Written and photographed by John Torsiello
Something old can be new again and is pumping vitality into Main Street in Terryville. Anew Leaf Terryville Indoor Flea Market opened early this year at 211 Main Street and is already becoming filled with vendors and shoppers looking for a unique item or a bargain.
“We decided to open a flea market because I was selling Android television boxes in New Britain and I did well for about a month until I realized that it lacked the advertising to attract new customers,” said one of the owners, Paul Murdock. “My business partner, David Haberfeld, put a post on Facebook about his troubles renting a location on Main Street in Terryville and I thought, especially with the traffic volume, it could work out well.”
Murdock says the reception from the browsing and buying public has been “great.” He adds, “We hear all the time that Terryville needed something like this, and with Pasquale's Deli opening in the plaza next door and Willie’s Burgers just opening we’re starting to turn that section of town around. We've had good foot traffic so far and we expect it to keep growing as we stabilize with solid vendors. We're not expecting to build something huge overnight, but were encouraged by the feedback we've received. We recognize some of the bigger flea markets had to build to their current success.”
Indoor flea markets have become very popular in recent years. They offer a dual benefit to shoppers and vendors, providing a multitude of items, ranging from antiques to memorabilia, all under one roof, while allowing vendors to develop a synergy with one another and benefit from heavier foot traffic in the market. Vendors also don’t have to be at their location seven days a week, as most take turns helping to run the market and working with customers. Those who like to go to flea markets, garage sales and yard sales, or set up their own in the spring, summer and fall can do this in mid-winter as well, as having a number of mini-shops under one roof means not having to battle the elements.
Items can range in price from several hundred dollars and up for a special antique piece down to a few dollars: the latter price range is another reason flea markets are so in vogue. Indeed, some individuals decorate a room or an entire home with furniture, artwork and other pieces found at flea markets for a fraction of what it would cost them to do so with new merchandise. Plus, there is always a strong affection among buyers for nostalgia, and flea markets offer that up in spades. While Anew Leaf has a modest amount of vendors, indoor flea markets across the country sometimes can have as many as several thousand vendors in one space. Often, an eatery is included in the operation, and there are sometimes attractions and entertainment for both adults and children, all of which conspires to not only attract shoppers but encourage them to stay for hours at a time.
The Terryville flea market currently has 5,000 square feet of display space with room for expansion if vendors can continue to be added, says Murdock. Haberfeld owns the building, which formerly housed a True Value hardware store, Murdock runs the overall operations, and Dori Green runs the day to day operations. They are all equal partners in the venture.
Paul Murdock’s wife, Cindi, was at the market on a recent Sunday morning. She believes the shop will bring a fresh vitality and look to Terryville’s Main Street business district. “There really isn’t anything like this close by and we thought it would be great to do something for the community. We have had a good response thus far and we think it will continue to grow as word gets out. We have everything from antiques to collectibles. We also have vendors who are selling their handmade items. We have several children of vendors and owners helping out at the shop, and it teaches them how to run a business and deal with customers.”
Anew Leaf Terryville Indoor Flea Market presently has about two dozen vendors with plans to perhaps bring in as many as 50 more in the coming months. “We will continue to advertise and seek quality vendors,” says Paul Murdock. “We are trying to recruit farmers to sell their produce on the sidewalks come farmers’ market season.”
The father-son team of Ron and Randy Picard were manning their sports memorabilia and collectibles section as customers began to filter into the flea market. They have been collecting, buying, and selling for over 20 years, often traveling to shows and open air flea markets to display their wares, as well as selling on Ebay.
“This is a great spot for us,” says Randy Picard. “One of the big pluses is that the vendors in here are all selling different items, which attracts a wider range of customers. We all work together and try to help out when some of the vendors aren’t in the shop.”
Says the elder Picard, “It’s a good location and there is a lot of foot and car traffic. Parking was difficult at first, but customers can now park in the Rite-Aid store lot across the street and that has helped to encourage people to come to the shop.”
Don Cote is selling vintage album and music memorabilia in another section of the flea market. The owner of Don’s Music in Bristol says the market allows him to promote his business, as well as make a few bucks. “This gives me visibility, where people come in and I can promote my main business to them.”
The flea market is currently open weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit Anew Market Terryville Flea Market on Facebook or call 860-919-4356 for more information.