TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Blame the hipsters or maybe the demise of Honest Ed’s, but flea markets are back and better than ever: whose haggling is healthier?
Owner(s); year established:
Christine Roberts and Brigid Elmy of Leslieville Flea; 2013 Vince Luk and Joshua James of Parkdale Flea; 2013
On a scale of one to Antiques Road Show, how big is your passion for flea market finds?
Off the charts: like pull the car to a screeching halt, dive into a dumpster, pick things up roadside, passionate! I’ve carried home old salvaged wood mouldings while I was nine months pregnant. I’m always looking for a good deal, and I live for Storage Wars! It’s great being the organizer because I always get first dibs on those unique one-of-a-kind items!
Is there a certain “repertoire” amongst the different vendors?
They are all truly amazing and supportive people. They help each other out and many have become good friends. It’s like a family, really. The vendors are incredibly supportive of each other, and I always see trades happen between them. It’s a great community to be a part of.
You gotta love the hagglers! Do people still barter for the best deal?
Definitely! We get some really hard-core bargain hunters, so it can get pretty interesting, but our vendors really know the value of each item. Oh, they absolutely haggle! Especially with the antique and vintage items. Not so much with art and handmade crafts.
Strangest/craziest thing you’ve seen someone buy/sell?
I’ve seen a stuffed iguana sold; a vendor get chased by a chicken. Someone once bought a full-length vintage fur coat in mid July! I have actually seen someone buy animal remains from a cabinet of curiosities. No joke. There is literally something for everyone.
One’s trash is another’s treasure. Is it hard to find cool items and sellers?
We base it on the quality and type of items they sell. Our main focus is vintage and handcrafted goods, but we always strive for a wide mix of items being sold. Different is always good! We try to get a diverse range of vendors, local artisans and young entrepreneurs. We select those that show commitment to the quality of their products and an enthusiastic attitude.
What classifies as the “holy grail” of flea market finds?
Any item that has a unique story behind it and has people asking, “Where did you find that?!” Something that has the customer beaming with excitement at the treasure they found.