundraising ideas.
Dave Ocker, Lauren’s husband and Cumberland Valley Hose fire chief, said the company’s ladder truck is 20 years old and will be listed for sale next month. The new truck, a 2018 custom-built Pierce 100-foot aerial platform fire truck, will cost $1.2 million.
“We try to replace our units every 20 years,” Dave Ocker said.
Sullivan said he offers a variety of frozen and dry goods — everything from cereals and drinks to snacks and paper towels — from a 16½-foot box truck that he calls his “grocery store on wheels.” He said the products are well-known name-brand items that he buys as overstock directly from local distribution companies and manufacturers.
Sullivan said he uses the “pitch-and-pass” method for most of the items sold during the event.
“We show the item, tell them what it is, and the runners hold it up for people to see,” he said. “They’ll put their card up (to purchase an item) and tell me how many they want. Then the runners take it to their seat. … It’s very fast-paced.”
Larger, limited-quantity items are sold auction style.
The evening will end with a game of “Let’s Make a Deal.”
“We put things in a pile and they bid on them,” Sullivan said. “That saves them even more money.”
Sullivan started his business 12 years ago and holds grocery fundraisers in five states (Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia) for nonprofit organizations like fire companies, Boy Scouts, church groups and 4-H clubs.
They are open to anyone.
“Everybody has to save money,” Sullivan said. “These sales are open to the public — young married people with kids, retired people.
“A lot of people are on fixed incomes,” he said. “Things are tough now, so that’s why we started doing it.”
Another new fundraiser, the Cumberland Valley Hose Music Bike Fest, will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 19 at Britton Park. That event, hosted by Cumberland Valley Hose and 101.5 Bob Rocks radio station, will feature four bands, a motorcycle run and vendors.