The Brooklyn Flea Market failed to catch on in Philly — but what about the Franklin Flea Market?
Old City resident Mark Vevle watched the Brooklyn Flea set up and eventually fail to take hold in Philly, finally closing last month. But Vevle knew such a flea market could thrive in the city, that it just needed more time.
Vevle, who was hired to set up the now-defunct New York transplant, has moved on to his own venture with creation of the Franklin Flea Market.
“With a different name that’s maybe a little more Philly-sensitive and a different location just for a change, and someone that’s local … maybe that will change some minds?” he said.
The Brooklyn Flea was held in Northern Liberties’ Piazza, a location Vevle said may have contributed to its downfall. Vevle’s endeavor, the Franklin Flea, will open on an underused stretch of Market Street in Center City, inside the old Strawbridge & Clothier department store.
Vevle is renting the big room full of high ceilings, old brass chandeliers and marble floors that was once home to the department store’s makeup counters. He plans to run the Franklin Flea here for six weeks, possibly longer if things go well.
Vevle, who was born and raised Minneapolis, said he feels at home in Philadelphia now.
“As a resident here for only three years, I had no relationship to Strawbridge’s and didn’t know that this space existed,” he said. “I just knew it to be my path on the way to catch the train to the airport and when it was identified and pointed out to me, I couldn’t believe that I had missed it visually.”
Vevle hopes others will have a similar experience and that they’ll be drawn to the market and its 25,000-square-foot space inside the historic building. Plus, of course, the food and flea market items that will be for sale.
“We have a caliber of vendors that are really good at what they do. They go to auctions way out in the rural parts of Pennsylvania to pick up some unusual items,” he said. “You’re going to pay a little bit of a premium for those people that are doing that hunting and selecting for you.”
Vevle plans to set up an outdoor flea market in the spring and summer at a location to be determined. The winter Franklin Flea Market inside the old Strawbridge’s building begins Saturday.