Former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure and running back Greg Pruitt signed autographs for fans at the Hartville MarketPlace and Flea Market in Hartville, Ohio, on Oct. 9. “The Browns event not only brings in more traffic, but also gives us exposure to a group of people who may not have visited us before,” says Darrick Boord, a marketing assistant for the venue.
The flea market pays the associated costs, and the autographs are free, says Boord. The event was coordinated with a local team booster club, which made the event — the market’s fourth in four years — much easier. “The biggest help for us has been connecting with the Akron Browns Backers, and using their connections to help get the players in here,” says Boord. “In exchange for its assistance, we provide the group with a table for promotional materials where members can talk to the fans in line and try to attract new members. We also provide them with exclusive access to the players before the event begins.”
Boord asked the players if they shopped at flea markets. “In talking with Joe DeLamielleure before the event,” says Boord, “he said that his wife visits our marketplace every time they come to town for the Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities. He said we are usually one of the first places they visit, and that his wife loves flea markets.”
The Hartville MarketPlace and Flea Market covers 100,000 square feet of indoor space for 100 vendors and 15 acres for up to 1,200 outdoor vendors. “We average about 12,000 visitors per market day during our prime season,” says Boord, “with as many as 30,000 or more on holidays.”
Photo credit, with thanks: The Hartville MarketPlace and Flea Market.