Small Business Spotlight: Phila Flea Markets
Are you a bargain hunting brat? A fiend for antiques? A flea market fanatic? If so, you are definitely in the right city. Thanks to local organization, Phila Flea Markets, Philadelphia has a flourishing and rapidly expanding flea market scene. By hosting multiple monthly events, year round, Tony Soprano of Phila Flea Markets single-handedly manages to keep shoppers satisfied and provide countless vendors with steady business.
Tony began this business in 1987 when he decided to arrange a sidewalk sale to raise money for building repairs as a member of a local condo association. He acquired a vacant lot, reached out some vendors and was amazed by the response he received. Tony’s entrepreneurial spirit was immediately awakened and he quickly got to work creating the enormous network of vendors and venues that he coordinates today. Thanks to word-of-mouth and a spectacular community of street vendors, Tony’s business is thriving.
Phila Flea Markets maintains a jam-packed schedule of markets throughout the city. During the summer and fall months they host a flea market every Saturday at various locations. During the winter, they move indoors to a warehouse space at 9th and Spring Garden Streets, located in the Callowhill neighborhood. Twice a year, they host what is known as the Super Bowl of flea market, consisting of 175 vendors and thousands of shoppers, at Eastern State Penitentiary. Thanks to this organization, you never have to look far for a flea market in Philly.
Tony loves everything about the work he does. He enjoys meeting new customers and vendors at every flea market that he hosts and learning all about their interesting products. He really appreciate that Philly’s central location leads to the markets being “very well attended” with a good amount of out-of-state visitors. Tony really emphasized the deep bond he has formed with some of his regular vendors, especially the “pioneers from the very beginning” who have been working with him for over 20 years. Most importantly, he likes the opportunity to contribute to charitable causes and often donates funds to the venues that host his markets including Eastern State Penitentiary, St. Peter’s Church and a variety of other schools, playgrounds, parks and organizations.
When we asked Tony about some of the hot products for sale at his markets he gave us some great tips. He pointed out the growing interest of re purposed or “upcycled” goods among the younger generation of flea market browsers. He discussed the high demand for costume and estate jewelry as well as the common love for anything vintage or antique-y. Tony noted that many of his vendors have gone on to open retail clothing shops and jewelry stores. With an average of over sixty vendors at any given event with a variety of products, you will definitely find something that you want to snatch up at a Phila Flea Market.
Tony Soprano expressed nothing but gratitude for the support he has received from the Philadelphia community, his shoppers and his awesome network of vendors. He says that the most exciting thing about running Phila Flea Markets has been watching its explosive growth. We are very happy about the success of this company and the fact that we now know exactly where to go for all of our favorite, quirky, crafty flea market goods.
Written by Patrick Kaisinger (Mike McCann Team Blogger Extraordinaire)