The Key Largo Island Market Place just celebrated its first birthday, and after a year of growth, the flea market is thriving as it begins a phase two expansion with a new manager. “The market opened a year ago,” says manager Pierre Multari. “It is the only indoor/outdoor air-conditioned flea market in the entire Keys. That’s the uniqueness of it.”
Multari took over the management of the market two months ago, and he is updating the market’s signage, look, and marketing plan. He describes the market’s evolution from boat shop to swap meet: “It used to be the largest boat center in the Keys,” he says, “but since the recession, many boat companies been hit hard, so we had the idea to add a flea market to the boat center. We’re having a really good response.”
He runs the market with input from his wife, Crystal, who is also a vendor. They see the location of the flea market as a real strength. “It is quite close to Miami, maybe 45 minutes south, and it is at the entrance to all of the Keys,” she says. “With one road in and one road out, on Overseas Highway at isle marker 101, the tourists can’t miss us.”
Island Market Place has attracted about 50 regular vendors inside, and more come and go under canopies outside. The market is now embarking on a phase two expansion that will add another 35 booths or so, according to the flea market’s Web site, which is scheduled for a complete makeover. The entire market is served by a WiFi network. Part of the market includes a produce and farmer area. The vendors cover an eclectic range of products, including shoes, linens, woodcrafts, photography, sunglasses, antiques, fishing supplies and ice cream. The market, open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is seeking new vendors.
“Our goal as a young market,” says Crystal “is to situate vendors who can appreciate a great opportunity and add their enthusiasm and creativity to a unique venue. It’s really a treasure for a flea marketer to find such a special place. It’s fun, and the vendors are like a family.” For more information, call the Island Market Place at (305) 451-0068.
Jan. 13 Update: This article has been updated with new information and art, with thanks to Island Market Place.