How do you define the current state of the flea market & swap meet industry? According to Rob Sieban, president of United Flea Markets and most recent chairman of the National Flea Market Association (NFMA) board, that definition would begin with diversity. At the February 2018 annual convention held in Las Vegas, the NFMA celebrated the strength and range of a very healthy industry. When asked about the conference, Sieban noted, “There continues to be a diversified group of attendees, from small, medium and large markets, as well as geographically diverse markets, too. We have a great mix of member markets and I think this was one of the best conferences.” Sieban went on to add, “The quality of the session presentations was remarkable and all were extremely timely and focused on very relevant topics.”
During the course of this year’s meeting, the NFMA membership conducted their organization elections, electing Wolff’s Flea Markets owner David Wolff to the position of NFMA President, and moving Ben Campen, of Smiley’s Flea Markets & Antique Malls, into the position of Board Chairman. Stepping down from his own 2-year run as Board Chairman, Sieban was excited to note the addition of new board members to the organization’s structure. “With this conference came the elections as well as the addition to the board of Ken Hinz from Traders Village Houston and Gene Berry, Vice President of United Flea Markets. We’re very happy to have them on the NFMA Board.”
Looking back on the two years of his association chairmanship, Sieban is enthusiastic about the health and vitality of the swap meet and flea market industry. Pointing to the wide range of session presentations covered at the annual conference, Sieban noted, “We had a fascinating presentation from Traders Village on meeting the needs of the millennial customer in the food and beverage line. We had a marketing group come in to address the members and discuss how market owners can get their message out there, how to make it clear, and how to work within different budgets.” Also of note were the topics relating to spotting fraudulent merchandise and updates on the trends in industry related legislation impacting owners and managers
Looking toward the future, the NFMA is focused on continued outreach to market owners and managers, as well as cultivating growth in the their current membership roster. “We are all unified in growing our membership, and continuing to offer service and value to every member market, that’s key,” added Sieban. All current NFMA members receive a weekly email from the association that includes national legislation updates, industry news, and social media tips and ideas. On the association’s website, members may use an interactive search engine to search by state to stay informed of topics pertaining to their local area, as well as covering national issues.
For 2019, Sieban says the conference planning committee is already hard at work evaluating venues and building another fun and engaging agenda. As the details are nailed down, we at The Merchandiser will share the dates and location for the 2019 conference and recommend all market owners and managers attend. To learn more about the NFMA and their annual conference, please visit their website at www.fleamarkets.org.