Now that she has reached her 81st year, flea market owner Dorothy “Totsy” Phillips is planning her retirement and looking for someone to buy her Five Acres Flea Market in Belvidere, N.J. “Well, I’ve been here at the flea market for 40 years under the same ownership,” she says. “I’ve run it for 40 years.”
It’s not that Phillips wants to retire. “I’m 81, so I’m not physically able. I hate to go,” she says.
The Five Acres Flea Market attracts about 50 vendors on typical Saturdays, and 100 on Sundays — all selling used and antique merchandise. “We don’t allow new things,” says Phillips, “and we’re very strict about it.” Each year the market opens “as soon as the weather breaks, and we run until the snow flies,” she says.
The venue has interior space that could be used for vendors but needs renovation. “Maybe by next year the indoors will be fixed up, but I don’t know,” Phillips says. “I may let the new people do it.”
Phillips has been an active member of her community, recently serving as chairs of both the Warren County Library Commission and of the White Township Business Association in Belvidere, which she founded. Her market has been very popular with shoppers over the years, and the pride she feels in her market is clear in her voice. “We run a nice place.”