AMITY TRADE DAYS
When the Curt Bean Lumber Co. closed down in Glenwood, Ark., in 2010, it hit the town hard — as well as tiny neighboring Amity. The mill had employed 200 people and, given Amity’s population of 700, it was a significant loss. So when Amity resident Kimberly Jones and her husband, Russell, acquired 54 acres near the center of town, they immediately starting thinking of ways to use it that would benefit their community. A visit to the huge flea market located in Canton, Texas, gave them an idea.
“We have always loved to go to auctions and buy things,” says Jones. “We thought about turning it into a salvage yard, and then we had this idea — I guess the Lord put it in our head.” In March of 2015, the couple hosted the first Amity Trade Days, an openair flea market with around 150 vendors. Since then, the flea market is open on the weekend before the second Monday of each month, Thursday through Sunday.
Jones says that, in just two years, the impact on the city has been significant.
“It brings in about 5,000 people a month,” she says of the event, which also features live music. “When you bring that many people into town, the restaraunts are full, the motels are full, the gas stations … and it benefits the other flea markets in town. When you start driving into Glenwood or Amity, you start seeing the garage sale signs lining the streets.”
Jones says she and her husband are thankful their idea turned out to be so successful. And this summer, the lumber company reopened. So far, it has hired 100 people with more jobs to come.
Things are looking up for Amity.
“It was part of our dream, to see everything come back to life,” Jones says. “My husband and I both give the Lord the credit for all of this because we don’t feel like we could have done it without Him.”