Spring Draws Customers to Flea Markets

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Photo from Unsplash: Clem Onojeghuo

Flea markets have been in existence since the 19th century as a place to purchase an assortment of goods in the open air. Today, they are a growing business that brought in more than $36 billion in 2023. According to Ibisworld.com, the industry has grown 4.5% between 2018 and 2023, with more than 510,000 flea market businesses in the United States. There are five traditional markets in Middle Tennessee. 

It is believed that the term “Flea Market” comes from the French “marché aux puces,” a title that was given to a Parisian market that specialized in selling second-hand goods, according to cowtownfarmersmarket.com.

“Traditional flea markets are often set up along the streets, making them a more seasonal concept,” said cowtownfarmersmarket.com. “To fill in the gaps and meet the demand, many brick-and-mortar locations have since popped up around the country and operate year-round.” 

First arriving in the United States in 1873, more than 5,000 flea markets are assumed to be operating in the country today serving millions of customers.

Interest in flea markets comes and goes, but with the return to interest in vintage and second-hand goods by both interior designers and the general public, the upward trend is expected to continue over the next few years as they are a great place to find one-of-a-kind statement pieces for the home. 

According to Forbes Magazine, “Less will no longer be more in the coming year. ‘Ultra-modern minimalism is out for 2024! We’re seeing a push towards more layered spaces full of color and pattern. Gone are the days of white walls and cookie-cutter layouts as unique configurations and ornate architectural details are having a comeback,’ says Samantha Stathis-Lynch of Samantha Ware Design… ‘To round out the lived-in feel, all things vintage are a must as they add patina and depth to your space.’” 

Maximalism and “curated clutter” are the new trends. Avenue 8 states, “With all due respect to Marie Kondo, a more lived-in, idiosyncratic interior style does feel right at a moment when so much else has been stripped away… The mini-boom in knick-knack shopping is happening.” 

People are once again looking for unique items with which to decorate their homes and blend with items they already have to create artfully cluttered vignettes. Flea markets and vintage stores are a great place to look for these unique items. They also offer lower priced items, a boon during inflation. 

The Nashville Flea Market has been in existence since 1969. Located on the Nashville Fairgrounds, at 401 Windgrove Street, it is considered one of the top ten flea markets in the country with about 2,000 booths run by vendors coming to sell their wares from 30 states. “Merchandise sold features antique furniture, dishware, knick knacks, specialty foods, boutique clothing, carpets, health and beauty items, jewelry, perfume, leather goods, paper goods, yard art and more,” says the Nashville Fairground website. It runs all year from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, on the last weekend of the month, usually. Here’s the schedule for 2024. 

Running every third Saturday in Columbia, Tennessee, Muletown Flea Market takes place on the lawn at Glover’s Secondhand. It is located in the Columbia Arts District at 1200 S. High Street. Here customers will find vintage items, secondhand clothing, local artwork, handmade items, baked goods, antiques, and more. The hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. The 2024 schedule can be seen here. 

The Franklin Flea Market took place twice in 2023, and Stewart Promotions, the company that organizes the event, plans to have four in 2024. They will occur at the Williamson County Ag Expo Park, 4215 Long Lane. The next scheduled market is April 20 through April 21. Times will be 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. There are more than 500 booths located both inside and outside, as well as food trucks. Antiques, collectibles, crafts, boutique, jewelry, electronics and much more will be available at the market.

Sitting on the city limit line between Springfield and Greenbriar in Robertson County at 2862 U.S. 41, the Highway 41 Flea Market will open for the season in April 2024 and run through the end of October. Family-owned and operated, they offer antiques, fishing gear, resale/yard sale items, vegetables, flowers, crafts and food. They are open Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. 

Open Saturdays and Sundays from March until November, the Parkland Flea Market is located at 4994 Murfreesboro Road in Lebanon, Tennessee. This market has been operating since 1977. More than 300 ever-changing booths offer everything from antiques and collectibles to farm animals to plants and vegetables. A cash-only market, they are open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. They have space available both under cover and in the open air.

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