SANTA FE, N.M. – After only six weeks in operation, more than 150 vendors gathered at the new Santa Fe Traditional Flea Market on Aug. 23, up from the 26 dealers and tail-gaters who arrived at the Oshara Village Plaza on Richards Ave. for the market’s first outing on July 12.
The “every Sunday” market, which officially runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., now includes around 70 vendors in pop-up tents on the grass of the Oshara village Plaza and another 80 “tail-gate” vendors on the streets around the plaza and on a graveled area near the market’s main parking area.
“The speed with which our market caught-on has been surprising, but really fun,” Walt Borton said. Borton, and his partner in the market, local realtor Sarah Cook, first contemplated launching such a market after being invited by Alan Hoffman to consider developing a flea and antiques market on the Oshara Village Plaza.
Hoffman is the founder of Oshara Village, a New Urbanist development just north of the Community College, which has as a central feature, a replica of the Santa Fe Plaza intended to anchor the development’s retail activities.
“Since that first Sunday,” Borton said, “we’ve grown so fast that we’ve had to re-design our plan for the plaza to accommodate new vendors and expand visitor parking, and we just keep adding tail-gate space to meet demand.”
The market’s Web site, www.santafetraditionalflea.com, originally asked tail-gate vendors, most of whom select their own spaces on a first-come-first-served basis, to arrive at 7 a.m. “I’ve now got to be on site by 5:30,” Borton said, “to greet vendors driving in from Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Loudcroft … we’ve even got a regular coming from Pie Town, and the market’s well on its way to being full by 7.”
“We’ve certainly met our goal to start a local market where dealers and yard and garage sale folks can gather and trade with each other as well as sell to the public,” Sarah Cook said of the market’s success. Cook, who was a regular vendor at Trader Jack’s market in the late ‘90s has taken the lead in developing a market intended to be reminiscent of those days. “When I walk through the tail-gate sections and see tools, saddles, machinery and produce in the same aisle with a trailer load of old Mexican furniture, I know we’re on target,” Cook said.
“The number of dealers matters, of course,” Borton said, “but what really counts is how our visitors, the buyers, respond, and this Monday, we got an e-mail from an out-of-town visitor to Sunday’s market.” Borton continued, “We were so tickled with it, that we emailed the lady back and asked her permission to quote her, which she granted by return e-mail.”
“WAHOOOOOO!!!!,” wrote Gwen Keck in that e-mail. “We were in Santa Fe this weekend for our annual trek to Indian Market. We heard about the NEW flea market…and were SO glad we stopped by. Seeing Nathalie (Kent) with arms full of different purchases is the best confirmation of your new endeavors. Plus, we ran into friends visiting from Washington DC. It will definitely stay a priority on my list of must-dos for Santa Fe.”
Detailed information for dealers and visitors, directions and a map to the Sunday market on Richards can be found at www.santafetraditionalflea.com. For additional information, call 505-982-2671.