Adventures in starting a new flea market!

What started as a way to give the town something to look forward to once the kids went back to school, became a new type of antique sale. I had thought it would be interesting instead of having a flea market in one spot, to have dealers set up at their homes in town. That way we would have ACCESS to more of our items than when we haul it over to a flea market. So I wanted to include those that might have a few antiques and collectibles but also have some home decor and general yards sale items.  So I thought up the name, “Sigourney City Wide Flea Market & Yard Sales.”  

Well our first year was rainy but we still had good sales for such wet weather.  Some of people outside of town wanted to come into town to set up. So began my adventure of learning what is involved with setting up a small flea market. Our town square came to mind as a site to hold the flea market. We have a lovely court out in the center of our square along with a large fountain and war memorials. Plus there is several shops on the town square as well as places to eat and a very good ice cream shop. Since that property belongs to county and we needed the city to get off the ground and running with this. So that involved getting both the town and county in the course of setting this up. So they needed us to jump through the hoops and they had to jump through with them.

The county wanted to know, first off, why I wasn't setting up at the site I had to select for the flea market. So I had to explain how this was a spin-off of my original idea and I still wanted to have dealers in town to set up at their homes. Another reason given was when I go to What Cheer flea market I only take part of the things I have for sale. And that I wanted to have something unique for people to come and enjoy. Plus it would let people to see our town.

So at first we had to deal with rules set down by both.  First we dealt with putting up canopies and at first we thought could just get in contact with One Call to clear spaces so people could drive a stake. Well then the county told us that there were powerlines run by electric companies to different places in the court yard. So they can't clear any spaces to drive anything into the ground. So that is one of the main rules you can put up a canopy but it must be handled in place with weight. Nothing can be driven into the ground. I had to agree to anyone driving stakes or screws into the ground would be told to leave.  Plus no tarps could be placed on the ground since in even two days that could damage the lawn.  So you have to leave the lawn bare.

Then came insurance which is why we had get the city involved to meet a policy the county has. Now the city and county both state it is their policy that each vendor must have insurance that covers them for an off property event. Meaning that just because your household insurance covers you having a yard sale for your antiques and collectibles it likely does not cover you taking those to a flea market.  You likely need what they call a rider and it will be marked as a hobby. Now I talked to my insurance man and you can have a temporary rider for this event if it is the only flea market you want to do. But you need to talk to your insurance agent.

Then we had to make the vendors and buyers safe and leave the sidewalks open.  Since Friday is a court date so to have the area safe, I got the city and county to agree to block parking on two sides of the square. So no items can be placed on the sidewalks.  Then the city and county demands that anything a vendor brings he takes back with him.  Nothing is to be left in assigned booths by the vendors. Also vendors will be assigned a booth and not allowed to just come and set up. Then came what to do with vendor's vehicles since they didn't want them left on the places closed off to parking. Also it was stated no trailers can be put in the booths.  So we are pretty sure we have a lot for dealers to park their vehicles and trailers.  

The city asked that there be a dead line for signing up so they know how many vendors will be there. So they wanted it to be several days so we agreed to the Tuesday noon as a shutoff date and time before the weekend of the flea market. Then the city and county wanted the town square checked and cleaned up before Monday morning.  

So we are going to try our first flea market on the square for people out of town and still have flea market booths set up at dealers’ homes.  It will be the 6th and 7th of September with a deadline to sign up of September 3rd.  You can call the city clerk to sign up at (641) 622-3080 and they can give you all the rules and how to sign up, but only by Sept. 3rd.  Or search for Sigourney City Wide flea market and yard sales for information.