After six months of updates informing the community that the PCC Flea Market remains postponed indefinitely, some vendors and customers are fed up with the wait.
“I loved it, I met a lot of different people, and made a little money to supplement my income, and got rid of the stuff that I collected to sell, but now since they’ve cancelled it I have no resource and I’ve lost a lot of income,” retired collector and long time vendor at the PCC Flea Market Berti said.
With no computer or internet access at home, Berti has no alternate methods of selling his merchandise during the pandemic. While other flea markets in Long Beach, Silverlake, and Melrose have reopened, distance keeps Berti from taking his business elsewhere.
Since the shutdown, Berti has occupied himself doing volunteer work with his wife at the Son Of A Vet Thrift Store in El Sereno Los Angeles.
The Son Of A Vet Thrift Store also frequently participated in the flea market prior to the pandemic.
“The PCC Flea Market is the best one, it was free to get in and the vendor spaces were cheap, the people were cool there, everything about it was great for me, that’s why we really miss it,” employee Jason said.
Since the flea market was postponed, the thrift store has been focusing on expanding their business. They plan on opening additional store locations around the L.A County area. Customers have the option to shop inside the store as well as online and in their new outdoor patio store.
“Most of the vendors are all old timers, the vendors who had a spot beside us were a couple of 70 year old women, so I could imagine that was their only income,” Jason said.
Some people have shared comments on social media regarding the flea market’s closure, despite its outdoor setup. Berti explained that despite his frustrations, he understands that a large part of the flea market is also set up inside the parking garage, at Bonnie and Del Mar Ave. If the flea market were to re-open, it would have to be designated strictly in the outside parking garage, which wouldn’t be fair to vendors who have spaces in the garage and are unable to be accommodated outside.
Berti and Jason look forward to participating in the grand re-opening of the PCC Flea Market, but understand that it’s current closure is for the safety of all.
“I’m sort of glad you guys aren’t open right now, I would be a little cautious going out there, here at my store I could have plexiglass, but out there there’s so many people it would make me weary,” Zach, owner of All Things and More thrift store in Sun Valley said.
Zach has sold a wide array of clothes, furniture, and tools at the PCC Flea Market for 17 years. Doing business with resellers was always his niche, as buyers who would purchase and resell thrifted items accounted for about a third of his clientele and monthly revenue. Now that the flea market is closed, Zach feels like he is working twice as hard for less money.
“There’s other swap meets and flea markets that I could go to that are open right now, but because this is such a new virus, I honestly just don’t feel safe right now,” Zach said.
Now that All Things and More is open again on a daily basis, Zach has grown more cautious at work. He keeps busy enforcing the use of masks in the store, as he doesn’t want himself or his customers to let their guard down and possibly get sick.
“I’m dealing with different people everyday and all day,” Zach said. “Some people come in acting belligerent without a mask. I have to make sure my employees keep on top of everything because this is not a joke.”
What Keeps Zach motivated to keep going, is his determination to keep his family business operating for future generations. The business was founded by his father and has been in operation for 56 years and counting.
“I took over the business 24 years ago when my father passed away, and I don’t want a big check mark by name that I’m the one that dropped the ball.”
Nicolas Giovanazzi is a student at PCC who has been attending the flea market since highschool. After he got his first car, Giovanazzi and his friends would drive down to the flea market every month.
“We’d go shopping for vintage clothes and records, there’s lots of really cool things there, if you like older stuff,” said Giovanazzi.
The market would usually consist of a variety of vendors grouped by section, from home decor to plants. Giovanazzi said vendors keep prices low and affordable for good vintage shopping. Some of the most top selling items at the Flea Market were old classic records, unique vintage furniture, and thrifted clothing.
“I furnished a lot of my apartment with stuff from the flea market,” said Giovanzzi.
Giovanazzi and his friends are excited to start driving down to the PCC Flea Market again, for a day filled with great fun.
“It’s always something fun to do with your friends, to drive out and spend the day doing whatever, maybe have a picnic or something, just be there for hours,” said Giovanazzi.
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