Nicholas Slobin/Courier. Mike Saito sits amongst items for sale at his swap meet booth at the PCC Flea Market before the virus hit, on Sunday, September 1, 2019.
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An empty lot sits where the home of the Pasadena City College Flea market used to be, missing its community of around 400 vendors. As the closure surpasses a year, many vendors are left to carry on their businesses through online platforms.

Lindsey Reed, a market official, said that the Flea Market will be relocating to a new spot. Currently, the new location is a vaccination site for the city of Pasadena, which they will have to “work around.”

“Our understanding is that when we reopen, we will only be able to allow 25% capacity according to the Pasadena Health Department. We are still figuring out what this looks like for our vendors and customers, and we will be working with Campus Police and Facilities to figure out the best operations plan,” said Reed.

Reed has said that the reopening is tentative due to no large events being held on campus as well as the market’s relocation. With the dates pending, many vendors have taken the online approach to maintain their business and customer relationships.

“I loved seeing a lot of the same folks each month at the market. Many have become friends,” said Maria Ruiz of What is Lovely Vintage. “I’ve been posting and selling a lot of my vintage online to get by, but I have kept a big reserve for the market opening back up in person.”

Ruiz, a curator of vintage clothing, has maintained her business, What is Lovely Vintage, through Instagram.

Before the pandemic hit, Fin Rodriguez of LA Gold and Silver, a jewelry vendor, was not only new to the market but also a blossoming new business. Having only been to the market two to three times, he hopes to get a booth when the market reopens.

“We are currently more of a market business but we do have a website and Instagram showing our products,” said Rodriguez.

LA Gold and Silver has been using this time to focus on online sales, offering free shipping and covering the sales tax for their customers.

“We will continue to do the market events and offer Silver and Gold at the best prices to our customers. We hope to build confidence in people buying jewelry from us online,” Rodriguez said.

Ruiz said that she loves the “small town feel” of the market and the market was something she looked forward to doing each month.

“I think the relationships that you build with customers at the markets really is a joy for both parties. Familiar faces and a shared love of vintage, plus seeing their kids and pets that they bring each month,” said Ruiz.

The PCC flea market officials stated they’re missing their vendors and customers, and they hope to get up and running again soon. Until then, vendors will have to continue their sales and interact with their customers through their online platforms.

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