By Tamas Mondovics
For many and, for as long as anyone can remember, flea markets have been helping residents to find just the item they have been looking for.
For some it’s a weekend ritual coupled with not knowing what they may find; all in the hopes of stumbling onto a treasure.
Mountain City and surrounding area has the pair of such flea markets or “swap meet” as known by many, providing space for vendors to sell previously-owned merchandise including collectibles, antiques and vintage clothing.
In most places a flea market is often seasonal, but in recent years there has been a development of ‘formal’ and ‘casual’ markets that divides a fixed-style market (formal) with long-term leases and a seasonal-style market with short-term leases.
While flea market vending is distinguished from street vending in that the market itself, and not any other public attraction, brings in buyers, location may be the key or at least significantly add to its success.
One of the area markets that has been enjoying some recent recognition is the Roan Valley Flea Market, located at 5235 Highway 421 South, near Mountain City, Tennessee.
Thanks to the convenience of a pavilion style setup, venders and buyers as well as all their merchandize can stay dry when the weather isn’t exactly ready to cooperate. .
“People are friendly and helpful at the market,” said longtime vender Debi Knerr of Mountain City “Because we are under a roof and out of the hot sun or the rain, the market can stay open and operate rain or shine. Since we also have lights at each space, not to mention public restrooms, the market is a great place to visit and support.
“My husband and I want everyone to know how wonderful it is to set up at Roan Valley Flea Market,” Knerr said. “For $6 a day, we can set up on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays or all three days if we want to,” she said.
Knerr emphasized the benefits of being under a roof at the market, which became a deciding factor in leaving the other market closer to town.
“We had a bad experience at the glove factory,” she said. “We set up, and it started raining and we couldn’t get everything loaded quickly. Several of our items got ruined. That made our decision easy to set up at Roan Valley Flea Market. We knew our items would not get ruined if it rains.”
One large table is provided, to each vender, but one can also bring tables as long as it fits in the designated area.
An additional benefit is breakfast featuring biscuits and gravy, bacon, egg and cheese on a biscuit and more is available for both venders and buyers.
“They serve breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. so you don’t have to drive anywhere. You just walk across the parking lot to the kitchen.
As one of the many regular visitors Geneva Clawson, summed up her experience at the market, when she said, “Great place to find about any item your looking for. Nice and friendly group of people”
For more information about the Roan Valley Flea market please call (423) 727-5574.