‘We blame the Grinch’: Yakima antique store keeps holiday spirit after dumpster fire damage

Flippers Antiques & Estate Sales, The American Cancer Society Discovery Shop and Winey Dogs all sustained damage in the incident.

YAKIMA, Wash. — Flippers Antiques and Estate Sales has been broken into four times in recent years, but owner Ginnie Toney said they’ve never let it diminish their holiday spirit, even though they’re now dealing with the aftermath of a fire.

“Every tragedy we have, we blame the Grinch and we just do a sign to commemorate him,” Toney said. “We make the best of a bad situation.”

Toney said when someone broke into the store the day after Small Business Saturday last year, they took a deep breath and moved forward, putting up one of their infamous signs featuring the Grinch.

“It just said, you know, he thought he could steal our Christmas spirit, but 2021 already sucked — which it did,” Toney said.

Then, after someone broke through their front door and burglarized the shop five weeks ago, Toney said they boarded up the door and put up another sign showing the Grinch up to no good, this time saying “I started my Christmas shopping early this year. You should too.”

The latest hit to Toney’s store happened at about 2:20 a.m. Friday, when someone lit a fire in a dumpster in the alley behind Flippers and the flames spread to the building.

It burned through the warehouse in the back and their Christmas-themed room — both full of products — but it stopped short of getting into the main part of the small antique mall.

“Luckily, we have a firewall and so all we got was smoke and water and steam and soot,” Toney said.

Now in the aftermath of a literal dumpster fire and the situation more dire than ever, Toney still refused to let anyone steal her holiday spirit.

So the Grinch? He’s back, yet again.

“Someone was trying to keep warm, not being malicious and trying to burn our building down,” Toney said. “And so yeah, that’s where he came from.”

Toney said at this point, she doesn’t even want to think about how much the damages are going to come out to for all the lost product.

The warehouse has been mostly cleared out, thanks to her husband, Robert Quinlivan, who owns A C Estate Services and was able to use his equipment to see to a lot of the ruined products and help clean things up.

“People are still coming in and spending money and that’s what helps,” Toney said. “They’re not plugging their nose and running because we smell like a brisket in here.”

American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, Winey Dogs also damaged in dumpster fire incident

Flippers wasn’t the only business to sustain damages during the incident. Next door, the owners of Winey Dogs said they got a broken door and window when firefighters forced entry to look for the water shut-off, which was actually located inside Flippers.

On the other side of the antique mall, the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop thrift store got hit hard not by the fire itself, but by the resulting smoke.

“The smoke damage went into our warehouse and into our retail shop and we had to close for a couple of days to assess what we needed to do,” manager Kay Mahan said.

Mahan said the store operates on donations from the community, which are cleaned up and sold. The proceeds go to funding research and resources for the American Cancer Society.

Now, Mahan said the company has allowed her to have a fire sale — in the very literal sense — and sell everything in the store at $1 per item on both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

“We have to clear out all the merchandise that’s in the in the shop right now so we can put fresh items and that are not smoke damaged,” Mahan said, adding that they should be able to accept community donations again starting Monday.

While Flippers no longer has their annual Christmas room for people to peruse, it’s still open and has holiday items for sale throughout the store.

For Small Business Saturday, the store will have snacks, drinks and a door prize. Toney said she hopes people come out, because it’s one of their top sales days for the whole year.

And in keeping with her theme of making the best out of a bad situation, Toney said they’ll be selling $26 commemorative t-shirts — this time, featuring Oscar the Grouch instead of the Grinch, with the saying “only you can prevent dumpster fires.”

“I just want to say that for a small business, it’s very important that you shop us,” Toney said. “Just because we’re a small business doesn’t make us more expensive. We don’t have a corporation that backs us. We just have a tribe and that’s our local people that shop us.”

Both Flippers Antiques and Estate Sales and American Cancer Society Discovery Shop are participating in the Downtown Association of Yakima’s Small Business Saturday event. More information about that event is available here.

Winey Dogs is not open this weekend, but will be serving up food again starting Monday. They’re located at 3 N. 6th Ave. and are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.