The Orillia Flea Market at Orillia’s former train station is growing on an almost weekly basis.
The market at 150 Front St. S., opened for the first time on June 19. Since then, it has welcomed nearly 400 local shoppers each week, says market manager Greg Harris.
“Every Saturday we have between 15 and 20 vendors. We aren’t quite there on Sundays; we might get five, but it’s a work in progress,” he said.
“We went from 10 to 20 vendors on Saturdays in a matter of four weeks. People love the food, the variety, and I think there is a social element to it as well.”
The market has also done a good job at attracting tourists to the area, he explained.
“We are getting people from Kingston, Pickering, Ottawa, and Ajax to come up on the weekend to check it out,” Harris said.
“People like the convenience of its location and the variety of vendors that we have.”
Maybe the biggest attraction has been the barbecue where folks can get hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and sausages, and everything is $3.50 or less with a drink.
Harris says he started the market as a way to give Orillians more selection and longer hours to do their weekend shopping.
“There is only one market in town and it’s only operating on Saturdays from 8 a.m. till noon. So, we needed somewhere for people to shop until 3 p.m.,” he explained.
“I want to grow it, I want it to be here next year, and I want to see if we can fill the parking lot.”
A cell phone repair shop and a restaurant are coming soon to the train station, Harris added, noting more details will be coming soon.
With the fall season on the horizon, Harris says there is some added excitement around the market.
“Last week we picked up a vendor who does fall-themed wreaths, and we have an extra bakery coming to add to Kathy’s Bakery. There should be a vegetable guy starting soon too,” he said.
A-Liquidation Inc. owner Andrew Ward says the flea market gives his business a major boost.
“We enjoy all the different people who we get to meet. Today, for example, we had someone from Windsor come by,” he said.
“Our surprise bags double in sales here. The word is starting to get out about the market and it’s helping our business.”
Ward says the flea market has a fun, family-friendly atmosphere that people enjoy.
“We love being a part of the flea market atmosphere. There are between 200-300 people here every weekend now, and when it first started, I think we had ten people,” he said.
“Next summer we would like to see more vendors and more of an effort made to get the word out about the market.”
Local resident Sandy Flockton says she goes to the market every weekend, and sometimes twice.
“I come alone, and then I come with my boyfriend,” she chuckled.
“I love the deals, I love the friendliness, and there is starting to be a good diversity of vendors.”
Flockton admits that some weekends are busier than others, and the market could still go the extra mile to make the experience even more enjoyable.
“I’d like them to try and get some more vendors which might be a challenge because it’s so new, but other than that it’s a good spot,” she said.
The market will officially wrap up for the year on Thanksgiving weekend. It runs every Saturday and Sunday until then from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.