Following in a California tradition of businesses that are drive-in movie theaters by night and swap meets by day, the new owner of the Skyline Drive-in in Barstow, Calif., is opening a flea market this Sunday, Sept. 26.
Owner Gene Harvey has his roots in the movie business, but he says that opening a flea market has been a good experience. “I and my staff, we’ve had a lot of fun setting it up,” he says. “It’s a lot of work, and we’re just apprehensive about what we can expect this first day!” But he has been encouraged by the enthusiastic response from people in the community to his advertising and fliers.
Vendors at the Skyline Swap Meet will normally pay $20, and shoppers, 50 cents, but those costs are half off for October, as the market gets started. Harvey isn’t taking any advance rental fees — it’s first come, first served for the Sunday morning launch. “We’re just opening the gates and letting them come,” he says. “We can probably put in 200 to 300 vendors.”
His snack bar is big and offers both movie food and pizza. Harvey hopes to add entertainment and kiddie options, if the market takes off. And if his success with the movie business is any indication, it will.
“I’ve been in the movie theater business my whole life,” Harvey says. “This is my first time around with a drive-in. We took it on less than a year ago, we’re doing quite well as a theater with it, and we want to get this swap meet flea market going.”
The Skyline Swap Meet is at 31175 Old Highway 58, Barstow, Calif. For more information, call Gene Harvey at (909) 208-9264 or e-mail GeneMovieGuy@yahoo.com.
Photo credits, with thanks: Skyline Swap Meet and Google Street View.
Oct. 28 Update: Word comes from Gene Harvey that his swap meet has been doing well and is expanding:
Starting Nov. 6 and 7, Skyline Swap Meet will be held on Saturdays in addition to Sundays. A very large number of our sellers and buyers have asked if we could add Saturdays, so we are doing so. The hours will be the same on both days — 7:00 am to 2:00 pm with gates opening for sellers at 6:00 am. Fees will be the same on both days: sellers, $20 for a 20’ x 20’ space; and buyers, 50 cents. We will continue to have the raffle drawings every hour during every swap meet. All buyers and sellers receive a raffle ticket as they come through the gate. Prizes on the raffle include items donated by the sellers, pairs of Skyline Drive-In movie tickets, and other valuable items.