Newspapers have always had a close relationship with garage sales and flea markets, usually on the advertising side. However, Greater Philadelphia Media, parent of the Burlington County Times, the Bucks County Courier Times, the Doylestown Intelligencer and PhillyBurbs.com, has taken the relationship to a new level, by holding the grand opening of its own outdoor flea market tomorrow.
The leader of the initiative is Jennifer Schultz, who manages the call center for GPM. “I’ve done my own yard sales and participated in flea markets, so I know how good they can be,” she says.
After doing well with small-scale events, the company is launching its first big outdoor market Saturday, June 25. “About a year and a half ago we started doing indoor flea markets,” says Schultz. “Now we are trying to do one outdoor event in each of the summer months in each of our newspaper’s markets,” she says, “and we’ll still do about four or five indoor markets.”
According to Schultz, there has been a lot of vendor interest. “They’re calling every minute,” she says. “I anticipate that tomorrow morning as we’re setting up, people will show up with their car packed, asking to participate.” Those last minute sellers will be most welcome, since the parking lot, at a local mall near a shuttered department store, has room for 500 vendors. At least 100 vendors are committed to the event.
Schultz says that she was able to heavily advertise the event both in print and online. “We hope the shoppers will come out in droves to buy everybody’s stuff.” For the smaller, indoor markets, the market ran full page ads in the papers with three lines of text for every vendor. For tomorrow’s larger outdoor market, Schulz wasn’t able to do that, but she did highlight a range of products in the ad. A news writer, Kate Fratti, talked up the market, and flea markets generally, in a column that ran today.
Regular company employees are supporting the event, with circulation, sales people, and administration staffers all coming out to work the flea market. “We’ll be showing up at 5:30,” says Schultz. “We’ve got to mark all the spots, register the vendors as they come in, and section off the area to make sure our shoppers are safe.”
She says that the proceeds from booth rental fees will basically pay for the parking lot rental and staff. “It’s kind of a wash for us,” she says. “The indoor events benefit our Newspapers in Education program, but for this particular event, money raised pays for the cost of everything. The community sees us as a source for advertising their own garage sales, so we’re helping them out when they need to make money.”
For more information, contact Jennifer Schultz directly at (215) 949-1230 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The GPM market also has its own Facebook page.