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Posted on Sat. Sep. 20, 2008 - 03:00 am EDT

Flea market opening again

Weekly outlet closed in 1997; manager's niece reviving it

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A former employee is reviving a northern Fort Wayne flea market 11 years after the original closed.

Speedway II Flea Market is slated to open next weekend in the building its predecessor occupied at 217 Marciel Drive, off Speedway Drive. Owner Chris Brown, whose aunt managed the original flea market, hopes to have at least 50 vendors selling antiques and collectibles during the opening weekend.

Brown leased the 20,000-square-foot building from Peggy Mills, stepdaughter of the original Speedway Flea Market’s owner. Marciel Mills owned the business for 22 years until her 1997 retirement, according to The Journal Gazette’s archives.

In a flagging economy, the flea market will offer bargains and a place for vendors to set up shop, Brown said. Shoppers can negotiate prices on jewelry, records and other items.

“For the last five years,” she said, “I kept saying we still need something like that.”

Brown’s late aunt, Marty Tom, managed the original flea market. Brown’s first job involved minding booths while vendors took breaks and working in the flea market’s canteen.

The market’s new incarnation will employ four, she said.

Some vendors from the original flea market plan to operate booths in the building, which has space for as many as 137 vendors, Brown said. The flea market is offering vendors free rent for the first weekend.

Speedway II Flea Market will be open Saturday and Sunday during the first weekend. Brown plans to add Friday hours after that.

“Hopefully, it will be bustling like it was in the ’80s and ’90s,” she said.

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