Around 50 vendors from the Canton Flea Market, in Canton, NY, gathered Monday outside the store seeking to keep the market open and looking for answers from the University Plaza’s new owner, David C. Muraco. New Venture Assets LLC, owned by Muraco, bought the plaza in June for $2.1 million, according to the Watertown Daily Times. Its fate is in limbo because operator Frank E. Monnett is being evicted from the space at 218 Old Route 11 for putting a stop-payment order on his July rent check to Muraco.
Muraco met with vendors about the future of the flea market, which houses about 100 vendor booths. He advised them to select a leader who could replace Monnett in running the flea market, at least temporarily, so that the market can continue after Aug. 3, when the eviction takes effect, the Times reports.
Dennis Kelly, who, along with his wife Susette Kelly, operates Grandma’s Kids, agreed to lead the vendors and work with Muraco as they figure out their next steps. “We just have to get enough people to pay the bills so we can go as long as we can,” Kelly told the Times. “It’s better than leaving the place vacant.”
Vendors have been paying Monnett $150 a month to rent a 150 square-foot booth plus paying him 7.5 percent of their monthly sales. Some vendors rent several booth spaces.
Muraco reportedly told vendors he needs to reduce the market space from 40,000 to 30,000 square feet and therefore will reduce the monthly rent from $5,000 to $3,750. Vendors also would be responsible for paying for utilities and insurance. Although he guaranteed them space through Jan. 1, Muraco said the space could be reduced if he finds other tenants for the plaza. Muraco said he plans to spend $125,000 to install a new roof on the leaky section of the flea market store and an additional $100,000 to repave the plaza’s parking lot.