erik hoyer and madelyn hines in front of the town dump in cave creek

Pictured: Erik Hoyer, owner of EJ’s Auction & Appraisal, and Madelyn Hines, owner of The Town Dump.

The Town Dump closed its doors Dec. 31 after 42 years in business in Cave Creek. Owner Madelyn Hines said her business was “great fun,” but her age and some physical limitations prompted her to accept an offer on the buildings and property in November.

The remaining items in the “wild and crazy store” will be auctioned at EJ’s Auction & Appraisal in Glendale beginning Saturday, Jan. 19. Because of the large quantity of collectibles, a second auction will take place Jan. 26.

“Locals and tourists alike loved to wander through The Town Dump to discover unique collectibles, kitschy souvenirs, colorful pottery, sculpture, furniture, jewelry, clothing, antiques and other quirky finds,” said Erik Hoyer, owner of EJ’s Auction & Appraisal.

Hoyer, who lives in the Cave Creek area with his wife, Naomi, said a free preview is planned at the Glendale auction house from 9am to 5pm Jan. 16 through Jan. 18. Doors open Jan. 19 at 9am with the live auction starting in three rings at 10am. Online bidding is also available.

Hines and her late husband, Jim, moved to Cave Creek in the late 1960s, when Phoenix was considered a far trip from the small town. In 1973, they built and later sold the motel that is now known as the Tumbleweed Motel. They also built the now-vacant building on southwest corner of Cave Creek and School House Roads and opened The Town Dump there in 1976.

“We first started selling furniture and bedding from a Holiday Inn in California, and then we expanded to sell lumber, copper and other items,” Hines said. “We were only in that location for about six to eight months until we moved to our current location.”

While The Town Dump has enjoyed incredible success over the past four decades, things weren’t always rosy.

“When we first opened, it was to the dismay of a few local residents,” Hines said. “Early on, some people started circulating a petition because they didn’t like the store name.”

As Cave Creek and its surrounding communities evolved, so did the store. Hines and her husband went on buying trips overseas and they started a second business, TDI Dolls, which Hines still operates today out of a large warehouse in Carefree. TDI Dolls sells porcelain doll pieces to the craft industry.

Jim’s passing in 1990 was another challenging time, but Hines’ entrepreneurial spirit carried her through that as well as lean times, brutal, slow summers with no air conditioning, and a changing retail market.

“I’m very grateful to our customers and to my employees who shared my passion for The Town Dump,” Hines said. “The fact that we’ve been in Cave Creek for 42 years says a lot about our community.”

EJ’s Auction & Appraisal conducts exciting, high-energy auctions at 10am every Saturday at the full-service auction house, located at 5880 West Bell Road, in Glendale on the northeast corner of 59th Avenue and Bell Road. For details, visit or call 623.878.2003.


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