With every tough situation, there is a silver lining, and United Flea Markets sure knows how to make them. For years, UFM has been helping to run and operate flea markets all over the U.S. and in their latest attempt to help out, they just announced on January 16th that they will be offering free selling spaces at all of the company’s nationwide flea markets to furloughed employees during the government shutdown. Rob Sieban, President, CEO and co-owner of United Flea Markets said he hopes this will provide workers with a larger and more robust shopping audience than a regular garage sale.
“It’s very important across our platform that we are involved in the community,” Sieban said. “We were tired of hearing the stories of these workers and having to sell their cars and live off of limited savings, so we figured we had to do something to help them.”
UFM owns and operates 10 diverse flea markets nationwide, including Mile High Flea Market in Denver, CO; Flamingo Island Flea Market in Bonita Springs, FL; T&W Flea Market is Pensacola, FL; Ramona Flea Market in Jacksonville, FL; Awesome Flea Market in Shepherdsville, KY; J&J Flea Market in Athens, GA; Cooks Flea Market in Winston-Salem, NC; Mobile Flea Market in Mobile, AL; Keller’s Flea Market in Savannah, GA; and Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre and Swap Meet in Riverside, CA.
As soon as UFM announced this free selling spot idea to all of their markets, unanimously everyone jumped and said they wanted to get started, and within the first couple of hours, the company was already hearing great response about booking multiple spaces. Since then, UFM has continued to receive numerous calls for inquiries about the spaces. This is a great opportunity for furloughed employees and they’re already taking advantage of it.
Sieban said the company plans on continuing the free selling space opportunity until the government is up and running again. “We don’t budget for things like this, but we always find a way to make it work,” Sieban said. “We have plenty of spaces and inventory available and we feel strong enough about the program. We’re doing it for the workers, so we’ll find a way to make the money back. It’s not our main focus.”
In order to register for a free selling space at one of the markets, you must book in person and present a valid federal government ID. You can only book one weekend at a time, one weekend in advance, and each individual is limited to one free space per booking. Once booked, you must follow all market rules and regulations. Details and hours of operation can be found on each market’s individual Facebook page:
Mile High – https:/www.facebook.com/events/2278243335744768/
Flamingo Island – https:/www.facebook.com/events/817365895280866/
There seems to be no end in sight for the government shutdown, so as a flea market it’s time to think about the different ways you could help furloughed employees. Offering free selling spaces is a great way to help and be a part of the UFM team, but you can also offer the employees discounts or other similar programs to show that you care. Flea markets are around to engage and bring the community together, so think about how you can help out!