Millennials and Markets

Last month I participated as a antiques vendor at the Marley Community Church’s 54th annual flea market.  This little church has hosted this amazingly quaint flea market, white elephant sale and pie sale for over half a century and they plan to continue next year just as they have for years.  (Look for it next year on the third Saturday of June.)  It’s one of my favorite markets.  The market goes on rain or shine and believe me over the past 20 years we’ve seen all kinds of weather for this market.  Honestly though it usually shines on Marley the day of the flea market.  Maybe they got an “in” with the man upstairs making the weather.

This year was a beautiful day for sitting in their beautiful picnic grounds next to the 150+ year old church.  The day was in the mid 90’s but under the cool shady canopy of 100 year old trees it was cooler and the light breeze helped.  Shoppers of all ages and backgrounds were out looking for that elusive whatever to complete their collection or accent their home.

We talked with so many folks and found out a little more about their likes and dislikes. (Everyone loved the pies made by the ladies of the church.)  One interesting trend I noticed was a distinct lack of millennials, children of baby boomers who came of age at the turn of this century.

You would think that these children of baby boomers, would have collecting in their blood with parents that know a good antique when they see one.  I guess sometimes there isn’t disposable income for such frivolous things.  I get it, these millennials are starting families, putting down roots, purchasing homes.  Along with that, you’d think would come the need to outfit that home and garden with unique and unusual items to make their homes distinctively theirs. And where better to get a bargain on something unique than a flea market?

You would think that these millennials, would have collecting in their blood having grown up with vintage and antique collections.  Baby boomers are famous for their ability to ferret out the most incredible collectible antiques.  I am part of the baby boomers.  Most of my generation possess the means to collect what we want.   Many of my generation hold onto items that bring them some happiness, some memories of more pleasant times and things that just tickle their fancy.  Maybe because they grew up with the detritus of their parents’ collecting, millennials seem to lack the collecting gene or openly deplore the cluttered look.20180616_083046.jpg

After hearing one of the few millennials talk about purchasing similar items or repro-items on line, I started thinking about the possibility of markets like Marley disappearing.  This would be so sad.  An institution like Marley just disappearing after 54 years?  I don’t see that happening anytime soon but if people continue to only purchase online then all types of business will change.

So, I guess what I’m ranting about today is that we need to frequent more vintage and antique markets especially those more established markets.  The summer is only half over so get out there and ferret out your local antiques and vintage markets.  Go have a look, chat with the vendors and find out what there is to love about old stuff.



  1. ‘Flea markets’ as such have almost, perhaps completely, disappeared in the UK but if you are willing to be selective among the many ‘tables’ selling mostly low quality items – tools, kitchen implements, etc – and second hand clothes, toys, books, LPs, etc, you might find some interesting vintage or even antique item at the very popular ‘car boot sale’. These are held in many localities regularly, usually most weekends. As the name suggests originally these were just families selling items they no long want from the car boot. Now there are few of these, there are mostly small businesses. From time time something really valuable turns up and is bought for pence, mostly bought by people who did not know the value. They appear now and then on a popular BBC tv programme ‘Antiques Road Show’ where people bring things to be valued by experts.To have much chance of finding a real antique bargain you have to be there very early, maybe even 6am, as dealers are there early.
    There are an abundance of ‘antique fairs’, usually in some prestigious location and at these antique dealers sell genuine antiques and the prices are rarely low.

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    • I love Antiques Roadshow but in someways it has ruined the antiques trade for some. Now, everyone that watches thinks their item is the holy grail. They all believe the stories that grandma told whether correct or not……hmmm now there’s a blog…..false stories about antiques. Lots of that going on in my business.
      Sorry, I digress, back to this blog, yes while true antique markets are holding their own, old fashion flea markets are becoming scarce and those that have lasted have become gentrified in someways adding artisanal foods and crafts . In addition to these gentrified flea markets there seems to be a new “antiques’ or”country” market springing up everywhere. It’s hard to tell which are true flea markets and which are just a pretty outdoor shopping event where people go for the entertainment and not for the thrill of the hunt. I go to hunt out that antique not seen before.
      I still LOVE the old fashion true flea markets where there are regular sellers you can count on being there each week, some sellers just cleaning out grandma’s house and getting rid of everything, and other sellers with weird stuff and entertaining stories to tell. I love scrutinizing piles and tables of strange and unusual stuff hoping to find a sleeper. I love finding those sleepers that no one notices and can make you a quick buck if you can turn it around. I love even more if I find a sleeper, purchase it for a good price, and before you know it someone else see it in my hand and wants that exact thing and I am able to sell it without even leaving the flea market. It happens. Not often but it does happen. Those are the times that keep me going back to our grungy flea markets, scrounging through piles and tables of unlimited stuff to find that one great buy.

      Liked by 1 person

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