When Vern Tripp launched Vern’s Flea Market last December in South Beloit, Ill., the town elders were behind him 100 percent. But when a new administration took over city hall, the verbal assurances he had received ended up not meaning all that much. He’s still good to go for the inside vendors that he has, but the town is regulating his summertime outside vendors under local garage sale rules — so they’re saying vendors can sell only once every 45 days. That’s not very useful for a weekly flea market.
Some current council members are sympathetic, reports the Beloit Daily News. Council member John LaMendola says the ordinance regulating commercial flea markets is too restrictive. “This ordinance makes it more difficult for businesses,” LaMendola says, according to the newspaper. Other council members say they are worried about the appearance of the outdoor market, or want to look into what other localities are doing. For now, outside vendors have to abide by the once-every-45-days rule.
FleaMarketZone spoke with one vendor at the market, who did not want to be named, given that the town council is still considering new rules. The vendor says Tripp has lost two of his ten vendors because of the regulations so far. Moreover, the town seems unprepared for outdoor flea market vendors. “The only kinds of permit forms they have for anybody to fill out down there are these garage sale permits, which they only allow every 45 days, and that’s ridiculous. I don’t want to be classified as a garage sale,” says the vendor. What’s next? “They are trying to come up with something, but we don’t know what it is going to be.”
This vendor mentioned that the flea market had strong support from local businesses. “Most of the businesses up and down here don’t have a problem with it.”
In fact, the street is home to several antique businesses, and even they are supportive. “There are a couple of antique malls on this same block,” says Dennis Stomberg, owner of the Roscoe Antique Mall of South Beloit, “and I would like Vern to make a go of it. I would like it to build up more people to come on our street to buy things.”