The Tennessee Flea Market, an ambitious indoor flea market mall that launched four months ago, closed its doors last weekend. One of the largest indoor weekly swap meets in the Mid-South, the market had planned to be a Tennessee-themed tourist destination with up to 850 vendors, as FleaMarketZone reported at the launch. When the market, located in a former Kmart in Memphis, closed, it had 300 vendors.
A range of factors seem to have contributed to the market’s demise. According to the Memphis Daily News, a theft and bad business decisions were to blame:
The Small Business Chamber, some of whose members are vendors at the market, posted on its Facebook page Sunday that the initial manager had stolen $200,000 from the business and made other poor business decisions. The SBC also reported investors lost more than $700,000 and cannot continue to operate the business.
According to WMCTV Action News 5, a big boost in rent and vendors who did not pay their booth rentals contributed to the market’s closure:
“Our lease on the property that the previous management negotiated went from $15,000 a month to $45,000 a month, and we’ve had a problem with our vendors not paying the rent,” flea market operator Scottie Fain said Monday.
Vendors have been scrambling to move their booths and merchandise out of the market in a very limited amount of time. Tennessee Flea Market manager Scottie Fain plans to leave the area, telling WMCTV, “the quicker they can get out of Memphis, the better.”