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Updated on August 3, 2013

The Sunshine Flea Market - Past Experience

The Sunshine Flea Market is in Lake Wales, Florida. I have contemplated selling my flies as a vendor there the last three years, but never really had the time. With the Sequestration of 2013, I am working only three days a week (one furlough day and one day of vacation a week). My online fly store store and E-Bay sales, while better than ever, were still not enough to keep me busy during the two weekdays I was off. I now had the time for the flea market and gave it a try on a Saturday.

I am no stranger to this flea market. I purchased a Monopoly computer game for my kids there in 2005. We were playing the board game version of Monopoly a lot as a family at the time, so a computer game seemed like a good choice. The game cost $5.00, of which I gave the vendor $5.00. She could not find her cash bag, so she produced a $5.00 bill from her brassier, of which she also stuffed the $10.00 bill in. I concluded that either her sales were slow or she had a very active brassier. Despite being December, it was hot and my $5.00 in change was soggy with sweat. I have also visited this flea marked from time-to-time looking for fly tying materials - feathers, foam, various sewing materials - never really found anything.

Me running my booth at the Sunshine Flea Market
Me running my booth at the Sunshine Flea Market

What I Expected

I did not have much expectation at the flea market. How many fly fishers go to a flea market looking for flies? I therefore brought some unwanted household items to at least cover the cost of running a booth. At best, I was hoping to sell a few flies and distribute my business card to one or two fly fishers. Also, it was August in Florida. This translates to oppressive heat and humidity with an afternoon thundershower. So, I brought plenty of fluids and velcroed clear plastic cups to poster board to secure my flies.

Notice the stormy skies at 2:30 pm - classic Florida afternoon thunderstorm weather.
Notice the stormy skies at 2:30 pm - classic Florida afternoon thunderstorm weather.

What Actually Happened

There was a dearth of customers at the flea market. In fact, I would guess that more vendors visited my store than buyers (being a new vendor, I suppose it generated some interest). What few customers visited were cordial and admired the handy work of the flies, but no fly fisherman came by. In fact, one individual looked at my flies and asked, "You have to fish with a fly rod to use these, don't you"?

I did sell a few flies. Oddly, due to the wind, I ended up placing the money envelope in my shirt pocket. When it came to making change, I grabbed some ones from it and noticed that I had perspired on them. I began to understand the brassier incident of 2005.

The biggest downside was that a downdraft from an approaching thunderstorm created a wind that lifted up an entire poster board of flies and dumped them on the ground. It took me about a half hour to recover them. By 2:30 pm storm clouds loomed with lightening and thunder and by 3:00 pm I was packed and out the driveway with all the other vendors.

When considering the booth rental and cost of some props for the booth, I went in the hole money wise. But, the Sequestration/Furlough of 2013 answered my three year old question - the flea market is not worth the effort.


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