Brent Murray, owner and manager of the FleaMart in Independence, Missouri, is well aware of how his business is doing, thanks to an extensive point-of-sale tracking system that keeps data on all purchases. Information compiled includes complete store sales, number of transactions, the average ticket sale, and the sales of individual types of merchandise, such as furniture and electronics. “Every month this entire year we’ve been up at least 10 percent year-over-year,” Murray says. “Last month, we were up 14 percent, and within the store we’ve done things that I think have continued to help increase our sales.”
One of the things that Murray believes has helped FleaMart improve business has been renting 4,000 square feet to The Bargain Factory, which sells truckloads of new merchandise such as groceries, furniture and hair products that have been salvaged or damaged. “It draws in a lot of people because they constantly have new stuff,” Murray notes. “You never know what it’s going to have, and while they are in here, they are also shopping at all the flea market booths. We’re getting more customers through the door, and they love the store and they’re coming back. There have been more transactions, and we’re still trying to get the average ticket sale up, which right now hangs around $18, but in November it was over $22, so customers are spending more. Overall, things are going really well.”
How FleaMart Works
FleaMart has 45,000 square feet of selling space in a former Best Buy location. Murray, who personally sells electronics at FleaMart, started the market early in 2009 after owning a smaller, 7,000 square foot market for two years beforehand in the Kansas City area, but the newer, larger location allows him to draw a salary and work at the market full-time. Sellers at FleaMart do not need to be present—they simply need to stock and price the products, and everything is then sold through a central register. At the end of the month, each vendor receives a check for all the goods they sold, minus their rent and 10% of the total sales. The market has a total of 300 to 350 vendors, with 200 booths plus a number of display cases. The prices are so low because most vendors look to see what the price is on Walmart.com, then cut it in half, Murray notes. The market is open seven days a week, from 10 to 8 Mondays through Saturdays and 12 to 5 on Sundays.