Super Flea Market Trends

By KrisHoyt

by Susan Eder and Kris Hoyt

April 26, 2010

Ida Meskinak offers a loonie for the green ring she found and quickly put on her finger at Super Flea Market on 111 Ave and 120 St in Edmonton on Sunday April 11, 2010. Photo credit—Susan Eder

EDMONTON—Shopping trends continue on the weekends at the Super Flea Market in Edmonton as bargain hunters find delight when treasures are discovered amongst the tables and booths that display everything from trinkets to collectables.

Potential customers shop at the Super Flea Market hoping to find that special item at the best possible price while they search through the many isles of merchandise at the flea market on Saturday and Sunday throughout the year.

But some vendors are concerned that fewer and fewer customers are coming out to look for bargains.

BUYING AND SELLING

Vendors sell everything and several shoppers are taking advantage of the deals.

“I like coming here. Sometimes you get a good deal,” said regular customer Ida Meskinak.

“I like coming here. Sometimes you get a good deal.”  — Ida Meskinak, regular customer

While for customers it’s all about saving a buck, for vendors it’s the opposite.

“It’s all about making a buck,” said Elaine MacIntyre from Leduc, who has been selling since the market first opened over 10 years ago.

Each vendor at the flea market has his or her own reasons for selling.

“I’m a retired teacher and I’m doing this to supplement my meager pension. It’s a hobby. I collect watches and I fix watches,” said John Rossol, who has a table selling watches.

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SALES ARE DOWN

While the Super Flea Market in Edmonton is going strong with over 400 vendors in two locations, some vendors have noticed a decline in business.

“In a recession people have less money,” said 86-year-old Marguerite MacKay, who has been following the trends while selling for over 30 years.

A shopper checks out the items for sale on Elaine MacIntyre's table on Sunday April 11, 2010 at the Super Flea Market on 111 Ave and 120 St in Edmonton. Elaine sells a mixture of items. Photo Credit — Susan Eder

Others agree.

“Business is down a lot. It was easy to make money, but what I make now is less than 50% of what it used to be,” said Crystal Barton, who works for vendors as a casual employee.

The vendors that used to hire her can’t afford to now.

“Business is slowed right down… because everyone downloads off the Internet. It was way busier 3 ½ years ago,” said Dan Jackson, who has hired Barton in the past.

But not all is bad.

Business is good in Sue Butt’s hair salon booth. “Customers come from out of town,” said Butt.

“That’s because she is the best hairdresser and her prices are cheap like borsch,” said customer Mona Deep from Edmonton.

REASONS FOR DECLINE

There are many reasons why some vendors’ revenue is down.

“People don’t seem to have as much money to spend… not like they used to,” said MacIntyre.

“When flea markets started they hadn’t started garage sales, but now we lose business in the summer to garage sales,” said MacKay.

“I think people who go to the flea market just walk around; they go to a garage sale to buy,” said new vender Patrick Lee, who is cleaning out his basement with low-priced items no longer needed.

PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE, TRENDS

A vendor relaxes while a shopper browses through his merchandise on Sunday April 11, 2010 at the Super Flea Market on 111 Ave and 120 St in Edmonton. Richard sells a mixture of jewelry and trinkets. Photo Credit — Susan Eder

Flea markets have been around since the 1700s; however, in the 1970s they began to spring up everywhere.

“In the beginning it was unique,” said MacKay. “The flea market was a novelty. There were smaller markets then. The merchandise was more selective.”

But flea market trends have changed.

“We now have a surplus of things that don’t wear out like in the past,” said MacKay. “Generations have changed and what they collect has changed.”

Will flea markets die out and become a thing of the past? Not according to MacIntyre.

The market will continue, “because people will always want to find good deals,” she said.

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