Frank’s Power Plant offers a rummage sale that (punk) rocks

This is the third time Frank's Power Plant is hosting the Punk Rock Rummage Sale. Photo courtesy of Wendy Norton.

The term “punk rock” connotes a wide array of ideas: loud music, mosh pits, mohawks, the Ramones, etc. But a local Bay View bar is attempting to add a new concept to punk rock culture — rummage sales.

Frank’s Power Plant, 2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will host its third Punk Rock Rummage Sale on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 5 p.m.

Becky Meer-Uecke, bar manager of Frank’s, said this rummage sale is different than most because it specifically focuses on the punk rock genre, although she added that the label did allow for variations of style such as indie or glam rock.

Meer-Uecke said the sale brings in more than just band memorabilia. Collectors at previous rummage sales have offered a wide variety of lightly-used products such as records, buttons, T-shirts, patches, posters, comics, house wares, toys and books. Crafty, hand-made or vintage items like jewelry, clothing, shoes and art are also expected.

Exactly what merchandise will be at the sale won’t be known until Saturday. Sellers and collectors can begin bringing their goods to Frank’s at 4:30 p.m. and set them up on tables in the back room at the bar. According to Meer-Uecke, tables are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, and the space provided was completely full at the last rummage sale in December.

Due to the success of previous sales, Meer-Uecke said she plans to host the event at Frank’s at least four times per year, in order to give them an edge over the competition. As a bar in what she called one of “the best bar districts in Milwaukee,” Frank’s is considered an underdog.

Because of this, the bar management is attempting to tap into other resources to boost their image and profits, and one of their most successful events is the Punk Rock Rummage Sale.

“My feeling on the bar is that it’s a melting pot,” she said. “We are able to attract people from every age group and from all walks of life. … We can’t count only on live music to hold up the bar anymore.”

According to Meer-Uecke, the idea of the Punk Rock Rummage Sale was suggested by assistant manager Wendy Norton, who attended a similar event in Green Bay.

Meer-Uecke said she knew the idea would work well at Frank’s because the bar had hosted fundraisers before and had a tendency to be considered part of the “underground scene,” which meant something like the rummage sale was viable at Frank’s.

Publicity for the event, she said, is driven mostly by word of mouth.

“When there’s an event that features a popular genre, it grows legs that walk far enough so a lot of people end up finding out about it, especially when you have collectors involved,” Meer-Uecke said.

Meer-Uecke said the price range offered at the sale generally depends on the sellers. When dealing with things that have been saved for years, the collectors and sellers know and understand what it’s worth.

“For example,” Meer-Uecke said, “(the seller) knows if they have a real record, and so do the people who come looking for real records.”

According to Meer-Uecke, one of the advantages of an event like this is that those who come to it know what kind of merchandise they’re likely to find.  Aficionados of the punk rock genre are more likely to find retro, unique things they like, for an inexpensive and non-retail price.

The Punk Rock Rummage Sale will be held Saturday at Frank’s Power Plant, 2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Bay View. The event will start at 5 p.m., and sellers can start bringing their merchandise at 4:30 p.m.