New-style flea market coming to Macon

A new flea market under construction on Eisenhower Parkway is not what some may call a traditional flea market.

The Macon Indoor Flea Market is going in the former Kroger space in the Parkway Village shopping center and will have more than 250 booths.

It will feature permanent booth spaces occupied by small businesses that sell merchandise or provide services, said manager Sharonda Edwards. These businesses would include: clothing, jewelry and perfume stores, restaurants, hair salons, barbershops and nail salons.

It is not designed for yard-sale type merchandise, and Edwards said that image has been hard to overcome.

“Vendors have to sign a one-year lease,” she said. “I want to get people away from the mentality of a thrift store.”

The owner of the flea market, Young Yoo, has had this type of market in West Palm Beach, Fla., for 33 years, she said. Edwards grew up in that business because her mother has managed that market for 22 years, she said.

“Here flea markets are more like yard sales, but this is totally different,” she said.

Rent for booth spaces in the Macon flea market are $275 or $375 a month depending on the size, she said. The smallest, most common booth size is 10 feet by 10 feet, and each booth has a roll-up door similar to those seen on storage units.

The interior of the 48,000-square-foot building had to be completely renovated, and it is air conditioned and heated, Edwards said. Macon-based Scherer Construction of Middle Georgia LLC is doing the construction work.

While an outside banner says the flea market will open in June, Edwards said that’s been pushed back to July. It is expected to be open to the public Wednesday-Sunday, and it will have 24-hour security and its own maintenance crew.

Evelyn Long is looking forward to opening a second location of her business called Images in the new flea market. She and a business partner have a booth at Smiley’s Flea Market in south Bibb County, and she will operate the booth at the new market while her partner remains at Smiley’s, Long said.

Long takes digital studio portraits, restores damaged photos, takes photos at festivals and sporting events and will transfer photos onto T-shirts and other items. She’s looking forward to moving to the new market this summer and not having to deal with severe weather or when it’s too hot or too cold.

“I wanted to be inside,” Long said. “It will be bigger and more comfortable, and the atmosphere might be different.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.