Since opening in 2008, the Statesboro Flea Market has managed to hold its own despite setbacks and roving competition. Owner Jerry Jennings said he is committed to his flea market, but concerned that a number of vendors are setting up around town in empty lots.
"We have 35 steady vendors in here every week, and that is wonderful," he said. "What makes it difficult for an operation like ours is that folks are allowed to set up tables and sell stuff all over the city without any kind of licensing or permits. But, it is what it is, and we are managing to do fairly well even though we were required by the city to pave our parking lot which cost a tremendous amount."
The flea market is contained in a warehouse on Highway 301 North between Zetterower Avenue and Packinghouse Road. The building is approximately 130,000 square feet.
Sandra Anderson has had a booth there for the last two years. She primarily sells Avon products, but has other merchandise as well.
"I like to meet people, and this has been a wonderful venue for me to do just that and grow my business," she said. "I feel free to go and come, and make my own schedule. If I am not here, and somebody wants to buy something, Jerry will open my booth, and sell it to them as long as there is a price on it, and let me know. It is very secure, and Jerry is very trustworthy. It has been a wonderful working relationship."
Jennings has a total of 150 booths installed, and has no formal plans to add anymore at this time. Jennings has decided, however, to install an indoor paintball court where participants will shoot sponge powder. Jennings also intends to install a specialty course within the paintball court.
"This part of the facility will be a competitive course that should attract college students," he said. "It will look like a building that you are scouring through. It has to done at a certain level, and that is what I intend to create."
Jennings has created "built-in" booths that are open seven days a week. The flea market itself is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Angela Jones recently brought her operation from Keller's Flea Market in Savannah to the Statesboro Flea Market. It is called Lil-Prisy's Finer Things.
"For eight years I was in Savannah," she said. "We bought property in this area, and it was just time for a change. I am a flea market 'baby', and I have always either worked in one, or had a booth in one. I love it, and this has been a great experience here."
Jones said she loves the customer service she has received from Jennings.
"They seem very family oriented and welcoming," she said. "Jerry has been very helpful. In most flea markets, the ownership could care less. They just want the money for your space. They care here. It makes you want to be a part of their flea market."
Jennings said the fact that it is an indoor flea market makes it very inviting for both customers and vendors.
"We are the only indoor flea market in the area with vendors from all over in our three-acre facility," he said. "You can find new and used furniture, antiques, clothing, fresh local produce, jewelry, purses, appliances, dishes, pots and pans, candles, tools and everything in between. Don't forget to bring your used items or furniture for consignments."