Where a family’s auto dealership thrived for two decades, a scion has found a way to drive business back to the ancestral lot. “We’ve had this building for 20 years in my family,” says Zach Horsely, owner of the new Belle Glade Wholesale Market. “We used to be the biggest car dealership in the south-middle part of the state of Florida. When the dealership went out of business about a year ago, I started to think about using the lot for a flea market.”
The property seemed ideal to Horsely. “The building used to be a car dealership. There’s a showroom, a garage, and storage bays in the back. In the showroom, where we used to have the cars and offices, there are about 27 to 30 vendor spaces,” he says.
The Belle Glade Wholesale Market opened with indoor vendors about a month ago, and will add outside vendors next month. Horsely has had to deal with some red tape, both for the approvals for outside vendors and for the very name of his establishment. “We had to pick that name because the town would not allow the word ‘flea market.’ I guess they are opposed to second-hand items,” he says. It took a while to cut through all the insurance paperwork and zoning permits, “but starting in March we’ll be outside, Saturdays and Sundays, year round,” he says.
Although the market is currently open Friday and Saturday, when foot traffic increases, Horsely hopes to expand to Thursdays and Sundays. “It’s just not crowded enough to do it yet,” he says. But he is optimistic about his prospects because of his location. There are no other flea markets or swap meets nearby, and that is letting him add some non-traditional flea market options. In addition to typical products such as purses, electronics, and clothing, he has a tax accountant and a barber. And in the back, he hopes to add appliance dealers. “Within a 100 mile radius, there’s no place to buy used appliances. It’s all sugar cane farming, and there’s nothing out there for miles. So what I want to do is offer appliances and services in the back. There are six bays in the back that can be appliance stores,” he explains.
Horsely also has room for entertainment and events for the future. “My flea market is right in the center of the state,” he says, which will let him attract a wide diversity of customers and vendors. His spaces start at $20 per day inside, $10 per day outside. For more information, contact the Belle Glade Wholesale Market at (561) 313-3214, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the market’s Web site and Facebook page.