Local News

Raleigh Flea Market vendors get rate increase

Posted September 21, 2009

— Vendors at the Raleigh Flea Market at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds say a recently announced rent increase comes at a time when sales are down.

Vendors were notified of the increase – from 37 cents per square foot to 50 cents per square foot – on Sunday. The increase goes into effect on Nov. 1.

It will impact the 200 indoor vendors, like Melissa Martindale, the most.

“I just feel a little scared, a little nervous because this is my main source of income,” said Martindale, who runs Horns-n-Hides. “We’ve all been hoping that things pick up.”

Raleigh Flea Market vendors get rate increase Flea market vendors face rent increase

Martindale said in the past two months she hasn’t made enough money to cover her rent.

Antique dealer Glen Perry said the increase will amount to $200 extra a week for him.

“I can’t stand to stay here if I’m not going to make money,” Perry said.

Perry said he has seen a 62 percent drop in profit this year.

Flea market manager Marshall Stewart said he pays $18,000 a month to rent out the state fairgrounds.

Stewart’s family founded the flea market, at 1025 Blue Ridge Road, in the 1970s, but lost the contract to operate it five years ago. Stewart recently won back the bid to operate the market, but at a higher cost. He said the increase is the result of the added expense it cost him to reclaim the bid.

Stewart said it is the first rate increase the market has seen in six years. He said he is willing to work with vendors who are struggling.

The Raleigh Flea Market is supposed to notify the the state Department of Agriculture in writing and receive written approval before raising rental rates for its vendors, according to spokesman Brian Long. That notice must be received at least 30 days in advance of the proposed change.

As of Monday afternoon, Long said his office had not received that information from the Raleigh Flea Market.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • sfate61 Sep 25, 2009

    I've been out at the flea market for about 8 years now and I can't go out to the flea market to sell this weekend as plan,on count of my van had mess. I emailed them to let them know I wasn't going to be there to save my spot for Nov 7th. My reply was $40.00 reserve $50.00 temp. It's hard enough to pay $40.00 in advance, but $50.00. Come on! The vendors are all gone now, but with this rate increase, it's going to be slim to none. I guess now I might have to go out and find a part time job for my spending money. Cause it's not going to happen out there now. I thought it had to be in writing to Dept of Agriculture before any rates would go up! If I'm not going to be making any money, what is the use to staying out there.

    norseman34--Do I know you!

  • norseman34 Sep 24, 2009

    well being a vendor out there for the last 15 years, I CAN tell you Marshall Stewart is NOT a good manager, hes failed his investors , and now has to hustle to make it up to them. It has NOTHING to do with the state or rent increases, thats just another line of BS hes shoving down our throats, I talked with some vendors and we are going to start going back to the Charlotte antique show, its Cheaper, 50.00 outside for 4 days of selling ! www.icashows.com if anyone wants to know where the good dealers ended up. I am really aghast that hes lied saying hes been gone for 5 years, lol Joan Long ran a great market, wish they could get her back thats for sure. As far as the Raleigh flea, well it will be a one shot deal for a lot of us now, GOOD GOING MARSHALL!

  • shortcake53 Sep 22, 2009

    We frequent the Flea Market and enjoy walking around. But we noticed that a lot of the vendors think highly of their stuff and its getting harder and harder to find a real deal. Yard sales seem to be better places to find bargains.

  • Madonna Sep 21, 2009

    I think combining Crazy Zack's theme to Flea Market is a great idea. Shag and shop! On the rate increase, it's time to roll back prices to the 1980's (Wal-Mart style).

  • crowemag Sep 21, 2009

    Just to make some corrections or make things clearer, food prices are set by the state, not management, but no big surprise if the state increases those prices. Rent did go up on outside spaces, but price is same for all, there was talk....and only talk about premium spaces going for more. And while I am allowed to speak freely, I have researched rent at a retail store for a previous owner of my business and in comparison, a 1,000 sqft retail store was $1,100 plus common and lights would be about $1,700 (remember open 7 days a week) for sq footage now at 1,000sq ft would be $2,000 for two days a week. management has made some changes that not everyone agreed with but had to deal with. i am sure that some 300 other vendors would love to have my space...if they could afford it, but I plan on staying and serving my customers...because that is who matters the most!

  • beachgal Sep 21, 2009

    Holy smoke! Now, this is news!!!

  • The Oracle Sep 21, 2009

    "Why not charge $.50 admission... We come from New England, and that was pretty much the standard. Does that not make sense?"

    It might make sense in New England but it doesn't make sense here. Does that make sense?

  • crowemag Sep 21, 2009

    Actually the Flea market is a private company that rents the property from the State, just like any of the trade shows do that set up at the fairgrounds. I was under the assumption that for the last 16 years another person had the contract for the market ran by a lady named Joan,not just the last 5 years. All permenant vendors are required to have a tax id number that they register with the market. I know there are some bad vendors out there that have no clue what customer service means, but there are plenty of hard working people that week in and week out have to set up and tear down their inventory to make a few dollars. To be an inside vendor is more than double the amount of money required to set up outside. But with the higher cost comes the luxury of not having to pack it up every weekend. If I could afford to a full time retail store i would, for a bit more per month I could be open 7 days a week rather than just 2 days for the high rent i pay now (787/month for 393.5sqft)

  • alp1223 Sep 21, 2009

    He went up on the rent from $18.00 per space to $20.00 at the end of last year or earlier this year. So the comment about not going up on the rent in six years is not true. He's already lost alot of vendors. He is going to keep on until nobody goes out there.

  • BULLDOZER Sep 21, 2009

    If occupancy is at 100%, then the Flea Market is doing what any business would, raise rates. If on the other hand occupancy is down and so is revenue, then the gov't run flea market will at sometime face the grim reality of the free market.... Folks will leave