Shoppists, there’s a trend in our midst and it’s not of the clothing variety. It was brought to our attention by Franklin Flea founder Mark Vevle that more and more Franklin Flea vendors are making the jump to brick-and-mortar locations. He described sending an email to last year’s vendors to gauge interest and was met with five replies informing him the respective vendors were opening their own shops or expanding within Philly. If he harbors any resentment, you certainly can’t tell. “It’s not a bad problem to have,” he says.
So, what gives? Why are vendors making the jump? And is Franklin Flea really the key to retail success?
Vevle says Franklin Flea—along with other flea markets—gives vendors the opportunity to vary prices and products before nailing them down in a more permanent location. Plus, $100 fee for a 10×10 tent and $175 for two lots is substantially cheaper than opening an entire store — especially for fledgling vendors. Makes sense. A booth at a market is like a practice run, without too much financial and time investment.
So which stores made the move? Scout Salvage opened its Old City store back in October. (If you haven’t been yet, you should go, if only to see if that amazing vintage apothecary cabinet is still available. If it is, buy it before we do!) We reported last week that Ashley Peel-Pinkham of Indican jewelry will open next month. And florists Petit Jardine en Ville will follow on 3rd Street, too. Then it was announced last week that Amelie’s Bark Shop (yup, a puppy boutique!) will open on East Passyunk later this summer. The food trucks are getting in on the action as well. Vevle told us Anna and Tim Hitchens of Koliyan just signed a lease for their own shop, and Hank’s Sauce got picked up by Di Bruno’s.
In the end, it’s not a bad track record. (Looking to become a vendor? There’s still space. Click here for the details.) But since we won’t be realizing our shopkeep dreams anytime soon, we’re mostly concerned about the shopping. Here are the details: the Franklin Flea is returning to the Historic Strawbridge’s Building at 801 Market Street. It will run this Saturday (from 10am to 5pm), and then again on April 19th and 26th, and May 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th.
As for how to approach the Flea, check out our tips for shopping Clover Market. And remember: Get there early (or late), bring cash, wear a cross-body bag and remember the vendors you like. After all, they might just turn into your new favorite store.