Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Make The Most of It


We made it through the first half of the year, so we are just happy to be here.

As a vendor, we do not always plan ahead. We sometimes do not take the weekend or mid-week day at the flea market that seriously. We sometimes forget that this is a business. We often forget to pay attention to the details of running our operations, regardless of how small (or big) they are.

A couple of months ago I advised flea market vendors to take it seriously.

Today, I want to reiterate by saying: "Make the Most of It".

Treat the flea market as the corporate headquarters for your Fortune 500 hundred company. Treat it as though you were running a multi-national corporation. You are the Chief Executive Offer, and the janitor. Treat the market as is your front-line, your board room, your weekly sales meeting, and your customer service center all in one.

Make the most of it. I've often said that some of the most brilliant business minds can be found in flea markets, just study Tommy Hilfiger, so why not be one of them?

With the low costs and low risks associated with being a flea market vendor, you should be able to afford to try new concepts, projects, or items. You can afford to make a mistake here, so make the most of it. Where else can you get instant feedback from the customer?

So again, as you approach the first weekend of the second half of the year as a vendor, make the most of it. Network with other vendors, see what items are selling, look at how other CEOs manage their enterprises and learn how you can increase your bottom line.

Take the market seriously and make the most of it.

Happy and prosperous vending.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Festival By The Sea PostPones Grand Opening

I don't know about you, but I've been looking forward to vending or attending Festival By The Sea for months now, so I'm a little peeved that they postponed today's grand opening.

The new grand opening date is next Friday, May 22nd. Unfortunately that is Memorial Day weekend and my plans will have me in Georgia. So, if you happen to make it out there, please drop me a line about what you see:

As a vendor, I originally bought extra stock for May 1st, which was supposed to be the original opening date. However, I kindly alerted by someone from Thor that the date was pushed back to today May 15th. Unfortunately, I just tried to call their office, only to get a recording, stating that due to the weather the grand opening was postponed.

Right now I'm in midtown Manhattan and it balmy outside. I was just out there. I know the forecast was calling for rain earlier in the week, but by Wednesday that changed.

With all the bells and whistles they've been promoting, I find it strange that inclimate weather would force the closer of a flea market. So what's going to happen in the fall, even worst, this winter? With one name change , and two opening day changes, they are not off to a good start.

As as shopper, it's tough to reorganize one's plans at the last minute.

I only hope that the organizers of Festival By The Sea get it right soon. I don't know anyone over at Thor Equities, but maybe, just maybe, they might want to include a few vendors on their planning staff. Maybe they don't mind burning through that $500K advertising budget? However, I do mind wasting time and money.

With only two weekends left in May, I would suggest that the operators of Flea By The Sea consider offering the reduced rental rates for vendors that were scheduled only for May, for June as well.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

4 Tips for Being a Succesful Vendor


Outside of selling on the weekends, I spend quite a bit of time speaking with other vendors. Most of the time it's water-cooler talk and the usual, "How was business today?" However, I also spend time discussing ways to increase our respective businesses.

In these times, and all the time for that matter, making minor tweaks or adjustments to the way you do business can do wonders for your bottom line.

Take a look at the 4 tips below and see how you can apply them to your business.


Whether you are a full time flea market vendor, street vendor, or sell products on your job, the most important thing is that you take it seriously. Granted, it might be a hobby or a reason to get out of the house, but just think how much further you could take it if you took it seriously. Ask yourself this simple question: Am I doing the best I can at this? Anything less than a yes leaves plenty of room for improvement, so take it seriously. This is your operation, your are the C.E.O., treat it as such.

Be it the weather, your weight, the speed limit, or the DOW, most things are measured on a constant basis. As a vendor, the best way to gauge how your business is doing is by setting goals and taking them seriously enough to achieve them. This does not necessarily have to be financial, but that is honestly the best way to determine if being a vendor is worth your time. My personal rule of thumb, is that I must make at least $100 on market days. For some it might be $50, for others it's a $1000. Set your own goals, then take the necessary steps to achieve them.

Most markets give vendors either 8x10 feet or 10x10 feet of selling space, with some offering space for parking. However it is up to you to make the best use of that space. I use a set of 3-level metal step racks with closet shelving (similar in shape to the one below) to create more display space.

I also find that in open spaces, using two 8x4 tables vertically, like an h, gives customers room to walk into your make-shift booth and allows your twice the selling spice.

This might seem a little elementary, but some vendors are just plain ole rude. No one comes to the market to be disrespected, so play nice. Be courteous to not only your customers, but to other vendors and the market's staff as well. People are more likely to share information with someone who is approachable, so stop screwing up your face. This past weekend I had a guy tell me the wholesale cost on a bushel of corn - something simple - but information I did not have first hand knowledge of. This bit of information will go along way as I plan the next item to sell at flea markets.

Happy vending!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Flea By The Sea Changes Name

I just got word that the organizers of Flea By The Sea have changed the name to Festival By The Sea and will be launching their new website soon.

According to David Nachtweih, who is handling some of the public relations duties for the project, the name change is meant to highlight the various activities that will be associated into the project.

Although the flea market will still be the focus point of Festival By The Sea, the organizers did not want it to overshadow the carnival-like they are shooting for.

In addition to the name change, Festival By The Sea is slated to have extended operating days including the addition of Thursday and Monday to the flea market days. The original plan was to be open on Friday/Saturday/Sunday, but apparently organizers feel that they can accommodate two additional selling days. What I do find as a good selling point to vendors is that Monday and Thursday will carry a more reasonable daily rental rate.

With exactly 3 weeks to go before opening day at Festival By The Sea, I hope the organizers have a spectacular marketing plan to go along with that $500K advertising budget.

Hopefully the new website Festival By The Sea, which is supposed to reveal the layout and enable vendors to reserve a booth online, will go live sooner than later.

We'll wait and see.


Friday Flea Markets

Hopefully you are having a Good Friday?

If you are in the Pennslyvania or New Jersey area and looking for a flea market
to attend on this or any other Friday, you might want to check out Green Dragon or Collingswood.

Both of them will be added to our next round of flea market openings and on-going markets, along with details about the Valley Stream market that was recently brought to my attention.

Friday markets are not that uncommon, but I only know a hand-full of vendors that sell on Fridays. Most of the vendors I know use Friday as a last-minute shopping day to get ready for the weekend. The only Fridays I've worked were at Englishtown Auction Sales on Black Friday, but the past couple of years haven't been worth the effort.

However Green Dragon and Collingswood both have a steady stream of vendors and shoppers who use Friday to get themselves organized and to do their own shopping.

Green Dragon is located in Bucks County PA., so it is a long haul from the Tri-State area however Josh (an incense and oil vendor) makes the trek from Brooklyn every so often. A full review of Green Dragon will be provided in the next couple of months.

Collingswood however is attended weekly by a good friend of mine, Ms. James, a vendor who basically sells anything she has lying around. Perhaps she is drawn to Collingswood by the low ($2-$5) table rents. Located in Central New Jersey, Collingswood offers a little of everything for those who don't mind roughing it.

Happy vending and shopping.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Live From the Market #2 (Pendergrass)

Every market is different.

It's a simple statement, but it is remarkably true.

I am sitting in the food court of the Pendergrass Flea Market in the city of Pendergrass in the County of Jackson, Georgia and it is packed. I am tucked into a corner, which is anything but quiet. Getting to an open table took some good navigating skills, there are people everywhere.

I got here 3 hours ago with the intention to see a few vendors I know and get there take on the state of business, but at 3pm, I'm just now getting a chance to sit down.

I should have known it was going to be like this because when I pulled off of exit 137 on I-85, there was a line of cars waiting to get into the market and the parking lot was full. I only saw one coach bus, but was not able to find out where they came from. However, that one bus is just a drop in the bucket of the number of people here today. If I had to guess, I'd say there are at least 18,000 people here today.
Last time I actually sold here was February 2008 and did well, but there was nowhere as near this many people here.

Yesterday I was in Englishtown Flea Market in New Jersey and I doubt there were 5,000 people all day. In Englishtown I could have walk through the entire market in 15 minutes, here, I haven't even began to walk and I'm tired.

I don't know if all the vendors here are doing good business, but anyone selling food is doing great. From Mama King's Pizza to The Chicken Ranch to Jugos Naturales and all the Nacho vendors, and the lady selling cotton candy, and the boiled peanuts guy, they seem to be doing well.

I spoke with David, who sells Hip-Hop inspired t-shirts and designer jeans, and he confirms that today is especially busy. However, not for the items he carries. His business has been on the decline since last year, so he's considering changing what he carries. He's leaning towards food. Despite what the economy is doing, people eat, and here in particular, people are eating foods that are native to them.

The Mexican family sitting beside me is having Jarritos (soda - Guayabana), nachos, and some sort of puffy chips. The father (Luis), is having a sandwich of pulled pork, beef, ham, & wieners, on a bun with lettuce tomatoes, sauce, and jalapeƱos. That's a little too much meat for my pallet, but to each is own. Maybe I'll try the Chicarrones con cueritos......maybe not, Luis just told me what it was. Fried pigskin dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, salsa, and queso (cheese). Yeah, I'll pass.

According to David, most of the people here on the weekends are Mexicans who work at farms, factories, and chicken processing plants in the area. Saturday and/or Sunday is the one day they get off, so coming to Pendergrass is a way to spend time with the family and get some authentic food from back home.

Sergio, from outside Mexico City, and his wife Sandra are here for the first time as spice vendors. Sergio has sold other products before, but has ventured into the chili business. If you are looking for dried Mexican Ancho chilies, Guajillo chilies, fragrant Chipotles, Pasillas, or hot red chilis, he has them in stock. Check them out at booth #18 on Ave 7 West.

Yared, of Ethiopia, said that today would be his last day at Pendergrass because the items he carries, jeans and designer t-shirts are not selling well here. He has tried other markets in Georgia, but does better near downtown Atlanta where more African Americans and Caribbean buyers are available.

Flea markets are funny places. On the left you could have a vendor with lines in front of his booth, on the right you could have a vendor who packs up early because there are no takers for what he's selling.

Every market is different.

Each has its own character, its own feels, and its own main attraction. Here at Pendergrass it's definitely the food..........and the live entertainment, never mind that I don't understand the tongue in which it is being sung.

Come out for yourself and see what's going on at Pendergrass Flea Market, "Georgia's Largest."

For vendors, booth rental is expensive, but for shoppers, it's paradise.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Updated Flea Market Openings 2009

Below you will find a list of scheduled flea market openings this Spring. Please check back often and feel free to send us any information on flea markets in your area. Our email here is:

March/April/May 2009 Flea Market Openings:

Yonkers Murray Rink Flea Market
March 22

Brownstoner's Brooklyn Flea
Saturday, April 18
Currently indoors at 76 and 81 Front St. in Dumbo Brooklyn.

Stormville Airport Flea Market
Sunday, April 26
Monthly dates available on website:

Festival By The Sea (formerly Flea By The Sea)
Friday, May 1
Website goes live this month. Please see previous post for details.

Richmond County Flea Market
Saturday, May 2

On-Going Markets:

Boulevard Flea Market
*Open every Saturday and Sunday

Columbus Farmers Market
*Open every Thursday, Saturday, & Sunday

Cowtown Flea Market
*Open every Tuesday and Saturday
No website

Englishtown Auction Sales
*Open every Saturday and Sunday

Meadowlands Flea Market
*Open every Saturday, but we feel it's worth mentioning.

Rice's Sale & Country Market
*Open every Tuesday & Saturday