I’m Starting a Flea Market

Pole BarnI am turning my four acres of backyard into a flea market this spring. You can see an aerial view of the property by clicking here. You can see a map to the property by clicking here. The address is 42 Old Schuylerville Road, Greenwich New York. I am just across the Hudson River from Schuylerville.

My wife Mary Lynn and I  have a pole barn in the yard that we will build the market around. We can easily accommodate 50 vendors and still have plenty of parking for customers. The property is surrounded by other open fields and the Hudson River is across the street. The front part of the building on the first floor was a tavern for many years. We ran it as a tavern for less than a year after we bought the property. We are going to open the downstairs when the flea market is open to sell breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, coffee, soda and water etc.

I am running an ad on Craigslist that says the following:

Vendors wanted for a New Flea / Antique Market across the Hudson River from Schuylerville. The outdoor market will be located at 42 Old Schuylerville Road, down the hill from the Washington County Fairgrounds. The days of operation are Saturday and Sunday, early May through the end of October. A 10 foot space is $20 either day, $35 for both days / 20 foot space is $30 either day, $50 for both days The first vendors to reserve space can setup under a pole barn. You don’t have to commit to a full season. You can sell on a week to week basis. Food & beverages will be available. Restroom facilities. Four acres with ample parking. Let me know if you need a table provided. Let me know what you plan to sell. I would like to hear from local farmers who would like to sell their produce here.

Feel free to drive by and see the field where the flea market will be located. Call me in advance and I will be happy to speak with you in person and show you around. Questions? For more information or to reserve space, call John Tedder at 695-4369 or send an email to jtedder@teddersrandomnotes.com Thank you. (end of Craigslist ad)

I’ve decided to open on Saturday May 2nd. There is a big antiques show at the Washington County Fairgrounds that weekend and it generates a lot of extra traffic on Route 29. My property can be seen from Route 29 and I’m just down the hill from the fairgrounds. If I have 20 or so vendors in the field, people driving by will notice it and stop and see what is going on. The antiques show is held twice a year at the fairgrounds and draws dealers and shoppers from all over New York and Vermont and probably parts of Massachusetts.

I’m going to put a sign at the intersection of Old Schuylerville Road and Route 29 where the bridge crosses the Hudson River. I’m also going to put one at the blinking light at the bottom of the hill and near the Route 4 bridge, for people who are coming south from the Fort Edward – Glens Falls area.

My property and the Schuylerville area have always reminded me of Lambertville, New Jersey. There is a flea market along the Delaware River just south of Lambertville that I have visited for years. It is called the  Golden Nugget. The towns seem similar to me because they are both next to a river and a canal. Lambertville is a much bigger town than Schuylerville, but Schuylerville has a lot of traffic going through it because Route 29, Route 4, and Route 32 all run through it for a small stretch.

Schuylerville is an historic area, just like Lambertville. George Washington crossed the Delaware River a few miles south of Lambertville to fight the Battle of Trenton. The Battle of Saratoga, which many historians call the turning point of the American Revolution, was fought in and around Schuylerville. Saratoga National Historical Park is located a few miles south of Schuylerville in Stillwater. I can see the top of the Saratoga Battle monument from my yard when the leaves are not on the trees. The battle monument and the Schuyler House just down the street are a part of Saratoga National Historical Park.

Flea Market SignThe flea market is 12 miles from Broadway in Saratoga Springs and 5 miles from Greenwich.

If you are a vendor and would like to reserve space, call me or send me an email. I will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Please note: I have closed the flea market.

It only lasted a few weeks in May. I was never able to get enough vendors to make it work and the price of insurance was prohibitive. I had to decide if I wanted to switch insurance companies. My existing insurance company wouldn’t insure me if I had a business on the property. Period. I checked with a couple of other insurance companies and it was just too expensive for me. If I required all of the vendors to have their own insurance it would have been cheaper, but that would have shut out all of the people who just wanted to sell some household stuff once in a while and weren’t really in the flea market business. There are also a lot of vendors out there that just don’t carry insurance. The insurance rates I was quoted were only for six months. The weather in this part of New York is too cold and snowy in the winter to continue much past October and I only would have been open May to October.

If you are reading this blog post, and need additional information, I will be happy to share any other knowledge I have about the flea market business with you. Just leave a comment and I will get back to you.

35 Responses to “I’m Starting a Flea Market”

  1. Carri says:

    I have a question, my boyfriend, his father, and myself all set up at flea markets, usually all coming together.
    They like to be there extremely early(before the break of light, about 4:30 am during the warmer times) to start setting up(which is how most people do it in Troy, NY at Powers Park and at Tilden in New Lebanon.
    How early of a time would they be able to come and set up if they ever chose to set up at your flea market?

  2. John Tedder says:

    Carri, Thank you for your question. I think 6:00 am might be the earliest. Right now, I think the market will open to the public at 8:00 am. Do you think 2 hours would be sufficient time to setup? If you need longer to setup, I think we could work something out though.

  3. askcherlock says:

    This is a wonderful idea! As an antique dealer I absolutely love flea markets. You can find the most wonderful hidden treasures. It is also great for this economy. Why go to a decorator’s store when you can personalize your homes with these great finds? I wish you much success and wish that I lived closer. Perhaps someday when we are traveling, we will find you!

  4. John Tedder says:

    Thanks for the comment askcherlock. There really isn’t another flea market in the area that I know of. A lot of people seem interested from the response I have gotten from a Craigslist Ad I have been running and an ad in the newspaper. It is a good location near a busy road.

  5. MadMadMargo says:

    What a GREAT idea! With the current economic situation, this will give folks the opportunity to sell off their excess and put a few bucks in their pockets. I wish you much success with your venture.

  6. John Tedder says:

    Thanks for commenting MadMadMargo. I appreciate it.

  7. Maybe says:

    You might try offering the vendor spots for FREE for the first month to get in vendors. As a dealer, its very risky to do a flea market that is not long established. Not that $20 to set up is a lot of money. Its not. But the work and time invested is a lot. To entice dealers to try it, I’d offer up the spots for free. You’ll get more dealers that way.

    Just a suggestion.

  8. John Tedder says:

    Maybe, Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it. I understand what you are saying. I realize that a flea market dealer needs to make money. I figure that at first I am going to attract new dealers, dealers that are not happy with the market they are currently attending or dealers who want to sell closer to where they live. There are probably other reasons that I am not aware of.
    There is a big antique show just up the road from my flea market on May 2nd, the day I open. That should create a lot of extra traffic on Route 29 and get more people to stop and shop. I’m working hard to make sure I have a credible amount of dealers and that they will have plenty of customers.

    I would love to speak with you. Give me a call if you can. 518-695-4369

  9. Bob says:

    Are you considering any other food vendors ? Selling Nacho’s, popcorn, soda, water, other popular non-alcoholic sports drinks, possibly fish or chicken sandwiches.

  10. John Tedder says:

    Bob, No. Not at this time. Sorry. Thanks for asking.

  11. Debbie says:

    John, I do a lot of painting on small pieces. Accent tables, mirrors, flower pots, chairs, etc. I have entertained the idea of renting a small booth. I am not certified, I just do it as a hobby and would like to see if it sells. Do I meet the requirements to rent a booth?

  12. John Tedder says:

    Debbie, Yes. As far as I am concerned you do. If you decide to do it on a regular basis though you will need to get a New York State sales tax number.

    What do you mean by “not certified?” Feel free to call me if you like.

  13. Shelly says:

    What a great idea. I’m no where close to you, otherwise I would stop by. I think your price is extremely inexpensive and a great opportunity for local artists or farmers to sell their product. I also like the week-to-week rentals. If someone already has a packed summer planned, it still gives them the opportunity to get out there a few times and get exposure and make some sales. Nice work.

  14. John Tedder says:

    Shelly, thanks for the comment. I expect to be writing about the flea market experience over the summer. It will be an adventure.

  15. Joy & Joh Taglione says:

    Hi John,
    My wife and I live just outside Mechanicville, at the entrance of Deer Run Campgrounds. We regularly do both Washington County Antique Shows yearly. We both are extremely excited about your new Flea Market. We think it is an outstanding idea and if run properly and well organized could become very profitable for you and the dealers. We deal in all types of antiques and collectables and also do estate sales for people in our area. We have a small antique store called Country Cabin Antiques but most of our business is done at sows, flea markets and estate sales. We pride ourselves on Honesty being the best policy. You will be getting a cll from us today. Thanks for your efforts , John & Joy Taglione

  16. John Tedder says:

    Joy & John, Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

  17. J.W. Scott says:

    Do you have a permit for this flea market?

  18. John Tedder says:

    J.W, I have applied for a permit from the State of New York.

  19. Mary Chapman says:

    Hi John,
    We have spoken a couple of times now and emailed. I am so excited to find someone willing to hold season-long flea market.

    I may have been one of your first responders.

    Sounds like you are getting some very good “vibes”. I am totally convinced you are going to have a very long commitment with this endeavor, and I wish you and Mary Lynn the best of luck. I don’t think there has been anything like this in many years. See you very soon.

  20. Cherie Plante says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for talking this morning. I just read this blog and what’s interesting is I have relatives in Lambertville and have been to the spots you mention on the Delaware.


  21. […] John Tedder Random Notes I 39 m Starting a Flea Market Posted by root 1 day 1 hour 33 minutes ago (http://www.teddersrandomnotes.com) My wife mary lynn and i have a pole barn in the yard that we will build the market around thanks for the comment askcherlock there really isn 39 t another flea market in the john tedder random notes is powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | john tedder random notes i 39 m starting a flea market […]

  22. dandy D says:

    How many vendors do you average on a weekend ? Do you get a good flow of customers ?

  23. John Tedder says:

    The flea market no longer exists.

  24. Jeff says:

    I was thinking of starting a small flea market. I live in NY. What does the state require of me? It would not be on my own property.

  25. John Tedder says:

    There are all kinds of requirements for starting a business in New York. Try going here: http://www.state.ny.us/ and click on the business tab on the left hand side of the window.

  26. Andrew says:

    How is it going? I am trying to do the same thing. Right now, making a plan for it. It is not my property but if my plan gets accepted, I become manager. Do you have any information about it, to help me?

  27. John Tedder says:

    I didn’t continue for long because of the insurance requirements. I just didn’t think it would be worth it.

  28. Elona Rothenberg says:

    I am sorry to hear that your first attempt at the market didn’t work but I may be able to help you try again. My husband and I have been flea market vendors for a combined total of over 50 years, we go all over the country. One market we have done, was a indoor co-op. There we carried our own insurance for less than $400 a year. My husband/partner will be calling you to discuss this further. It sounds like you have a great location and it is still doable as a market, let’s discuss the possible.

  29. Tsmith says:

    What insurance requirements were needed?

  30. John Tedder says:

    Either I had to require every vendor to carry their own insurance and prove it, or I had to spend several thousand dollars to cover them. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was a lot more than I wanted to spend.

  31. Mike says:

    I’d love to hear more about your experience in trying to get this flea market going. I’m thinking of doing the same thing in Saratoga County but I’ve heard it can be tough to get approval for that sort of thing.

  32. lydia says:

    hey thanks for this. i want to open a flea market and u’ve given me alot to think about. good luck on future endeavors

  33. Franco says:

    Hi John, I’m in the process of trying to open a flea market. I would greatly appreciate anything you could share with me about your experience. Thank you.

  34. Angie says:

    Hi John. I also am getting ready to open a outdoor flea market. Can you tell me what paperwork(if any) I would need to have vendors fill out?

  35. John Tedder says:

    You should talk to a lawyer and an insurance agent. You can also check out http://www.fleamarkets.org/ That is the National Flea Market Association. There is a lot of information on their site. Check out a local flea market that you like and ask the owner if you can come back on a day when they are not open and chat. Good luck.

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