A year ago, Mario Finateri was in the yard sale business. Now, he and his business partner are running a brand new flea market in Beacon, N.Y., called the Beacon Flea Market, that focuses on serving its community. And today, on June 26, the local chamber of commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on site.
“I was always interested in flea markets and garage sales,” says Finateri. “Emma Dewing is my partner. Her father is the director of a museum, and she had that background in art and antiques. So the flea market seemed like a natural thing for us to do.”
Finateri started small. “I held my own yard sales. We made a little Web site with Flickr photos. It worked out well, and we thought we should start a flea market. We wanted to do it in Beacon, which is an up and coming town. We both live here, and we thought it would be a good thing for Beacon.”
The pair found a site, at a parking lot that had been unused on Sundays. They got the okay from the town, which took about six months — and came with a string attached. “There’s a farmers market in Beacon at the waterfront nearby,” explains Finateri, “so our deal with the city is that we are not allowed to sell food or drinks. We’re parallel to Main Street, so it encourages people to go out, see the town, and get breakfast or lunch.”
A flea market that makes house calls
Giving up food concession sales did not overly concern the Beacon Flea Market organizers, who have emphasized their desire to give back to the local community. For example, while the market Web site features product photos sent in by vendors — a free service — the market takes the photo service an extraordinary step farther for Beacon residents. “If they are a Beacon resident, I’ll go to their house to take photos,” says Finateri. “A lot of people aren’t Internet savvy, or don’t know how to put a photo on the Web.”
Space rental also help locals. A 10×10 booth with room for a table costs $20 for non-resident vendors and $15 for residents. The organizers are also happy to cross-promote other events in Beacon, and that devotion to the community has paid off, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal, in an article headlined “Weekly bazaar bolsters Beacon.”
“It’s been good. From the second week, we’ve been averaging about 30 dealers,” says Finateri. “We have a lot of shoppers, no admission, and plenty of parking.” The market is held Sundays in good weather. If the forecast looks bad by Saturday evening, the organizers call it off, put a notice online, and let vendors know by e-mail and phone. No money is lost on a cancellation, because the market only pays for the lot on days it is actually used. Vendors don’t lose out either. “They show up, they set, up and around nine o’clock, my partner goes around to each one, we have a list, and collects,” says Finateri. If vendors don’t come, they don’t pay anything.
The Internet has served the flea market well, not only with product photos on the market’s Web page, but with Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Finateri and Dewing are also making plans to expand the business. “In August we’re adding estate sales and house clean outs,” says Finateri, “which will help get more merchandise for the flea market.”
The market runs on fair weather Sundays from from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., May through October For more information, call (845) 656-2581 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credits, with thanks: Beacon Flea Market.