Kansas May 19, 2017
One Of Kansas’ Oldest And Best Flea Markets Is Closing And It’s Truly Heartbreaking
With the general recessions Kansas has been through, and the recent uprising of online shopping, it’s no wonder that businesses like K-mart and Dollar General are disappearing. The Village Flea Market, a Wichita staple since the 70’s, is closing. To be honest, it’s heartbreaking. It almost feels like we’re losing a core piece of Wichita’s community.
Here stands the Village Flea Market, soon to be converted into a storage facility.
The owner, Mike Garvey, stated in an interview that it will be for his real estate development company, which he is president of. This leaves quite a few vendors suddenly without a venue as of June 2nd, the official close date.
It was a hard decision to make.
Unfortunately, the reasons for closing are as simple as funding. There's space for as many as 400 vendors, but only about 80 of those spots are permanently filled. The owner says that foot traffic has slowed, and he believes that online shopping is becoming more prevalent, leading to less in-person sales. This, coupled with extensive (see: never-ending) construction on Meridian, blocking most access to the facility for a long while.
Open since 1972, and closing next month, after 42 years in business.
Those that sell their wares here don't want it to end so quickly. A few of them are coming together to try and find a new venue, in hopes of keeping the spirit of this flea market alive. Currently, they're exploring options for buildings they could move into, and a vendor named Jason Knipp has even set up
this GoFundMe page
to hopefully get enough donations to help buy a new building to call home.
A vendor named Robert Esau-Rutherford says Village Flea Market is Wichita's heritage.
All through my childhood, I remember sifting through these bins, looking for the one toy I could take home that day. I'm sure there's plenty of other Kansans who have the same memories, especially near Wichita. This flea market will truly be missed by both the vendors and the people who shopped here. How many of you have memories here or at a place like this?