So what’s your background? Are you a Brandon girl?
I’ve been in Brandon since high school. I was a teacher for 34 years and retired from teaching, and went into a second career of selling real estate, and retired from that, and now with my work partner, Corinne Downey, have the Southview Flea Market.
Thirty-four years is a long time! So what did you teach?
I taught everything from kindergarten to Grade 9.
Wow. And real estate — you did that for how long?
No kidding! And what was it about that that you liked?
Oh, just meeting people — being around people was lots of fun. And when I was teaching, I always did something new and different. I had to make it interesting for me in order to make it fun for the kids. And so here I am, still trying to do interesting things — things that interest me!
So what is it that intriques you about the flea market venture? I think people think a whole lot of different things when they hear the words "flea market." It’s not a garage sale, but it’s also not just a bunch of crap, either. You have some artisans there, and I presume some of the items are almost antiquey finds that folks come across.
Exactly. We call it ‘collectibles and treasures.’ And last year, we had one market on a weekend in September. And on the Saturday, we had over a thousand people who came through looking for these treasures. Now there are people who have home businesses, and some of the home businesses are Sensi Candles, Epicure, Tupperware, Watkins, and Norwex.
But we also have original art and lots of jewellery. And then people came in just with flea market treasures and yard sale things and thought that they didn’t just want to have the sale in their back yard because they had heard the market was large and they knew that their market area would be bigger at Southview and that they would sell their treasures as such.
Then we also have people who have actual antiques, which are gorgeous — antique jewellery, antique furniture — and all kinds of collectibles — gorgeous things. Even hockey cards from years back. It is just so much fun — the people are fabulous, the vendors are so fun. We love it!
I’ve noticed that there’s almost a festive or festival atmosphere at these kinds of events.
There is! It’s just a whole lot of fun.
When do you start, when do you end, and what are the hours of operation?
We are doing it the second Saturday of each month for May, June, July, August, and September. And the dates are May 10, June 14, July 12, Aug. 9, and Sept. 13. And it runs from nine in the morning until 6 p.m.
We’re still looking for more vendors — there’s always room for more. Our building is huge — it’s 22,000 square feet at the old duck barns beside the former Habitat for Humanity building — and we have inside and outside spaces. We had people who chose to be outside last year — they just wanted to be. But because our season is so slow this year, I think most people, for the first one, will want to be inside. And if anyone is interested in being a vendor, it’s $50 for the one day or if they choose to join us for all five, they get one free, and it’s $200 for all five.
Each space is 100 square feet — it’s a 10-by 10-foot space, they bring their own tables and they can set it up any way they want. And if they want to be outside, they get a bigger space, because of course we’ve got five acres. And they can spread out for the same price.
Is there a particular clientele? People who are looking for something amazing for less money, or they’re on the lookout for something really, really special that they might not find someplace else?
Well, if people hear we have a particular vendor that they’re looking for — actually, one of the home business vendors, they will come there rather than go to a home party, because a lot of these people have home parties as well. So they will come and they can just buy direct right there. A lot of other people will come just for the sake of spending a Saturday and having something fun to do.
Some people will come in search of actual antiques because they know the vendors, and do follow them when they are in different towns. So there are a lot of different reasons that a person would come.
You said earlier that you had to do something that was fun for you. What’s fun for you about this?
First of all, the people. There isn’t one single vendor who came last year that I didn’t think was fun. For instance, one of our vendors is Barry, a musician, and he sat there and played his guitar most of the day while people came and looked at his collectibles and he used to play in a band with Willie Nelson years ago. And he has SO many stories to tell! It was so much fun. He is just great.
And then there’s an old fellow, a farmer, who makes windmills.
And he came the night before and wanted to be our guard. And I kind of thought, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Well, I live out of town and I’m going to sleep in my truck. If you let me stay, I’ll guard your stuff.’ And I said, ‘Well, I have security that comes around.’ Because people set up on Friday night, so we have security on Friday night. But I said, ‘You’re more than welcome to stay overnight.’ So the people are just fun. I mean, most of them do it because they enjoy it, too.
Last year was supposed to be just a one-off, right?
We tried it out. And people were asking us, "Are you doing it again? Are you coming back?" They were saying, "It was the best sale ever." So we said, "OK. But we don’t think at this point that Brandon can handle every weekend." And I don’t think the vendors want to do it every single weekend. But I really just don’t think people in Brandon would want to go every weekend. We’re not big enough for that. So one day a month, we thought we’d give it a try.
So your clientele, I’m presuming, would come from all walks of life.
All over. And when people hear about it, they plan on it — that this is what we’re doing Saturday.
Any food vendors on site?
We had hotdogs, hamburgers, smokies last year — drinks — and they were busy all day.
Now that leads me to ask, what about people who sell homemade food items in their booths? There must be regulations covering that.
Anybody who does that has to meet health regulations and proper packaging — those are the big things. We have the health regulations that have to be met, so anybody who’s interested can just contact us.
So why do you want to dedicate five weekends to this?
Well, we go to Florida in the winter and I’m here all summer. I don’t go to the lake — we’re not lakers. And I enjoy Brandon in the summer. And we love it here. And our friends are here, our family’s here, and we’re here and we just enjoy it.
So it’s something that’s just fun and different, once a month?
Is there an admission fee or anything?
Well, we didn’t do it last year, but this year there’s going to be a one dollar admission fee and a portion is going to be donated to a different charity every month. And we go rain or shine, every month.
Just come out for a happy, fun day and something to do in beautiful Brandon!
For more information contact Jackie Mackay at 204-724-5717 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Corinne Downey at 204-761-3932 or email@example.com
To get to the Soutview Flea Market, take the Eastern Access Road off of 18th Street and then go one mile east.