Community supports the war against cancer through second hand sale


Erich Raumann

The site of the Subterranean Super Sale during its extended off-season. It’s currently more of a storage location than storefront, but old signs and ribbons still remain in preparation for the Sale’s return.

Erich Raumann, Reporter

A few pink signs scattered around the Hyde Park neighborhood point to a “Subterranean Super Sale” just off 53rd Street. Through a nondescript basement door is a hub of activity, people dropping in and out, assessing everything from cacti to tahini cookies, weaving through countless racks of clothing and stacks of books. At the center of all the chaos is Amanda Englert, welcoming people, talking with long-time friends, giving prices and collecting money — every cent of which goes to the war against cancer. 

The Subterranean Super Sale is a biannual charity event embodying the spirit of Hyde Park. Throughout the year, people donate things to Ms. Englert, the ringmaster of the event, who sells them during “Super Sales” at the start and end of summer. These items are sold at affordable prices to people in need, encouraging people who would otherwise be unable to contribute to charity. 

“If you have money, donate money. If you have time, donate time. If you have things, donate things,” Ms. Englert said. “Everyone figures out their own way to contribute to a problem that a lot of us find difficult to contribute to.” 

The sale donates to several charities supporting breast cancer, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Equal Hope organization and Pink Ribbon Girls. Ms. Englert, who lost her mother and grandmother to breast cancer, is focused not just on cancer research, but also on closing the disparity in cancer treatment, where people of color are disproportionately neglected. 

“When a loved one gets diagnosed,” Ms. Englert said, “it can feel paralyzing, even if your hospital has the resources to try and treat it. Unfortunately, so many places don’t — not just in terms of actual treatment, but preventive care, which is just as vital.” 

The biannual schedule is temporarily suspended because of the pandemic, and as space fills up without another sale, donations get harder and harder to accept. For now, the sale lies dormant, only selling a few plants and some furniture under “Subterranean Super Sale” on Craigslist. Ms. Engelert encourages people looking to donate to go to other organizations for now, or contact her at [email protected] to receive future updates about when the sale will be able to open its doors again. 

While the Subterranean Super Sale is, for now, unable to function, eventually the bright pink fliers will reappear and the basement off 53rd will buzz alive again. The sale isn’t going anywhere, because it’s not just Ms. Englert supporting the sale. It’s the parents donating old toys, the children baking cookies and the people who can barely afford rent — all of Hyde Park pitches in to make nearly $200,000 in the name of fighting cancer.