Lancaster Marketplace: Sunday flea market offers treasures, unexpected finds
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Lancaster—Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Lancaster Marketplace features music, special events and the chance to find treasurers at its hundreds of permanent booths and temporary tables.
The Marketplace is opening its outdoor selling space this month as the weather warms up, but its 60,000-square-foot indoor space is open every Sunday, rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Seb Valera, general manager, is arranging outdoor summer band concerts, and the Guitar Guys—Dave Shaheen and Jon Finn—who played with cowboy legend Rex Trailer, will also perform.
“Check our website for new events and for specials each week,” Valera said. The website is www.lmpflea.com.
The music and special events add some fun to the Lancaster Marketplace, but the real draw are over 300 indoor booths and indoor and outdoor tables, where vendors sell just about everything.
Jonathan Ouellette has set up his booth space near the marketplace entrance as a small store called The Saltbox Mouse with walls and a door, selling primarily seasonal and country-themed merchandise.
“Retailing has always been in my blood, like a hobby,” Ouellette said. “Most of my merchandise is overstocks from local stores, and everything is discounted.”
He’s been at Lancaster for seven years and credits “the people—the other vendors are wonderful, the management works with me, and the customers are awesome.”
Mark Nelson, a fourth-generation candy maker, has been selling his family’s chocolate- covered pretzels, fudge, candy turtles and popcorn at Lancaster for 10 years. Unlike most vendors, he also has a retail store, in Hampton Beach, and sells at fairs, but his candy is at Lancaster Marketplace every Sunday.
Antiques and collectibles, mostly toys, fill the booths Lee Ritchie has been renting since the day the flea market opened. “I was only planning to stay about three weeks, but it’s been a great experience,” Ritchie said. “I have a lot of regular customers who come in looking for specific things to add to their collections.”
David Mason set up shop in the Lancaster Marketplace after closing his retail jewelry store, Welsh House Gems, in downtown Westborough. The awning from that shop now accents his booth.
Mason sells natural gemstones he sets himself and necklaces designed by his wife, Martha, as well as other pieces of fine jewelry. “I also take jewelry to repair,” he said, pulling out an envelope with seven rings a customer had just left to be re-sized.
Mason’s merchandise is higher-end than most of the goods at Lancaster, “but there are a number of customers with lots of money who like flea markets and know they can get a good deal.”
Joe Coleman, an artist, sells his portraits of sports stars and celebrities, which advertise the custom portraits he does. “As long as someone has a photograph, I can make a portrait.”
Bob and Bernice Stevenson have been selling “a little bit of everything” in their space since the Marketplace opened, from wooden roses Bob makes to Bernice’s knitted and crocheted items. They display over 265 hand-painted rubber ducks and other handcrafted items, as well as conventional gifts.
“Business here is good. If it wasn’t, I’d be gone,” Bob said with a laugh.
Bill Gikas has been in the antiques business since 1980 and took up shop in the Marketplace the day it opened. He also has a store in Lowell. His merchandise includes furniture, accessories and architectural items such as doors and windows. He freshens the assortment with a van load of new items each week.
Sandra Armstrong has been selling her eclectic assortment here for nine years. “It’s clean, the food is delicious, and it’s heated or air-conditioned year-round. That makes all the difference.”
Michelle Page and her brother, Bob Begin, sell new women’s blouses and tops in the booth they’ve had for three years. “Women are often surprised to find new clothing here, so they stop and look, and that’s what works for us,” Begin said.
The indoor booth spaces at Lancaster start at $40, but the table space is cheaper, $25 indoors and $15 outdoors. Valera noted many people rent a table for a Sunday instead of holding a yard sale.
Lancaster Marketplace includes the Lady Lancaster Diner, a replica of a 1950s diner, serving full breakfast and lunch. There’s an ATM machine, and the service desk can accept credit cards on behalf of vendors.
Lancaster Marketplace is at 1304 Lunenburg Rd. (Rt. 70) in Lancaster, between routes 2 and 117. For additional information, call 866-400-3532 or visit the website www.lmpflea.com.
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